- Associated Press - Thursday, June 14, 2018

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Montana wildlife managers want a 40-percent reduction in the quota for bobcats killed by trappers in the southwestern portion of the state amid signs the population is declining.

The proposed move would reduce the region’s annual trapping quota from 250 to 150 bobcats. It comes after trappers reported seeing fewer bobcats and rabbits, the cats’ main prey.

State wildlife commissioners on Thursday gave preliminary approval to the reduction, opening it to public comment. A final decision is expected in August.

Wildlife advocates and representatives of the Montana Trappers Association spoke in support of the change.

The bobcat quota for southwestern Montana has fluctuated between 100 and 325 animals since the mid-1990s as state officials have struggled to find the right balance between trapping and sustaining the population.

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