DNR Considers Allowing More Counties to Hunt Bobcats
An increase in the bobcat population in Eastern Iowa has prompted DNR officials to consider adding three more Iowa counties to the state's legal harvest zone for the animals, according to the Telegraph Herald. Those three counties are Delaware, Dubuque, and Jones counties.
It's hard to argue the Iowa's bobcat population is on the rise. We've featured several stories about bobcat sightings on our website. The cats were once thought to be all but extinct from the state. That clearly is no longer the case. A biologist for the DNR told the Herald that bobcats were once a protected species in the state, with very few animals left in Iowa. But their population has soared expanding from the south, now up through Iowa.
Bobcats were native to the state of Iowa but were most wiped out by settlers in the early 1900's. They were protected as an endangered species by the state of Iowa in 1977. DNR officials say the population growth began back in the 1990's and continues today. A recent wildlife survey estimated that between 5,000 to 8,000 bobcats now call Iowa home.
As the population grew, a limited bobcat hunting season was introduced in a few southern Iowa counties in 2007. Jackson county was added to the list of counties in 2018. The Herald reports that the proposed rule would allow hunters and trappers in Delaware, Dubuque, and Jones counties to harvest one bobcat during the season which would begin the first full weekend of November and end January 31st.
Wildlife officials believe that the hunting season would help keep the growing population in check and avoid diseases.