California Bans Bobcat Trapping, Despite Evidence

Utah Bobcat
U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance
U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance

Columbus, OH -( With a contentious 3-2 vote, the California Fish and Game Commission approved a statewide ban on trapping of bobcats.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its Al Taucher Conservation Coalition partners favored following the science amassed by the state and federal governments.

“Today’s narrow decision by the commission to ban bobcat trapping in California flies in the face of the science made available by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,” said Josh Brones, government affairs coordinator of western operations for the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “For the commission to willfully ignore the departments’ recommendations to not implement the ban, indicates an utter lack of regard for the role and value of science and wildlife professionals in resource policy-making decisions.”

In his presentation, Craig Martz, senior environmental scientist for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, provided ample evidence that the bobcat population in California was stable and possibly growing, and as high as 140,000 animals. When the maximum population was estimated to be no more than 72,000 bobcats nearly 30 years ago, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife established a threshold of harvest by hunters and trappers to be 14,400 bobcats. Given the current average annual take of approximately 1,800 bobcats, the department’s staff appropriately summarized their presentation by stating that the trapping of bobcats would have absolutely no impact on the population.

In a disappointing turn of events, newly appointed commissioners Sklar and Williams voted against sportsmen and were the deciding factors in the needless statewide ban, with commission president Jack Baylis joining them. Commissioners Kellogg and Hostler-Carmesin voted against the ban.

“We are very disappointed by the willingness of the new commissioners to cave to the irrational and emotional arguments of the animal-rights community by taking such a radical stance on a very complex topic that has been debated for more than year – especially when their knowledge and experience with the subject matter has been confined to this single meeting,” said Brones.

“When they were appointed by Gov. Brown, we had hoped Williams and Sklar would recognize the environmental and economic importance sportsmen serve in wildlife management. At the very least, we hoped they would take a prudent and thoughtful look at the evidence and recommendation of state and federal scientists,” continued Brones. “Apparently, that was too much to hope for in this hotly debated contest. This glaring disregard for credible science will most assuredly be exploited as we pursue our options to reverse this decision.”

About the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation (USSAF) is a 501(c)3 organization and protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. The USSAF is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible.

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You are right Eric, the right is reserved for all Californians, not just one group……. like…….. environmentalist? And comparing trappers and hunters to slave traders is like comparing liberals to Nazis just because they are for wealth distribution and the removal of firearms from law abiding citizens. That’s just hate speech designed to spark an emotional response. Get real. Another point is the fact that by banning bobcat hunting you have now decreased the amount of money going to the state for wildlife conservation.

Hunter Hawk

I hope these idiots who vote against scientists have their favorite pets eaten by one of these predators. No!! the pet deserves better. Just like liberal left coasters completely against hunting or trapping but they sure will let someone else kill that sirloin for them.

A.X. Perez

Does this ban also apply to hunting with weapons, as opposed to putting out traps? Hunting is sport, trapping is work.

Eric Mills

The bobcat trapping ban will NOT affect bobcat hunting, or depredation permits for problem animals.

Jon Aronson

Sorry, but unless a farmer is having a predator eat or kill his stock, there is virtually no reason to kill off the one animal that keeps in check rodents (in this case). I think the bobcat has a great coat and I have no problem with using pelts for coats from farm raised animals. But, in every location where once were predator animals that were killed or killed off, the result has been an increase in problem creatures that nature keeps in check. That California has a higher number of wild Bobcats than it once had is great, but… Read more »


In northern CA, I have witnessed a large increase in Bobcats – largely due to MORE than available prey-base. Along with rodents, turkeys, rabbits, etc.,…… ranchers, farmers, and residential homeowners have provided a tremendous volume of accessible food for “otherwise” wild Bobcats, Coyotes, Mountain Lions, Foxes, and more. It is under these conditions that otherwise static populations of prey, grow beyond what natural numbers would balance out at. Basically, domesticated animals, dogs/cats, chickens, livestock, and their associated feed, provide a robust environment for the prey population to expand – UNNATURALLY. There is absolutely NO practical reason to ban all trapping… Read more »

Eric Mills

Mitch, there hasn’t been an in-depth bobcat population/distribution study in California for some 30 years. The science is not in. And surely ethics should figure into the equation, yes? Most of the pelts will be sold on markets in China, Russia and Europe, a totally unnecessary luxury item for the wealthy. Does it EVER cross a trapper’s mind (or hunter’s, for that matter) that his/her quarry might very well be enjoying life as much as the trapper/hunter, and have just as much right to it? Just sayin’. The current wildfires now roaring throughout the state, coupled with global warming and… Read more »

Eric Mills

CORRECTION: The California Fish & Game Commission is 145 years old, founded in 1870, predating even the Department.

Harold Johnson

Did it ever cross your mind, Eric, that income brought in by selling some bobcats helps families? I didn’t think so….

Eric Mills

With all due respect, that’s an invalid argument. Killing animals unnecessarily for a mere luxury item is unethical. I’m sure my great grandparents made the same argument in support of the slave trade.


wildlife balances itself. Only the human causes habitat destruction

leave them alone

Harold Johnson

Once again, the animal rights activists have destroyed a means of making a living though humane trapping. All evidence points to the fact that the bobcat population in California is robust, and the few taken by cage trappers has no effect on the population. For those who lost income (and freedom) to an absolute ban, I feel for you. Complete bans on anything are ridiculous, and the arguments put forth by people who know so little about bobcats in the first place are ridiculous. Science, no emotion, should rule. The “feel good” approach that the commissioners from the fish and… Read more »