GALLIPOLIS — The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Division is still investigating the Feb. 13 death of a female bobcat in Gallia County.
According to Roy Rucker, Gallia County’s wildlife officer with the ODNR, there are no new leads as to who may have shot the bobcat Feb. 13 in Gallia County. James Burdette, a newspaper carrier for the Gallipolis Daily Tribune, found the animal while making his deliveries just off Ohio 160 along Burnheimer Road. He and another man spotted the animal perched next to a set of mailboxes next to the road.
“I thought it was still alive the way it was perched,” Burdette said at the time. “We kept looking for it to move, but found out it was dead. It had been shot.”
Rucker said at the time that the bobcat suffered a gunshot wound behind its left shoulder.
“(Bobcats) are a threatened species in Ohio and they are very important to us,” Rucker said. “This bobcat was shot, but it’s still under investigation.”
Threatened species means the animal is vulnerable to endangerment in the near future. But according to a proposal made in January, the ODNR is recommending that bobcats be removed from the threatened species list.
According to the ODNR website, bobcats were one of 71 species on Ohio’s first endangered list in 1974. However, the bobcat population began to rebound in the 1970s, and in recent years the number of verified sightings has continued to increase, prompting the status change from endangered to threatened in 2012.
Since bobcats are considered a protected species in Ohio with no hunting or trapping season, Rucker said fines, court costs and restitution are much steeper than it would be for killing a common animal not on a protected list.
“Bobcats are a hunted species in other states,” Rucker said. “But the population doesn’t warrant that here in Ohio.”
Rucker said no new information has surfaced as to who shot the bobcat and why. He said spotting a bobcat in the wild is a rare event, especially for him.
“As much as I’m outdoors performing my job duties, I haven’t seen them very often,” he said at the time. “Why anyone would shoot one … I really don’t know.”
Rucker and the ODNR are asking for the public’s help. People who may have information about the bobcat shooting are asked to call the Gallia County ODNR office at (740) 589-9983.