Anchor Intro: A Terre Haute man is being charged with illegally poaching a bobcat in Vigo County, but killing the animal may not be illegal in the near future.
Bobcats are a protected species in Indiana and the killing or possession of a bobcat is a Class C misdemeanor that is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and 60 days in jail. So, when 28-year-old Randy Paugh of Terre Haute shot one during last year’s deer season, he was committing a crime.
According to Indiana Conservation Officer Matt Vossmer, there is a simple rule that people can use to avoid similar problems.
“If they don’t know what the animal is, they shouldn’t be taking a shot at it,” he says.
Or they could just wait a few years. Non-game biologist Scott Johnson says since the bobcat population is growing in Indiana, they could soon be taken off the protected species list. There might even be a hunting season for bobcats.
“There are certain parts of Indiana that have a very healthy population that could withstand a very limited harvest,” he says.
Either way, it is still illegal to hunt bobcats and officials say hunters should keep up to date on what animals can be legally hunted and avoid those that are protected.