The Natural Resource Commission voted unanimously to expand bobcat hunting season in Michigan on Thursday, despite animal rights voicing strong opposition.
This means there will be a new season in nine counties, Kent, Ionia, Montcalm, Muskegon, Gratiot, Saginaw, Ottawa, Clinton, and Shiawassee.
The limit is one bobcat per person unless otherwise specified.
At the meeting, National Resources Commissioner David Nyberg said that conservation efforts have increased the bobcat population, which will in turn support an expanded hunting season, Bridge Michigan reported.
“We’re also going to be able to further support the actual act of conservation through the funding of licensed dollars that supports that work,” Nyberg said.
There will be an 11-day hunting season in the southern counties, and the hunting and trapping season in the Lower Peninsula will now be 20 days with two weekends, Bridge reported.
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“When we’re opening those nine counties, we’re really just opening a larger area to harvest the same population,” said Adam Bump, a bear and furbearer specialist for the Department of Natural Resources.
Michigan United Conservation Club “applauds” the expansion as one of many conservation success stories in a news release, said Justin Tomei, MUCC policy assistant.
“Bobcat ranges expanding are indicative of the conservation work stakeholders like MUCC and the department have prioritized and championed,” said Justin Tomei, MUCC policy assistant.
But animal advocates oppose bobcat hunting and say bobcats are primarily killed for their fur, Bridge reported.
“This proposed expansion will cause untold harm to bobcats and kittens hunting and trapping orphan dependent kittens, leaving them to starve or die of predation or closure,” said Molly Tamulevich, the Michigan director for Humane Society of the United States.
Another concerned activist, Trish Marie, said she worries the expanded Peninsula will increase the rodent population in the southern Lower Peninsula.
“I have a kajillion squirrels covering my property and the primary prey of bobcats is squirrels,” Marie said. “Bobcats play an important role in keeping the number of squirrels, chipmunks, and other rodents down.”
Here’s are the details of when and where you can hunt and trap bobcats, according to the proposal:
- Southern Lower Peninsula: Dec. 10 to Dec. 20 for trapping; Jan. 1 to Jan. 11 for hunting.
- Northern Lower Peninsula: Dec. 10 to Dec. 29 for trapping; Jan. 1 to Jan. 20 for hunting.
- Upper Peninsula: Oct. 25 to Dec. 26 for trapping; Jan. 1 to March 1 for hunting.
Contact Emma Stein: [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @_emmastein.