PA Game Commission Offers Cable Restraint Classes; PA Game Commission Draws Bobcat Permits for Upcoming Season

Sep 09, 2005, 01:00 ET from PA Game Commission

    HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania trappers looking to
 participate in the upcoming cable restraint trapping season (Jan. 1-Feb. 18)
 now can begin signing up to take the mandatory certification courses being
 offered by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.  Developed by the Game Commission
 and the Pennsylvania Trappers Association, course listings have been posted on
 the agency's website ( under the "Calendar of
 Events" section in the left-hand column of the homepage.
     On Jan. 25, the Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval to permit
 certified trappers to use specific cable restraint devices for coyotes and
 foxes from Jan. 1 until the end of the annually established trapping season.
 Cable restraints of one form or another are legal in 41 states and all 12
 Canadian provinces.
     Under the new trapping option, licensed trappers will be required to
 complete a certification course to use cable restraints.  Agency-certified
 trapper instructors will conduct the four-hour course.  The cost of the course
 is $15.  Students will receive various education materials and one legal cable
 restraint, and a permanent certification card will be mailed following
 completion of the class.
     All cable restraints must be equipped with at least one swivel device to
 allow any captured animal to have 360-degree, unobstructed movement around the
 anchor point to prevent entanglement.  The regulation also specifies that
 cable restraints may not be placed near a fence or other obstruction, such as
 a bush or exposed root system, which would permit the animal to entangle
     Also, all cable restraints are required to have a "deer stop" installed at
 eight inches circumference to allow deer to simply step out of the device if
 accidentally caught.  The cable restraint must include a breakaway device that
 enables animals larger than a fox or coyote to escape.  The maximum
 circumference of the cable may not be greater than 38 inches when fully open,
 or less than 8 inches when fully closed.
     "After studying reports about the safe and efficient use of cable
 restraints to capture coyotes and foxes, we believe that Pennsylvania should
 offer its furtakers the opportunity to use this device to manage these two
 species in the Commonwealth," said Dr. Matthew Lovallo, Game Commission
 furbearer biologist.  "When used properly, cable restraints have a great track
 record of holding captured animals without mortalities and with few injuries.
     "By limiting the timeframe in which they can be used from Jan. 1 until the
 end of the trapping seasons in mid-February, we are further reducing potential
 conflicts with free-roaming dogs and cats."
     Lovallo noted that the move to allow the use of cable restraints in
 Pennsylvania was based on data collected during one of the most ambitious
 research projects in the history of wildlife conservation -- the development
 of Best Management Practices for Trapping in the United States (BMPs).
     "These BMPs identify techniques, traps and cable restraints that address
 the welfare of trapped animals and allow for the efficient, selective, safe
 and practical capture of furbearers," Lovallo said.  "The studies were
 designed following the science-based field testing protocols used and
 perfected by the furbearer resources technical work group of the International
 Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies."
     In 2001 and 2002, cable restraints were field-tested by experienced local
 trappers during legal trapping seasons in Wisconsin and Missouri.  Specimens
 taken in Wisconsin by cable restraints were sent to wildlife veterinary
 pathologists at the University of Wyoming, who used international trap testing
 guidelines to examine the animals for trap-related injuries.  The performance
 of cable restraints was rated very high for effectiveness and they were found
 to be very humane.
     "Because of the concerns for safety of hunting dogs and free-roaming dogs
 and cats, the Game Commission has discussed the legalization of cable
 restraints with dog owners and dog hunting clubs," Lovallo said.  "We believe
 that those discussions have helped dispel some of the rumors and
 misconceptions about cable restraints."
     The Pennsylvania Trappers Association (PTA) stepped forward to assist the
 Game Commission in developing and conducting the special certification classes
 for those licensed furtakers interested in being permitted to use cable
     "Cable restraints are another tool in the trappers' arsenal to help
 alleviate problems caused by coyotes and foxes," said Rod Zullinger, PTA
 president.  "Wildlife managers are in full support of the cable restraints and
 this will certainly open up a new avenue for Pennsylvania trappers."
     HARRISBURG -- The Pennsylvania Game Commission, with assistance from
 several interested observers, today publicly drew by computer the names of 615
 individuals who each will be awarded one bobcat permit for the upcoming
 2005-06 hunting and trapping season. The drawing was held at the agency's
 Harrisburg headquarters today at 10 a.m., and lasted until 10:30 a.m.
     After a review of the 4,648 applications received for the drawing, the
 Game Commission disqualified 40 individuals for failing to follow
 instructions, including mailing in multiple applications and bounced checks.
 Of the 4,608 eligible applicants in the drawing, an additional 20 applications
 were drawn as alternates in case any of the first 615 individuals are declared
 ineligible during an application review by the Bureau of Law Enforcement.
     Those selected in today's random drawing will receive one permit for no
 additional charge to either hunt or trap one bobcat.  The hunting season will
 run from Oct. 15- Feb. 18.  The trapping season will run from Oct. 16- Feb.
     Top counties for those receiving bobcat permits are: Lancaster, 43; Berks,
 36; York, 35; Lycoming, 29; Tioga, 29; Bradford, 28; Luzerne, 27; Westmoreland
 21; Clearfield 18; and Montgomery, 17.  Also, 16 of those drawn were women.
 Hunting and trapping bobcats is restricted to Wildlife Management Units 2C,
 2E, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D.  A statewide map of the WMUs, as well as a
 series of maps of each WMU, appears on pages 43 through 46 of the 2005-2006
 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations.
     In 2000-01, when the first bobcat hunting and trapping seasons in 30 years
 were held, 290 permitted hunters and trappers took 58 bobcats.  In 2001-02,
 520 permitted hunters and trappers harvested 146 bobcats; in 2002-03, 545
 permitted hunters and trappers harvested 135 bobcats; in 2003-04, 570
 permitted hunters and trappers harvested 140 bobcats; and in 2004-05, 615
 permitted hunters and trappers harvested 196 bobcats.

SOURCE PA Game Commission