Wisconsin man accidentally traps 35-pound bobcat

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GRANT COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV)--- (12/5/2018) - The bobcat Will Sandberg found in his coyote trap was unharmed. Now, it's going to help the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources learn more about the elusive species.

When Sandberg found the bobcat in his coyote trap he immediately called the DNR.

"I knew the DNR was doing a collaring study in the area they're doing coyotes and deer and bobcats so I thought I would call them and let them get it out of the trap," Sandberg said.

He said they showed up shortly after he called. They tranquilized the cat, weighed it and put a GPS tracking collar on it before releasing it back into the wild.

Nathan Roberts, a researcher with the DNR, said information from the cat will be used for their Southern Wisconsin Deer and Predator study. The bobcat Sandberg trapped is one of 30 that the DNR is now tracking.

He said in the 1960s bobcats were heavily hunted and had nearly disappeared from southern Wisconsin. He said in the past decade or so their population has "bounced back tremendously."

Roberts said humans should not fear bobcats. He said because bobcats are near the top of the food chain, having a healthy number of bobcats in a natural area tells them that everything else in that area is healthy too.

He said it would be very difficult for the DNR to gather information about bobcats without the cooperation of trappers like Sandberg. He said partnering with local trappers helps them cover a big area without having to send researchers.

Sandberg said the researchers at the DNR told him they will send him updates on where the bobcat travels.

"It's pretty exciting because the bobcat seemed to, in this area anyway, seems to have only rebounded or re-emerged in the past five years," Sandberg said.