Special Regulations Note
BOBCAT -- STATEWIDE SEASON DATES:
Trapping Districts 1, 2 and 3: December 1 - February 15 of the
following year. Trapping Districts 4, 5, 6 and 7: December 1 -
March 1 of the following year. License must be purchased prior
to December 1. Season will close in 48 hours upon reaching the
trapping district quota or on the season closure date, whichever
Limit: Persons may take and
possess seven (7) bobcats each per season in Trapping Districts
1, 2 and 3. There is no per trapper limit in Trapping Districts
4, 5, 6 and 7. The bobcat season on the Flathead Indian
Reservation is closed to all trappers (members and nonmembers).
Hunting Season: Bobcat may
be taken by hunting (MCA 87-2-601). Bobcat hunting is open each
day one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset
during the open season. Bobcat chasing is open each day from two
(2) hours before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset in the
hunting districts where mountain lion season has closed (check
mountain lion closures at 1-800-385-7826). Bobcat chasing is
open each day from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour
after sunset in the hunting districts where mountain lion season
is open. Bobcats may not be taken until legal bobcat hunting
hours. Bobcats may not be hunted except during legal bobcat
hunting hours. Dogs may be used to hunt and chase bobcats within
Dogs may be used to take bobcat (MCA
87-3-124), but no other animals defined by law as furbearing
animals. Dogs may be used to hunt or chase bobcats within
prescribed hunting hours and seasons.
Persons with a valid trapper license may
legally chase bobcats during the open season and anytime after
the season is closed in the Trapping District, or until April
14. A trapper license must be purchased prior to December 1 of
the current year to be valid.
Landowner permission is required to hunt on
private land, including releasing dogs or chasing bobcats during
the chase-only season.
Chase-only Season: Trapping
Districts 1, 2 and 3: February 16 - April 14. Trapping Districts
4, 5, 6 and 7: March 2 - April 14. Bobcat chasing is open each
day one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
Dogs may be used to chase bobcats within prescribed seasons. All
Wildlife Management Areas, National Wildlife Refuges and Deer,
Elk and Mountain Lion Hunting District 282 are closed to the
bobcat chase season.
It is prohibited for a hound handler or
bobcat hunter to release dogs on a bobcat track, or allow dogs
to chase a bobcat, or hold a bobcat at bay, when the season is
not open to hunting or chasing bobcats.
Bobcats may not be trapped to be later
released for hunting and/or chasing with dogs. Wild furbearers
captured alive must be immediately killed or released. It is
unlawful for a person to possess or transport wild furbearers
alive (MCA 87-3-11).
Quotas: Current harvest
quota information may be obtained by calling the appropriate
Fish, Wildlife & Parks regional office during normal business
hours or by calling 1-800-711-TRAP (1-800-711-8727) 24 hours a
day or the FWP website at fwp.state.mt.us. The toll free line
and website are updated by 1 pm. (MST) every day. Furbearer
seasons will close in 48 hours when a species quota is reached
prior to the end of the regular season.
The Fish, Wildlife & Parks Commission has
authorized the department to initiate a closure prior to
reaching a quota or subquota when conditions or circumstances
indicate the quota may be reached within the 48-hour closure
Reporting: Trappers or
hunters are required to personally report their bobcat harvest
within 24 hours by calling the Fish, Wildlife & Parks regional
office during office hours (8 AM - 5 PM weekdays) in the
trapping district where the animal was taken so that FWP can
monitor quota levels. Reporting can also be made after office
hours and on weekends by calling 1-406-449-1065.
Pelt Tagging: Trappers and
hunters are required to personally present the pelts of bobcat
for tagging to a designated Fish, Wildlife & Parks employee
residing in the trapping district where the animal was taken
within five (5) days of harvest. Trappers or hunters unable to
comply with the five day pelt tagging requirements due to
special circumstances or the unavailability of local FWP
personnel must still register their pelts within five days of
harvest by calling the proper regional office to make
arrangements for tagging by FWP personnel at a later time. Pelts
not presented or registered to department personnel within 5
days are subject to confiscation.
Skulls: It is mandatory that
skulls of bobcat be turned into Fish, Wildlife & Parks in good
condition, at the time the pelt is presented for tagging. The
skulls will be retained by Fish, Wildlife & Parks for processing
and examination and then returned to the owner if desired. Good
condition is defined as fresh or frozen and securely wrapped in
such a manner as to have prevented decomposition in order that
all tissue samples are suitable for lab analysis.
Trappers are requested to be able to identify
or have skulls sorted by sex for bobcat before presenting them
to FWP personnel.
Export: A federal export
permit is required in addition to a Montana CITES tag before the
pelts of bobcat and otter may be exported from the United
States. Apply to U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 600 Central
Plaza, Room 209, Great Falls MT 59401.