Note: A full story on the bobcat vote will appear in Saturday's Athens Messenger newspaper.
Bobcat advocates expressed joy and relief Thursday evening after the Ohio Wildlife Council voted to indefinitely postpone a proposed bobcat trapping season in the state.
The Council voted 6-1 to postpone the Ohio Department of Natural Resources proposal, which would have created a trapping season beginning later this year in two geographic zones (one of them including Athens County).
Members of the governor-appointed Ohio Wildlife Council began casting their votes at 7:05 p.m., a little more than a half hour into its meeting. The tension in the large room, held at the Division of Wildlife building in Columbus, “was so thick that you could cut it with a knife,” said Jeff Crecelius, a retired pediatrician who now resides in Vinton County.
There were about four different proposed hunting and trapping rule changes where “bobcat” needed to be stricken from the text. The vote was the same for each, Crecelius said, and when it was over, the mood was jubilant.
“I started text messaging people, and also stood up and started hugging people,” he said.
Roxanne Groff, an Amesville-area resident and a former Athens County commissioner, agreed that public opposition was the deciding factor.
“It’s a win" for anti-trapping proponents, Groff said. “There’s no question.”
However, Groff cautioned that instead of a firm “no” vote, Thursday’s vote was an indefinite postponement. The issue of trapping bobcats may return at some point in the future, she noted, also saying that groups like Save Ohio’s Bobcats II must remain vigilant.
Read a copy of The Athens Messenger's Saturday newspaper for more details.