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Feb. 1 hearing to consider bobcat hunting, trapping

January 9, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department will hold a public hearing on Feb. 1 on proposed rules to start a bobcat hunting and trapping season.

The Fish and Game Commission is proposing to issue 50 bobcat permits through a lottery. The timing of the draft season would be similar to New Hampshire’s fisher season, with December trapping and January hunting. If adopted, the proposal would take effect this December.

All of New Hampshire’s neighboring states and provinces - Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts and Quebec - have bobcat seasons, although none limit their take using a permit system as proposed by New Hampshire.

The department says the bobcat population could sustain modest harvest and still accommodate slow growth.

When the population dropped below an estimated 200 in 1989, the state banned hunting or trapping the cats. Biologists now say the population may be as high as 1,400 in the fall and winter and 2,200 in the spring and summer.

Opponents doubt the population is that high and argue there is no reason to kill bobcats.

The hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Representatives Hall at the statehouse. Written comments on the proposal must be received by the department by Feb. 10.

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