Published January 07, 2013, 09:53 PM

Hunters take 33 bobcats in first East River season

Game, Fish and Parks officials say the first-ever bobcat season in South Dakota’s East River region was a surprising success.

By: Chris Huber, The Daily Republic

Game, Fish and Parks officials say the first-ever bobcat season in South Dakota’s East River region was a surprising success.

A preliminary total of 33 bobcats was harvested in the five-county area that allowed hunting and trapping of the animal, said GF&P Wildlife Damage Program Coordinator Keith Fisk.

Fisk said a report with official totals and information on each animal will be available soon.

Hunters and trappers in Buffalo, Brule, Charles Mix, Bon Homme and Yankton counties were able to harvest one bobcat with a furbearer’s license this year during a season that began Dec. 8 and ran through Dec. 30.

“I’d say it went really well,” Fisk said. “I was pretty shocked. Our season was only three weeks long, and for that many animals to be taken, that is a pretty good success.”

At the start of the season, Fisk and other GF&P officials expected between 20 and 25 bobcats to be harvested.

“Bobcats are pretty secretive and elusive animals,” he said.

Charles Mix County had the biggest harvest of the counties involved in the season, with 15.

“That didn’t really surprise me too much,” Fisk said. “It’s a pretty big county with a lot of river breaks, so it makes sense that’s where most of them came from.”

Hunters and trappers were allowed to keep pelts but were required to turn carcasses in to the GF&P. Each carcass will now be studied, and the information will be brought to the GF&P Commission when new furbearer regulations are discussed. Fisk said expanding the season is a possibility, but officials will need to go over the harvest reports before any recommendation is made.

The bobcat season for counties west of the Missouri River in South Dakota continues until Feb. 15.

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