Glenda Anderson, THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
It’s now illegal to use traps to capture bobcats in California for sport or to hunt them in any fashion for the purpose of making coats and clothing accessories out of their pretty pelts.The ban, approved in August by the California Fish and Game Commission, took effect Friday.
It does not affect using weapons to hunt the bob-tailed wildcats for recreation, or trapping them if they eat domestic farm animals or pets. But the ban is nevertheless expected to substantially reduce the number of bobcats that are legally killed each year in California, said Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote, one of many animal protection groups that pushed for the ban on trapping the wildcats.
“I think a driving force behind the killing is the pelt prices,” she said. Much of the demand for the fur reportedly comes from China and Russia.
During the last bobcat hunting season, commercial fur trappers killed most of the 987 bobcats “taken” in California, according to state wildlife department statistics in the 2014-15 Bobcat Harvest Assessment. Of those, 760 were trapped for their fur. The average price per bobcat pelt for the season was $191, according to the report.
Five of the bobcats killed last season were hunted in Sonoma County; 18 were in Mendocino County; and 19 in Lake County, according to the wildlife department. Only one — in Lake County — of those was for its fur, according to the wildlife department report.