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New protections for Placer’s seldom-seen wildcats

Statewide ban now in effect on bobcat trapping
By: Gus Thomson of the Auburn Journal
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8 Bobcat Facts

Favorite prey: Rabbit and hare

Also known to eat: Adult deer, bats, lambs, poultry, piglets

U.S. population: 725,000 to 1.02 million in the wild.

Share the land. Male territories can overlap but females never share territory

Territorial range. Range is 25-30 square miles for males and about 5 for females

Litter sizes. One to six kittens

Bye-bye kitty. Kittens are evicted from mother’s territory after about 8 months

Name game: It’s called a bobcat because of its short bobbed tail

Source: Defenders of Wildlife

Rarely seen but a stealthy presence nonetheless, Placer County’s elusive bobcats have some new protections.

In place since late November is a new statewide ban on recreational and commercial bobcat trapping.

For Placer County, the regulations will not have any impact on established trapping for commerce or sport. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife shows that for its last yearlong count in 2014-15, no bobcats were trapped in Placer County. The same goes for Nevada County. Two bobcats were trapped for sport in El Dorado County during that time.

But the wild cats are out there. Sallysue Stein, board president of the non-profit Gold Country Wildlife Rescue organization, said that she needs to look no farther than her North Auburn backyard to know that.

“We’ve seen tons of bobcats – including two litters,” Stein said. “There’s lots of activity.”

While the cats have been caught on remote wildlife cameras, no one has brought an injured bobcat or orphaned kitten in the past year for Gold Country Wildlife Rescue assistance, she said.

Bobcats can be trapped if deemed a threat to safety. The Fish and Wildlife Department recorded three bobcats trapped by wildlife trappers in the past year, spokeswoman Jordan Traverso said Monday.

The state Fish and Game Commission adopted new rules in August and the regulations went into effect Nov 20. Hunting continues to also be allowed.

Pelts were selling for an average of $191 last year, down from $390 the previous year. Under the new regulations, it’s unlawful to trap any bobcat or attempt to do so, or to sell or export any bobcat or part that is taken in the state. Any licensed trapper who traps a bobcat is required to immediately release it unharmed into the wild.

A total of 987 bobcats were killed last year and reported to the state, with 760 trapped, 206 shot by sport hunters and 21 killed by wildlife-contracted trappers. Kern County had the highest harvest, with 197 bobcats killed. A total of the 144 bobcats taken were trapped.

Gold Country Wildlife Rescue can help rehabilitate an injured or orphaned bobcat but people should ask for help before attempting to handle one, Stein said.

“Unless it’s a tiny kitten, not many people should pick one up,” she said.

Placer County Animal Services could also be contacted to assist, Stein said.

 “If it has to do with human safety, they’ll get involved,” she said.