Utah approves cougar, bobcat hunting

Salt Lake City — Cougars and bobcats are doing well in Utah. Because they’re doing well, members of the Utah Wildlife Board recently approved only minor changes for Utah’s 2016–2017 cougar hunting season.

And, for the bobcat trapping and hunting season, they’ll be no changes: just like this past season, each hunter and trapper can buy up to six permits. The bobcat season runs Nov. 16, 2016 to March 1, 2017.

The board, a panel of citizens appointed by the governor, approved the changes at their Sept. 1 meeting.

Cougar permits

After hunters take a cougar, the animal must be inspected by a Division of Wildlife Resources biologist or conservation officer. Data gathered during these inspections show Utah’s cougar population is doing well, with plenty of cougars in the population.

One area biologists are concerned about is the number of sheep and cattle that cougars killed this past season. A total of 60 incidents of cougars attacking livestock were reported. That’s 26 more incidents than the 34 reported the season before.

During the 2015–2016 season, hunters took a total of 371 cougars. To try to reduce the number of livestock that are killed, the changes the board approved should result in some additional cougars being taken during the 2016–2017 season.

“Most of the additional cougars will be taken in areas where the livestock incidents happened last season,” says Leslie McFarlane, mammals coordinator for the DWR.

All of the rules the board approved will be available in the 2016–2017 Utah Cougar Guidebook. The free guidebook should be available by mid-September.