DURHAM, N.H. -- The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department and the University of New Hampshire are looking for volunteer "citizen scientists" to participate in a trail-camera count of bobcats in three specific study areas in southern New Hampshire. Volunteers must provide their own trail camera (preferably no more than 3-5 years old) and be willing to monitor for bobcats, following a set protocol, in a designated area over a 14-day period. Training will be provided.
"Over the past two decades, sightings of bobcats in New Hampshire have increased and so have questions regarding the status of this species," said Pat Tate, Fish and Game's furbearer biologist. "Without a good method to index their numbers, it is difficult to determine just how many bobcats are roaming the state."
Individuals familiar with New Hampshire's Wildlife Management Units will recognize the three study areas as WMUs H2 (south), I2, and M -- more generally, the areas surrounding the towns of Bradford, Swanzey and Deering, N.H. A detailed map of the study area can be found at http://mlitvaitis.unh.edu/Research/BobcatWeb/counting.htm.
This new research effort constitutes the continuation of a multi-year bobcat study being conducted by the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Development of a cost-effective method to reliably monitor New Hampshire's bobcat population would help provide Fish and Game with valuable information on the status and distribution of this species in the state, according to Tate.
The trail-camera study is an effort to develop an efficient and effective means to index the relative regional abundance of this elusive species by enlisting the help of New Hampshire's enthusiastic core of outdoor volunteers, armed with the observation power of trail cameras. Camera sampling periods begin around October 15 of this year and run through December.
If you are interested in helping count bobcats and are willing to volunteer your outdoor knowledge, trail camera and time, please contact Tyler Mahard at UNHbobcat@gmail.com.
To learn more, visit the UNH website "Understanding Bobcats in the Granite State" (http://mlitvaitis.unh.edu/Research/BobcatWeb/counting.htm) and click on "Counting Bobcats."
If you do not own a trail camera, you can still assist the study effort by reporting incidental observations of bobcats; visit http://mlitvaitis.unh.edu/Research/BobcatWeb/sightings.htm.
"Thanks in advance for your interest in this amazing animal," said Tate.
Wildlife research and management in New Hampshire are funded in large part through the federal Wildlife Restoration program, supported by an excise tax on firearms, ammunition and archery supplies.
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Pat Tate, NHFG: 603-868-1095
Tyler Mahard, UNH: UNHbobcat@gmail.com
Jane Vachon, NHFG: 603-271-3211