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HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Game Commission, with assistance from several interested observers, publicly drew by computer the names of 570 individuals who each will be awarded one bobcat permit for the upcoming 2003-2004 hunting and trapping season. The drawing was held at the agency's Harrisburg headquarters today.

After a thorough review of the 3,563 applications received for the drawing, the Game Commission disqualified 74 individuals for failing to follow instructions, including mailing in multiple applications and bounced checks. Of the 3,489 eligible applicants in the drawing, an additional 50 applications were drawn as alternates in case any of the first 570 individuals are declared ineligible during an application review by the Bureau of Law Enforcement.

Those selected in today's random drawing will receive, in early October, one permit at no additional charge to either hunt or trap one bobcat. The hunting season will run from Oct. 18-Feb. 21. The trapping season will run from Oct. 19-Feb. 21.

Top 10 counties for those receiving bobcat permits are: Lancaster, 39; Lycoming, 30; Berks, 28; York, 27; Bradford, 25; Tioga, 21; Luzerne, 18; Clearfield, 17; Lebanon, 16; and Bucks, 15.

Hunting and trapping bobcats is restricted to Wildlife Management Units 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C and 3D. Maps of the WMUs appear on pages 48 through 52 of the 2003-2004 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations.

In 2000-2001, when the first bobcat hunting and trapping seasons in 30 years were held, hunters and trappers harvested 58 bobcats. In 2001-2002, hunters and trappers took 146 bobcats. In 2002-2003, hunters and trappers harvested 135 bobcats.

"Based on the harvest success rate of these three seasons and our survey of unsuccessful bobcat permit holders, we conservatively increased the number of permits allocated to move closer to our harvest objective of 175 bobcats," said Dr. Matthew Lovallo, Game Commission furbearer biologist.

On July 21, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed a Commonwealth Court decision to dismiss a Fund for Animals' lawsuit aimed at stopping the bobcat seasons. The lawsuit was filed by the Fund just prior to the start of the 2000-2001 seasons.

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