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Bobcats are the glamour furbearers of the entire fur industry. Not only because they are the highest dollar pelts in America, but just because they are wild cats!
While it is true the North America bobcat is the only legally harvested spotted fur in the world, it's also true that their populations are staple or increasing across the continent. This makes the bobcat a precious symbol to the American trapper and wildlife managers alike. The bobcat represents another conservations (wise use) project implemented by the consumptive wildlife users that has actually increased the population of the harvested species.
In the January 1988 issue of National Wildlife, Richard Mitchell, a zoologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said, "There are probably more bobcats in this country today than during colonial times."
This statement comes after more than a dozen years of hard harvest exerted on the bobcats since the value of their pelts rose dramatically in 1975. Bobcats are symbols to me; they share the same survival attributes of strength, adaptability, and independence that I associate with trappers themselves. Maybe that's why I smile every time I see one because I'm glad to be sharing our world with this mysterious and wonderful creature.
February 23, 1988
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Illustrations: 72 in black and white