The California Department of Finance opposes a proposed bobcat hunting and trapping ban making its way through the state legislature. Assembly Member Sydney Kamlager-Dove’s (D- Los Angeles) Assembly Bill 1254 has already passed the Assembly by a vote of 54-21. The Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee also approved AB 1254 by a vote of 5 to 2. However, the Senate Appropriations Committee has placed the bill on the suspense file, temporarily halting its progress while it considers the fiscal impact of the bill.
This pause will give committee members time to consider a recent analysis by the state Department of Finance that reported that the implementation of AB 1254 would put such financial stress on the Fish and Game Preservation Fund that it “would hinder the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (DFW) ability to carry out its core programs.”
There is no scientific reason to ban bobcat hunting. The population is thriving in California, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife found there was no danger of over harvest since the total bobcat take in recent years had been substantially less than 20 percent of the statewide harvest quota, which is itself very conservative. During last year’s hunting season, only 331 bobcats were harvested. Should AB 1254 become law, California taxpayers will be saddled with additional financial burdens to provide revenue for DFW.