Radio Collared Bobcat From Arizona Research Project Found Fatally Shot

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by Kevin Schafer/Getty Images)

On September 28, the Arizona Game and Fish Department found a radio-collared bobcat fatally shot. The animal was part of a research project out of Tuscon, according to authorities. A $1,150 reward is being offered to anyone with information that could lead to an arrest.

The project is studying how bobcats use the wildland-urban interface in west Tucson. The wildland-urban interface is an area where unoccupied land meets urban development. It is an area prone to wildfires that features places where structures and human development transition to undeveloped land and vegetative fuels, according to the US Fire Administration.

Bobcats are only one of about 800 native species that the Arizona Game and Fish Department manages in the state, and the project out of Tucson is partially funded by a grant from the department.

Collared Bobcat Found Dead in Arizona, While Michigan Expands Hunting Season

In response to the growing bobcat population in the state, Michigan’s Natural Resource Commission voted back in March to expand bobcat hunting season this year. The extended hunt will take effect in Kent, Ionia, Montcalm, Muskegon, Gratiot, Saginaw, Ottawa, Clinton, and Shiawassee counties. In the southern counties, the season will be 11 days. Within the Lower Peninsula, the hunt lasts 20 days and two weekends. The limit is still one bobcat per season.

The official breakdown of the extended season is as follows: in the Southern Lower Peninsula, the hunt goes from Dec. 10 to Dec. 20 for trapping and Jan. 1 to Jan. 11 for hunting. In the Northern Lower Peninsula, trapping goes from Dec. 10 to Dec. 29, and hunting from Jan. 1 to Jan. 20. The Upper Peninsula trapping goes from Oct. 25 to Dec. 26, while hunting goes from Jan. 1 to March 1.

Recent conservation efforts have increased the bobcat population to the point where it needs to be controlled. The population is now secure enough that it can withstand hunting season.

“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,” Natural Resources Commissioner David Nyberg said in March.

Conservationists Believe an Extended Hunt Could Negatively Impact the Population

Though the bobcat population has now reached the point where it can weather the hunt, some conservationists are still pushing back against the extended season. Molly Tamulevich, the Michigan director for the Humane Society of the United States, expressed her fears at the meeting that the hunt will negatively impact juvenile bobcats.

“This proposed expansion will cause untold harm to bobcats and kittens […] hunting and trapping [will] orphan dependent kittens, leaving them to starve or die of predation or closure,” said Tamulevich at the Natural Resources Commission meeting.

Other conservation concerns were that the squirrel and chipmunk populations may then grow out of control. Bobcats naturally control those populations, and lowering the number of adult bobcats in the state could lead to a takeover of small rodents.