Polarizing plan would potentially allow bobcat trapping in Ohio

There are strong opinions surrounding the future of bobcats in Ohio. (WSYX/WTTE)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) -- There are strong opinions surrounding the future of bobcats in Ohio.

"We have had bobcat seasons in many other states," said Dave Linkhart with the National Trappers Association. "They have never shown to have any negative impact on those recovering populations."

People from across Ohio gathered at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife District One Headquarters Wednesday night to share their opinions about a potential plan that would create a bobcat trapping season.

"It is not justified and it is not sporting. Other objectives come to mind: selfish, sociopathic, and cowardly," said one man.

The Division of Wildlife shared their proposal again. It would allow trappers to catch 60 bobcats from Nov. 10 to Jan. 31 in Southeastern Ohio. Once that number is hit, the season shuts down.

A big point of discussion is Ohio University research into bobcat numbers that would be done before a potential trapping, but not before a vote.

"That information specifically is going to provide population estimate for two areas of the state," said Mike Reynolds with the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Trappers said the season isn't about money and that we do have a good idea just how many bobcats are in Ohio.

"People that live somewhere where there are cats and don't see them, are paying much attention," said Keith Daniels with the Ohio State Trappers Association.

But a large crowd, wearing red with stickers that said "Save Ohio's Bobcats" are far from convinced.

"Those who catch a bobcat have to report that to the division. The division has to notify everybody else who has traps set. Those people have to go out and get their traps in. How many bobcats are going to be killed?" said Heather Cantino.

There is another public hearing April 23. The Council will make a decision on the issue on May 9.

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