Rege Denne looks over the bobcat he caught and released in Allegheny County.
There are a lot of places in Pennsylvania where it’s legal to harvest a bobcat.
Allegheny County is not one of them.
That’s not to say the cats aren’t around, though. They are, as was proven recently.
Retired deputy wildlife conservation officer Rege Denne of Elizabeth was trapping and had recently made a set in hopes of getting a fox or coyote. Upon checking it, however, he found a bobcat.
“With the help of a friend I was able to release the cat unharmed. This area of the state is closed to bobcat trapping and hunting therefore I couldn’t harvest this cat,” Denne said.
Bobcats aren’t in short supply these days.
Decades ago, there were bounties paid for taking them, as they were seen – like all predators – as a threat to other wildlife. All of that ended in 1970, when all harvest was prohibited.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission reinstituted hunting and trapping in the 2000-01 season, though, citing populations that were growing and expanding.
Now, 14 of the state’s 23 wildlife management units are open to taking bobcats, including 2A and 2C to the southwest and southeast of Pittsburgh, and units 2E, 2F, 2G and 2H to the north.
The trapping season runs from Dec. 19-Jan. 10, the hunting season from Jan. 16-Feb. 9.