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Demography changes from more hunters, less trappers for bobcats

Cara J

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As researchers noticed changes of bobcat (Lynx rufus) harvest over time in Wisconsin, they wondered if population models for bobcats based on harvest data were still accurate. In a study published in Royal Society Open Science, a team of researchers looked at changing trends in bobcat harvest in Wisconsin in the last 30 years. Hunters and Department and Natural Resources staff in the field reported seeing growing numbers of bobcats, but the model wasn’t showing an increasing population, said Max Allen, lead author of the study and assistant professor at the University of Illinois. Reviewing harvest data collected from the Wisconsin DNR over 30 years, the team looked at type of harvest — trapping and hunting with hounds — as well as sex, weight and age at harvest. They noted that the number of tags issued each year had dropped substantially since the 1980s compared to neighboring states, but the bobcats harvested in Wisconsin remained the same. Allen and his colleagues found that overall, more bobcats had been hunted by hounds compared with trapping, and animals harvested by hound hunters are more likely to be larger, older males. “We’re seeing hound hunters selecting for large males,” he said. “Hound hunters [...]

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