Bobcats are intelligent and extremely elusive native cats in the Adirondacks. Everyone who sees one brags about it, as many of us have spent our whole lives roaming the forests seeing only tracks in winter, when we are lucky.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation wants to allow longer hunting and trapping seasons for bobcats in much of the state, encouraging an increase in the “harvest” from four hundred to five hundred. Trapping involves setting traps and checking them within forty-eight hours in the Adirondacks to be legal. The trapper usually kills the animal by clubbing, so as not to spoil the pelt with a bullet hole, although that would be a kinder death.
DEC wants approval for its bobcat plan so that there will be more “enjoyment” of the natural resource. They do note that some people enjoy bobcats by taking pictures, tracking them, or always hoping to see one. Probably 99.9% of New Yorkers, the owners of our wildlife, do not trap, and probably a very high percentage think trapping for fun today is an uncivilized and unnecessary pastime.
Starting one hundred years ago, my friend Clarence Petty trapped as a boy and young man for money critical to his family. Later in life he called for banning leg-hold traps, calling them “torture devices” that often caught the “wrong” animal by mistake. Another old friend who trapped for a while for money despite his dislike of the practice never saw a bobcat except in his trap, he told me ruefully.
Are our wildcats not sensitive to pain, mental as well as physical, not deserving of freedom to live in nature by their wits?
Evelyn Greene, North Creek