Apparently California is considering legislation that would outlaw bobcat trapping and the sale of their pelts.

After a Joshua Tree property owner's announcement that he'd found a bobcat trap illegally placed on his land sparked statewide outrage, a bill has been introduced into the state legislature that would end the state's nearly unregulated bobcat trapping season.

 The Bobcat Protection Act of 2013 (AB 1213), introduced by Assembly member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), would ban both trapping of bobcats and the sale of their pelts. Bobcat hunting by means other than trapping would remain legal.

The bill was introduced after Joshua Tree resident Tom O'Key's discovery of bobcat traps on his land, set there by trapper Nathan Brock, was described in an article by the Los Angeles Times' Louis Sahagun. Statewide attention to the issue ensued.

Bobcat trapping is currently legal in California during the allotted trapping season, which runs from November 24 through January 31. Licensed trappers can take any number of cats they are able to trap during that period: the only limit on the "harvest" is that the state closes the season once the total number of pelts recorded reaches 14,400. That rather arbitrary-seeming number is a fifth of the cats' statewide numbers as estimated in the late 1970s. That estimate was effectively rebutted in a court case I describe here, and no further statewide census has ever been performed. And as desert journalist Steve Brown points out in a recent article in the Sun Runner, that statewide limit of 14,400 cats means that local bobcat populations could easily be wiped out without triggering Fish and Wildlife's closing of that year's season.

If it passes, Bloom's bill would take effect on January 1, 2014, meaning that it would end the upcoming bobcat trapping season on December 31, 2013.

"Under California's antiquated trapping laws, it's perfectly legal for trappers to line the boundary of a national park with traps, kill the park's wildlife, and ship the animals' pelts to China," said Brendan Cummings, director of the Center for Biological Diversity's Wildlands Program, in a press release lauding AB 1213. "Assemblyman Bloom's bill is an important step in bringing California's wildlife law into the 21st century."

Predictably, the community of bobcat trappers in California -- fewer than 200 in the state last year, according to Fish and Wildlife -- is stalwartly opposed to the bill, though a sense of defeatism seems to hang over trappers' discussions online, as witness this comment by a Virginia-based sympathizer:

No matter what efforts everybody makes, there is a ZERO percent chance of defeating this bill. Kalifornia is way to [sic] far gone. I spend alot [sic] of time there because my wife's family is from Hollywood, and the people are 80% crazy.

Those trappers on that lnked thread who aren't so pessimistic suggest that Fish and Wildlife might offer a way out of the problem by providing data to prove bobcat populations in California are being sustainably managed.

Which would be a neat trick.

Bobcat Rescued from Snare

Responses to "Bill Would Ban Bobcat Trapping in California"

  1. Unknown says:
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  2. Anonymous says:

    This is outrageous, I cannot understand why our state has not put this ban through to stop this barbaric hunting!!!!! It isn't even hunting!!!! These animals don't have a chance!!!!! What about hikers, if they get hurt by this type of trap will that send any kind of message!!! These animals should not be hunted!!!!! Leave them alone!!!!!! Seriously people should not be allowed to continue to destroy these beautiful animals!!!!

    Deborah Horn

  3. Unknown says:

    HOW can HUMAN Beings do this? this is sick torture! IT MUST be stopped (BANNED) NO ONE should have to live/die in a painful trap. I am so glad that this ONE got free ! IT was hard for me to watch, Animals are my relations! It is like watching MY Brother in pain!

  4. wolfsynn says:

    and the people are 80% crazy. Remember, you heard it from the source...... This from the guy who traps animals, leaves them to suffer painful deaths, skins them, and thinks the 80% of people who oppose him are crazy. Only the completely delusional could ever think themselves correct in acting with such callous disregard for life of any kind. Pansy-ass hunters. Anything to trick, trap, poison, or shoot an animal. These people are actually allowed to spawn and interact with children. Someone needs to flush the toilet.

  5. Anonymous says:

    well you can all think about how nice you are to the animals will you are sitting MickeyDs haveing a Bigmac or at Roadhouse haveing a T-Bone an animal
    had to die for you to eat that you people don't even know where and how the food on your table comes from or how it got there. You couldn't pour piss out
    of a boot on your own!

  6. Anonymous says:

    You people are moronic! Trapping is a humane way to control populations of animals. Trappers check their traps every 24 hrs or less. Killing an animal in a trap also gaurentees a clean kill vs. Hunting where an animal can be crippled and lost.By the way bobcats kill domesticated pets, and with high populations they skirt neighborhoods where pets n children play outside, the are not a domestic animal they are a ptedator who only think of one thing killing their next meal!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Trapping is barbaric and should be banned in every state! Trappers come in to the Owens Valley of California in the fall and stay until the end of January. They make a living off of killing and disfiguring animals. It is heartless and cruel. People who can do this kind of thing are not the kind of neighbors anyone wants. Animals have eyes into their souls just like we humans do, but they have no voice to speak for themselves and those of us with conscience need to speak up for them.

  8. Cyndi Lopriore says:

    I do believe in the freedom of all wildlife and feel so sad, any time I see these stories of animals being harmed and/or abused in any way. The pain and slow death that these traps cause must be horrible, it has to be banned.

  9. Cheter Philippe Théoule-sur-Mer France says:

    Horrible et barbare !!!

  10. Anonymous says:


  11. Anonymous says:

    Seriously? "Trapping is a humane way to control populations of animals." Let's put you in a snare and see if you feel it's humane! Slow death associated with pain and suffication is not my idea of humane it's barbaric and it's not about controlling populations it's about money. Snare traps like in this case are used so the pelts aren't damaged not to be a humane way of population control. Don't call people moronic because you don't know any better, it only makes you look like the moron.

  12. Anonymous says:

    There are 200 trappers now but with bobcat fur pelts fetching over $700 you can bet there will be more very soon. Once you get a business started, stopping big money is very difficult. If AB1213 doesn't pass then an initiative will follow and just like with mountain lions, we will ban trapping and hunting.

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