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Bobcats, fishers, and otters needed for study by Game Commission

HARRISBURG, PA – Pennsylvania’s furtakers will play a critical role in a study to determine the extent to which mouse and rat poisons might be affecting the state’s bobcats, fishers and otters.

Hunters and trappers are being asked to participate in the study by submitting carcasses from these species to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Those who harvest a bobcat, fisher or otter and who want to submit the carcass for the study are asked to contact the Game Commission by email at furbearers@pa.gov or call the Game Commission region office serving the county where the animal was taken.

The email should note which species was harvested and include the trapper’s:

·         First and last name

·         CID license number

·         Address or pick-up location

·         Phone number

·         Email address

Those who call a region office should be prepared to provide this information, as well. The Game Commission’s six region offices, the counties they serve and their phone numbers are listed below:

Northwest Region: Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties – 814-432-3187.

Southwest Region: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Cambria, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Somerset, Washington and Westmoreland counties – 724-238-9523.

Northcentral Region: Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Lycoming, McKean, Potter, Tioga and Union counties – 570-398-4744.

Southcentral Region: Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin, Perry, Snyder and York counties – 814-643-1831.

Northeast Region: Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Montour, Northumberland, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties – 570-675-1143.

Southeast Region: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill counties – 610-926-3136.

The study is being conducted by the Game Commission in partnership with PennVet’s Wildlife Futures Program, an organization with the mission to “increase disease surveillance, management and research to better protect wildlife across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and beyond.”

Those conducting the study hope to collect over 100 carcasses each of bobcats, fishers and otters harvested this season.

Submitted carcasses can be skinned, but must have all organs and the skull intact. Furtakers should freeze the carcass until it can be collected by the Game Commission or Wildlife Futures Program.

Consumption of rodents that have been poisoned, known as secondary exposure, has been shown to negatively impact small- to medium sized mammals with diets primarily consisting of meat. Better understanding the effects on these species is a critical component of monitoring their populations in the Northeast.

Furtakers’ participation in this study will provide us valuable data to continue to manage these species appropriately.

The bobcat, fisher and otter trapping seasons, and bobcat hunting season, all are relatively short and are held only in certain Wildlife Management Units (WMUs). The bobcat trapping season runs Dec. 18-Jan.9 in WMUs  2A, 2B, 2C, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E. The bobcat hunting season runs Jan. 8-Feb. 2 in the same WMUs. The fisher trapping season runs Dec. 18-Jan. 2 in WMUs 1B, 2C, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 2H, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D and 4E. And the otter trapping season runs Feb. 12-19 in WMUs 1A, 1B, 2F, 3C and 3D.

Participants in each of those seasons need a furtaker license, as well as a permit to take those species. Permits must be purchased before the start of the season. The season limit for each bobcats, fishers and otters is one.