Bobcats hunted for overseas fur market - Hi-Desert Star: News

Bobcats hunted for overseas fur market

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 10:28 pm | Updated: 11:35 pm, Fri Feb 1, 2013.

MORONGO BASIN — Until recently, local bobcats had few predators. They feasted on ground squirrels and cottontail rabbits, rarely encountering a creature of threat.

Booming pelt prices in countries like China and Russia have changed that.

Currently, three bobcat trappers are licensed in the Morongo Basin, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. It is legal for them to hunt and trap bobcats on public, non-protected lands in California during a 69-day season from Nov. 24 to Jan. 31.

There is no limit to the number of cats a single person can legally trap each season. In the 2010-11 license year, nearly 1,200 bobcats were legally harvested in the state.

Some Morongo Basin residents are outraged at the hunting and trapping of local wildlife — animals that organizations have spent millions of dollars trying to protect.

One local licensed trapper sees it differently, and if he sets his traps right, he can literally make a killing.

Bobcat pelts can sell on the fur market for $80 to $1,700, according to the local trapper, who asked that his name be withheld because he feared retribution.

The man began trapping and killing bobcats nearly two years ago. He’s licensed, well aware of state regulations and happy to comply.

“Hunting and trapping is legal statewide on virtually all public land, but there are several exceptions and there are zones and restrictions for certain types of animals,” Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, said Tuesday. “It’s really, really complicated, and I actually feel for the hunters.”

Bobcat harvesting drew little attention until recently, when area residents began finding traps on and near their properties.

Tom O’Key, a local astronomer and conservation activist, was appalled to find a bobcat trap on his land abutting Joshua Tree National Park. O’Key removed the trap, called the county Sheriff’s Department and eventually spoke to the trapper.

“I found the trap night before last under a jojoba bush,” O’Key said last week. “I left a note saying the sheriff had been noticed and stay off my land.”

The trapper, who mistook O’Key’s property for public land, said Thursday that he does report each kill to the local Fish and Wildlife warden before he sends the pelts to the fur auction. The average bobcat pelt from the Morongo Basin will fetch $200 to $700 on the market, he said.

While most wildlife activists scoff at the trapper’s business, he reiterated his rights and compliance with the law.

“It’s in the trapper’s best interest not to decimate the bobcat population,” he said, insisting, “the area’s bobcat population is healthy; they have no natural predators here. There are more bobcats that die from old age than trapping.”

According to the North American Fur Auction website, the company expects increases in fur sales this year, with China being the largest consumer, followed by Russia and Korea. The company successfully sold muskrat, otter, fox and coyote pelts in 2012. The auction company notes that fur sales are down in Europe and North America, but the demand for fur trim remains strong in both regions.

The trapper declined to disclose the number of wild cats he catches in one season, but said among the nearly 30 traps he has placed throughout the Morongo Basin, he’s caught “more than expected” this year, noting a recent harvest of five cats in one night.

“It’s a hobby. I’ve learned more about predators and wildlife by trapping,” he said.

A local active-duty Marine, he said even if he wasn’t making a profit off the animals, he’d probably still be trapping.

“Bobcats are awesome animals,” he said.

It may be the only sentiment he shares with animal activists and conservationists.

He’s careful not to divulge too much about his practice, but he does want the public to know he numbers each of his traps and checks them every day, as required by law. He uses cages, not foothold traps, which are illegal in California.

He said he kills, or “dispatches,” all of the animals he traps almost immediately after finding them, usually with a rifle. He then must skin each one and treat the hides. For the self-described outdoorsman, it’s just part of the process and to him, it’s worth it. After he retires, he plans to continue to pursue the fur industry as a means of extra income for his family.

© 2015 Hi-Desert Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Welcome to the discussion

Please respect this forum and your colleagues by keeping your discussions civil and on-topic. We reserve the right to remove any comments with abusive, obscene, defamatory or prejudiced language or innuendos. Threats of harming another person and comments celebrating harm done to another person will not be tolerated. Use the “report” link to let the editor know about abusive or questionable posts.


  • idavidgraficks posted at 12:07 pm on Thu, Feb 28, 2013.

    idavidgraficks Posts: 872

    Even more good news, this "bobcat event" with Tom has prompted an actual state law proposal. Here's the link:

  • White Eagle posted at 9:56 pm on Fri, Feb 22, 2013.

    White Eagle Posts: 7

    Signatures are still needed for the petition noted by JoshuaTreeGal:

    Please ask everyone you know to sign it. This could result in a legal resolution, preventing "further trapping of bobcats throughout the Morongo Basin".

  • Valeree posted at 10:48 am on Sun, Feb 17, 2013.

    Valeree Posts: 5

    Very sad story. There is a lot to say about a person's character regarding the way they treat animals, and it is not good. The fact that they are sharing this activity and promoting how fun it is to kill these animals with their children is very disturbing.

    Please go to PROJECTBOBCAT.ORG for more info and ways to help stop this cruel activity.

  • JoshuaTreeGal posted at 7:29 pm on Sat, Feb 16, 2013.

    JoshuaTreeGal Posts: 5

    Please go to the link below and sign the petition to California stat lawmakers to ban trapping of bobcats in the Morongo Basin near Joshua Tree National Park

  • Victor_S posted at 11:50 pm on Fri, Feb 15, 2013.

    Victor_S Posts: 110

    Besides registering complaints locally, bobcat supporters may also contact Ben Hueso, Chairman of the State Assembly's Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee -

    Send him the link to this story. Ask him to read the comments, and ask him to submit a new bill before the Feb 24 deadline, to add the bobcat to the state's list of fully-protected species (see below for details).

    Mr. Hueso's Link:

    Phone: (916) 319-2080

    When you contact him, send him a link to the main article you read here, and ask him to submit a new bill to add the bobcat to amend the CA Fish and Game Code, Section 4700, and add the bobcat to the state's list of fully protected mammals.

    All bills for the 2013 session must be submitted by February 24, so contact him now to get the bill drafted in time.

  • Branson Hunter posted at 5:50 pm on Wed, Feb 13, 2013.

    Branson Hunter Posts: 962

    The motive behind trapping bob cats is one of extraordinary greed.

    Atronomer and conservationist Tom O’Key said it best: “This is really, really bad. These guys are carpetbaggers coming onto private land to slaughter bobcats with no regard for a tight-knit community that cares deeply about the national park and its wildlife.”

    Like humans, bob cats are capable of awareness and suffering, they have survival instincts and they experience trauma. This means they are capable of being aware of sensations and emotions, of feeling pain and suffering, and of experiencing a state of well being and contentment. Bob cats are solitary animals.

    Bob cats are animal sentient beings, just as a race of human being are sentient beings.

    First trappers slaughter their prey. They do that by permanently put out their light in some cruel manner. Then trappers skin the animal after it has been disembowel. The remains are left on the ground. Bob cat fur can earn a trapper more than $600 in overseas markets.

    O’key is right. Trappers lack understanding and respect for living things. They shouldn’t have the right to take over the area to prey on and slaughter wildlife.

    Trapping is akin to poachers plundering of the rinos and elephants for their tusks and horns to sell in Asia, India or Europan markets. The distinction is that while poachers go after ivory and horns, trappers go after the belly fur of bob cats. It all done without any any remorse. Greed is a powerful motivator.

    People need to spend more time thinking about the reality of savagery and the slaughter of a wildlife specie. There are few issues more controversial in Canada and around the world than the annual seal hunt that takes place in the waters and on the ice floes off Atlantic Canada.

    We have our own problem with savagery and slaughter here in the Morongo Basin. We do not own the planet, the planet owns us. Treat all living things with respect. That’s not too much to expect.

  • Tom in Joshua Tree posted at 11:20 am on Wed, Feb 13, 2013.

    Tom in Joshua Tree Posts: 21

    Get educated about the perils our Planet faces and the dire trouble we're in.

    Bobcat trappers, and others who exploit our Planet, are letting their lives waste in squander as compared to the good that they could accomplish if applying themselves to truly meaningful activities. Instead, the trappers espouse that they have a necessary and honorable purpose in life. One that might imagine saying well to one of their children, "So, Billy, what do you want to be when you grow up?" Proudly, Billy exclaims, "I want to be a bobcat trapper, just like my dear ole dad!" Well, dream on. Your kids will live in the same dark shadows just like dad does! Society will scorn them and hate them, just like society scorns and hates "dear ole dad, the hunter, trapper"! That is the overwhelming call on this issue, regardless of how much the trappers claim their "rights".

    So, teach youR children well. If you want to see them fall into the ditch with the idea they had good guidance and parental oversight with a hope that they were bringing up citizens of a modern world, well, ask yourself, who's kidding who?

    Trappers, go and get a meaningful life. There is no place for this activity in a modern world. If your grandchildren mean anything to you and you hope your family name goes on into who knows where, you decide what your legacy should be? A killer of part of a fragile and endangered ecosystem or a preserver and supporter who rebuilds and restores the misdeeds of the past. You choose! You write the epitaph you choose. If a purple heart awarded in action means anything, then this is easy to understand, as it signifies the recognition of sacrifice in harms way, and if a silver star means anything, it signifies recognition of valor above the call of duty under extraordinary circumstances.


  • JoshuaTreeGal posted at 3:49 pm on Tue, Feb 12, 2013.

    JoshuaTreeGal Posts: 5

    If you want to get involved with preserving the Bobcats, go to

    Also, excellent article on the KCET page.

    Thank you to those who are working to stop the trapping .[thumbup]

  • Victor_S posted at 1:24 am on Mon, Feb 11, 2013.

    Victor_S Posts: 110

    The article that just came out in the LA Times re: Marine Trapper's exploits:

    Note: As reported in the LA Times article, "Marine Trapper" 's actual name is Nathan Brock, age 38, posted at the base... and a 20 year veteran...

    Hmmm, I wonder... is Brock posting here as "Radar" as well, acting as a puppet in his own defense?

  • desertgal posted at 9:56 am on Sun, Feb 10, 2013.

    desertgal Posts: 78 happy to hear that you are done with all of this. So you just stay in your little red state. by the way, due to your attitude, we also are glad that you were never deployed to California

  • Marshall posted at 10:35 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    Marshall Posts: 3

    Actually, savages would actually eat their prey.

  • Marshall posted at 9:34 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    Marshall Posts: 3

    If we eat a domesticated animal and then use its fur, great, but really trapping a wild animal only for its fur? Savage!

  • Radar5711 posted at 1:48 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    Radar5711 Posts: 8

    I am done with this discussion, so you can get together with all your Save the Noble Bobcat Club buddies and celebrate the fact that you ran off the savage killers or whatever, I don’t have the extra time or energy to waste on it.

  • Radar5711 posted at 1:47 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    Radar5711 Posts: 8

    And none of you can seem to grasp that it is counter-productive for those of us who want to be able to trap and hunt to kill off all of a species, so we don’t do it! We have what we affectionately call game management. I know this stuff was done wrong historically and there is nothing we can do about that. But given the increased education and awareness provided by both sides of this debate, even if we often act as though we don’t have similar goals, the vast majority of species are thriving. Habitat loss is the enemy here, not three guys trapping. The reason there are only three guys is because it’s really hard work! And that is something most people aren’t willing to put forth anymore. So how about, like I said before, you do you and let us do us!

  • Radar5711 posted at 1:45 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    Radar5711 Posts: 8

    And why is the “life” of wildlife, a sustainable natural resource, any more important than the life of a domesticated animal? I think the selective application of morals here is pretty silly. Bobcats are not a threatened species! If they were, we wouldn’t be able to trap them! And He wouldn’t have caught and then released as many as he did because they are smart! For all the ones he caught, there are a lot more he didn’t catch. They don’t walk around looking for traps to walk into. I don’t hear anyone trying to initiate a Save the Coyote campaign, they’re not cute.

  • Radar5711 posted at 1:44 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    Radar5711 Posts: 8

    So because your screen name is white eagle, we shouldn’t presume you are "a venerated member of the Cree nation" or something? And please don't take that as intending any more disrespect than you intended with your critique of our "biologist" friend, because I honestly don't care who you are or what your heritage is, only how you act. And when you classify me and mine as ilk and calling me a liar, you can probably figure I'm not going to take kindly to anything else that comes from your keyboard. I guarantee, that as a child growing up, I spent more time in the woods and on the water than anyone on this site that wasn't raised by a pack of wolves. So knowing that, the rest of your input will be taken with a grain of salt. Or probably the whole shaker. And @Victor, having been a Marine myself for the last 20+ years, you'd be amazed what I know and what I can find out. But if I did ever get stuck out there, you can bet I’d be out there running my traps too! I’m thankful every day the Corps never made me go to California!

  • White Eagle posted at 12:18 pm on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    White Eagle Posts: 7

    Radar5711, people like you scare me. Just because someone uses the word Biologist in his screen name, you accept that he is in fact an educated scientist. I don't see that he provided a verifiable name and credentials. You've already confirmed that you lied, or as you stated, "used poetic license" to support your position. So, I suppose it shouldn't be much of a surprise that you'd willingly reference the word of an unverified scientist as further support for pro-bobcat killing stance. You did, after all, lump yourself in as one when you compared "so few of us and so many of you".

    As for your SHARING argument, we don't mind sharing. The flaw in your position is that after you, TRAPPER and your ilk have had your fun, there's no animal left to share. The sandbox analogy only works if we recognize that you like being the bully that takes all the toys for himself. That's the person with a childhood issue that needs to be resolved.

    Your statment that "Killing a bobcat has no larger moral significance than killing a cow or a pig or a chicken" is also flawed, in that bobcats are considered wildlife, while cows, pigs and chickens are considered domesticated farm animals. Being an open supporter of TRAPPER, I don't expect your to accept the difference.

    @HiDezBiologist - If you are in fact a credentialed scientist, please provide the appropriate information we can use to verify your status. Otherwise, aside from being well spoken and seemingly level-headed, your words hold no more weight than ours. You did not imply your words should hold more weight, however, you did not object to the inference either, so I feel someone needs to say it.

  • Victor_S posted at 11:03 am on Fri, Feb 8, 2013.

    Victor_S Posts: 110

    @HiDezCat, Yes, but FB and other social web pages often list where you live or visit, - so, even if your photo looks generic, it wouldn't be hard for interested parties to figure out the most likely places you saw the wildlife. I would never describe or post a photo I took of a prize or bounty animal on my own page, anywhere on the net. Furthermore, it's generally advised to select the most private levels possible for things like your FB page - no photos or info can be seen by strangers, period.

    Next, an issue I haven't seen raised here:

    This whole debate reminds me of exactly what the Marines have to practice in a hostile, foreign place like Afghanistan: winning trust and maximizing their success rate by taking local values and customs into consideration, and tailoring their interactions with the community with respect to the locals' values.

    So, this is good practice for the general recruit to experience, in preparation for accommodating local customs in more hostile areas of combat.

    This could be a great opportunity for the base to get some good PR. I hope they recognize that, and move in that direction with this issue.

  • Hi Desert Cat posted at 8:03 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Hi Desert Cat Posts: 15

    Victor, I read the article by Chris Clarke after posting the same info here last weekend. Obviously, you wouldn't post photos of bobcats in any identifiable location. Just generic photos of them because people like pictures. Check out the existing Save the Bobcat(s) FB pages. There are ways to have a vital page without jeopardizing the safety of the bobcats.

    Keeping the location of any at risk outdoor animal a secret is always imperative. Other than killing them, people do all other kinds of things which I won't mention here.

  • Hi Desert Cat posted at 7:45 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Hi Desert Cat Posts: 15

    What about Save the Bobcat JTNP (or whatever) t-shirts, reusable bags, and other Eco-friendly items, specific to this campaign designed by a local artist? I'd wear mine every time I went out. Local stores could sell them and they could be on Zazzle or another similar site for people who don't live here.

    I know it's not an original idea but it would start building a buzz.

    Also, YouTube. There must be some brilliant videographers around.

  • Victor_S posted at 7:29 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Victor_S Posts: 110

    The Sun Runner Dec 7 2012 article regarding this same Marine's trap, and how hunters stalk nature lovers via social media to find likely prey:

  • Hi Desert Cat posted at 7:03 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Hi Desert Cat Posts: 15

    Here are my two cents. (Hold the applause.)

    Twitter is a great idea. Facebook is also a fantastic tool for saving animals if you have the time and stomach for it. There are tons and tons of wonderful people all over the world who will move heaven and earth to save an animal. I've worked together with many of them.

    The Animal Legal Defense Fund in Cotati, CA would be worth contacting. While this issue is not their primary focus, they may be able to provide some guidance and the names of Animal Rights attorneys who would do pro bono work. Here is their contact info.

    It may also be worth contacting the handful of bobcat rescue groups in the country to garner potentially useful information that seems to be lacking in availability elsewhere. I have not personally worked with any of them so am not qualified to make a recommendation as to their standards of operation, level of intelligence, or anything else.

    To make any kind of real change, many, many signatures will be needed. The more exposure this gets, the better.

    At some point, it may be worthwhile for those who are compelled to do something about this to meet in person because this won't be a short flight.

    Peace to all of you tonight.

  • Victor_S posted at 4:52 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Victor_S Posts: 110

    @"Radar" How would *you* know whether anyone contacted the Marine trapper, seeing as you claim to live in NC?

    If anyone here has a Twitter account, please post a link to this story. If you don't have a twitter account, get one - it's free, and it has a major impact. just do a search & link up. And post your link in a message to someone with a large following to get more exposure, like a celebrity or activist... or NPR.

  • wildfire posted at 2:41 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    wildfire Posts: 1

    Get real, people! This blood-lust on both sides makes the problem worse. Non-trappers, there were technically no illegal activities so don't belittle this struggle by being naive. Tut-tut, how seriously would you be taken at a hearing about this issue? Use your energy constructively to change the law, not to inflame your opponents by proving that you're a worthy target of ridicule. Don't blame trappers for outmoded laws. Trappers, as silly as your opposition is, you're comments sound like you had too much beer at the monster truck rally. Your arguments are antiquated by say, 100 years, and they are also designed to inflame. To me, it's simple. In our flawed but great country, "We, the people" decide how public lands are used, and what moral standards represent the majority. This does not make the minority right or wrong, it just means that their wishes do not prevail. Posters, please act like adults and express yourselves to create compelling arguments that would be taken seriously in proceedings that might actually affect policy.
    For my part, I feel that the National Park and it's wildlife should be protected even when animals wander beyond it's borders and that our laws should reflect this. I plan to work in a lucid and purposeful fashion to see what I can do to impose a prohibition on trapping. There's so little wilderness left....
    As for the posting of signs, trappers, get yourselves good maps and GPS because it's unfair to dump the burden of posting onto property owners instead of doing what you want and saying sorry later.

  • Victor_S posted at 1:22 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Victor_S Posts: 110

    Ms. Kristina Becker, who is with the G5 Community Plans Liaison Office of the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, is also a Director of the Joshua Tree Chamber of Commerce, so you may also contact her via this link:

  • Victor_S posted at 1:10 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Victor_S Posts: 110

    Contacts at MSMC base in 29:

    Community outreach

    Environmental outreach (?)
    NREA 760-830-5675

  • Radar5711 posted at 12:36 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Radar5711 Posts: 8

    Dude are you serious? Nobody questioned him about any of this. Wake up! Keep eating the granola!

  • Victor_S posted at 12:20 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Victor_S Posts: 110

    Thanks for the fact-checking David, good work, and much appreciated! It does seem to support the allegation that the Marine-trapper lied to the cops, and then lied again, here on the boards. With that sort of track record, I suspect he also lied to his superiors, when they questioned him about it.

    I hope we continue to do more than just comment here...

  • Radar5711 posted at 12:16 pm on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Radar5711 Posts: 8

    I had a whole reply typed out that was going to be put up in place of my first one, but after reading Victor's, I scrapped it. In that draft I specifically addressed how Trapper clearly screwed up by placing a trap on private land. That fact aside, trapping is a legal activity and if you wish it to be otherwise, then there are processes in place to change that. I cannot believe that if there are so few of us and so many of you that it would be that difficult to get the regulations changed. If you don't like it, then you have a moral obligation to do your part to rectify the situation. And while I may have used a little bit of poetic license when referencing the time frames for complete studies, it stands to reason that if the quotas that are currently in place were ineffective in managing the resource, they would be modified.
    I live in North Carolina, so I don't have the close up view of your specific situation, but I know how difficult it can be to change harvest limits for commercial interests from the position of a recreational fisherman. And as you stated, the politicking of special interest groups who want to continue to look out for themselves generally gets them their way if they have enough money to make it happen. But to use this situation and imply that the 3 licensed trappers are a detriment to the local bobcat population is asinine. I don’t believe, and hope you don’t either, that three dudes qualify as a special interest group.
    And as for the Tonka Truck sand box reference, you may not have liked the rules in kindergarten that said you have to share, but you still had to follow them. So until somebody passes a law that says you don’t have to share your bobcats, you have to share them. They are animals, they are not people! Killing a bobcat has no larger moral significance than killing a cow or a pig or a chicken. If you have deep seated childhood issues with that, then there is no hope for you and we just need to end this conversation now. Otherwise, I get that he shouldn’t have put his trap where he did, but until things change he can trap on public land to his heart’s content. Have a nice day![beam]

  • idavidgraficks posted at 9:01 am on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    idavidgraficks Posts: 872

    Radar, I've been to the trapping site that Mr. Hi Desert Trapper used on Tom's property. There is absolutely no doubt that it was private property. The trapper had to go past two or three recently formed earth pads, drive private roads and from the trapping site, you can see the back of the no trespassing sign and the private property sign on the major road servicing Tom's little mountain. This twenty acres is also about 1200 feet west of the Whitefeather Rd. Court-Hospital-County Building-CCC buildings. The trapper knew he was using private property-HE LIED.
    I didn't follow that Tonka Truck Thinking, but there's three licensed trappers in the Morongo Basin-THREE. That number doesn't line up with "Guess what a very large number of your fellow tax payers happen to like a whole bunch?" That's actually one thirty thousandth of the Morongo Basin population. Hunters would be a larger number, but still way less than one percent of the basin population. Try again.
    Scientists? The last JTNP bobcat survey was in 1979.That's a little distant to "almost every year". I can easily tell you in all the environmental battles I've witnessed close up, Politiks overrides good science MOST ALL THE TIME.
    In Hi Desert Trapper's last comment section, he says he didn't catch five bobcats in one night. I called the reporter and asked her, she says when he first made the comment, she asked for clarification and he said a second time, he had trapped five bobcats in one night. He now says he didn't. I believe he lied, one way or the other.
    "Shooting from the hip" with this news event isn't going to pass muster.

  • Radar5711 posted at 7:47 am on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Radar5711 Posts: 8

    Most of what you are saying is reasonable, if not wholly representative of the situation. But to imply that government biologists have been corrupted by the few of us who want to trap in areas like Joshua Tree is absurd. And how you can try to compare PEOPLE being fed to lions to the current discussion about someone trapping ANIMALS is totally beyond me.

    Like I already said, there are a whole bunch of us who hunt and/or trap and we operate within the laws and regulations governing it. And those few individuals who don't get handled because we police our own in cooperation with law enforcement. So until those laws are changed, we are going to continue doing what we do and I hope you will do the same. But, as we hope we are all aware, interfering with a legally placed trap is actually criminal. And we wouldn’t want anyone to breaking the law now would we?

  • Dave Peach posted at 4:06 am on Thu, Feb 7, 2013.

    Dave Peach Posts: 2998

    Like a local economist, scientists and specialists can often be persuaded to come to any conclusion desired, including to support personal but controversial assumptions.

    Hunters indeed help to mitigate some aspects of environmental devastation. However, nature is quite capable of obtaining appropriate balances. As opposed to culling out the weak, entire species are made more vulnerable by targeting and killing the most able and attractive members.

    Hunting and trapping are far from the most effective means of wildlife management; made necessary only by human encroachment. While hunting and trapping can be personally attractive, feeding Christians to lions for the purpose of personal profit or widespread enjoyment was likewise found to intolerable within some societies.

    Joshua Tree and vicinity isn't threatened by an overabundance of bobcats. Conversely, hunters, trappers and their apologists are particular vulnerable to local social mores and ever increasing compatibility and capabilities.

  • Radar5711 posted at 6:54 pm on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    Radar5711 Posts: 8

    Victor S, people like you scare me. You are so blinded by your belief that yours is the only acceptable vision of how this scenario should play out that you won't even listen to the guy who is actually educated in the subject. We get that you like the idea of being able to look at bobcats. There is, as has been explained a few times through this thread, a balance that must be maintained between the habitat and the amount of wildlife at all levels of the food chain it can sustain. The trapping regulations are looked at almost every year by SCIENTISTS whose primary concern is maintaining healthy populations of all the species. Guess what the only means of controlling a predator like a bobcat or a coyote is? Trapping and hunting. Guess what a very large number of your fellow tax payers happen to like a whole bunch? Yep, you figured it out. So guess what you have to do? SHARE! Sorry to break it to you, sunshine, but you don't get to play with all the toys in the sandbox at the same time. And no matter how hard you try to convince all the other people on here who kinda feel like you that the poor bobcats are in grave and imminent danger, it just ain't true. Hi Desert Trapper is just taking his turn with the Tonka bull dozer and when he's done, you can have it back.

    Thank you HiDezBiologist for your educated and well-spoken input and thank you Hi Desert Cat for caring and not losing your composure. Keep looking and you will see a cat. I've been hunting for almost 30 years and only seen two.

  • HiDezBiologist posted at 4:29 pm on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    HiDezBiologist Posts: 3

    I apologize if that sounded like rhetoric. You are right, the taxpayer, among others concerned for wildlife contribute principally to conservation of wildlife. I also agree that wildlife laws need to be reviewed frequently to reflect current knowledge of populations and impacts (like climate change and other development) that effect them.

    The rodent paper that Clark pointed out documented the devastating effects that happen during droughts on the Joshua tree. Rodents eat parts of the Joshua tree to survive sometimes killing the tree. Predator-prey relationships, if I recall, was not part of the study. That said, it can be imagined. Finding the balance to keep these relationships intact should be a goal.

  • Victor_S posted at 12:21 pm on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    Victor_S Posts: 110

    @HiDezBiologist: Your rhetoric makes it sound like trappers are the main financial supporters of wildlife - they simply aren't. We the taxpayers are the main supporters of wildlife, through our taxes, among other things.

    Furthermore, I highly doubt that 19th century hunting and trapping laws make sense in today's wildlife areas. They make as much sense as bayonets in today's Marines. In the19th century, predators were simply varmints. Now they're recognized as not only a serious element of the ecosystem, but as main attractions for the tourist trade. The same argument to support elephants as eco-tourist attractions in Africa holds true for exotic, rarely seen animals in the JT park area, such as bobcats.

    As Chris Clarke pointed out on his blog: local rodents kill Joshua trees during droughts by gnawing around their base, looking for moisture. You kill of their predators, and you end up killing the Joshua trees too, which are already under stress from development and global warming.

    Nope, the laws need changing now. We need bobcats a lot more than we need trappers.

  • mojavegreen posted at 11:47 am on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    mojavegreen Posts: 8

    Blue states, red states, possibly even orange, green, indigo, … . Europe and other places made many countries out of the concept – still causing an uproar as we speak. Our grandparents might recall the debate over whether women should have the privilege of voting -- something like that still being discussed.

    Thanks to a pragmatic and sportsmanlike attitude, derived largely from the cricket fields of merry old England, we are so far mostly content to live with what 50% plus of the population decides – thank goodness indeed!

    There are those who apparently crave hunting, trapping, etc. in their very bones. There are clearly others who much prefer the opposite. And so forth for however it may ultimately turn out as the human theater goes on.

  • Hi Desert Cat posted at 10:45 am on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    Hi Desert Cat Posts: 15

    No inference of the population of bobcats by personal observation was intended. The statement was intended to clarify I, for one, am not feeding bobcats on my property.

  • HiDezBiologist posted at 10:43 am on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    HiDezBiologist Posts: 3

    I also encourage everyone who posted here to read up on the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. Ethics outlined by early conservationists still hold today.

    There are many that want to demonize hunters and hunting. However, it well known that hunters are some of our strongest conservationists of wildlife and natural areas. Funds from Pittman-Robinson Act have funded countless studies on plants and wildlife which has advanced our understanding of wildlife and populations significantly.

    This issue requires further study. If hunting and trapping is having an effect on the population of bobcats, then it should be changed or amended so that the negative effects are eliminated or minimized. If there is no effect, or the take is sustainable, then it shouldn't be changed.

    Emotions will never be able to rule this issue. Perhaps science can guide it.

  • HiDezBiologist posted at 10:13 am on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    HiDezBiologist Posts: 3

    A sighting of a bobcat is rare. However, they are not rare animals. They are elusive creatures that do not want to be seen.

    Trying to make inferences about the population of bobcats with personal observation is inappropriate. Only careful study of the animal through survey will give you an idea of the population.

    I suggest that if people want change, do it in a pragmatic way. Write letters to politicians suggesting change. Get away from the "hunters are horrible, murderous people" platform and people may actually listen to you and take you seriously. A no-limit take of animals by way of trapping does seem antiquated and leaves an opening for exploitation.

  • Hi Desert Cat posted at 9:41 am on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    Hi Desert Cat Posts: 15

    Good Morning!

    Dear Mr Trapper,

    Firstly, thank you for releasing the nursing mothers.

    Secondly, I believe anyone here with a functioning brain is fully aware that habitat destruction and human encroachment are the main causes of species decline.

    Thirdly, emotion and logic are not mutually exclusive. I pity the person who has lost the ability to feel joy, grief, passion and all the rest of them.

    Fourthly, I have not seen 1 bobcat since moving here in June of last year. Not one. (Not even any of the dead ones you mentioned who died of old age.)

  • Victor_S posted at 9:11 am on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    Victor_S Posts: 110

    Furthermore @HiDesertTrapper:

    Lots of people already DO pay for the chance of seeing rare wildlife: They pay fees to enter the Park, they pay for places to stay in town, and they pay for gas and food while they're here. I'm not even including the taxes we all pay (state AND federal) to maintain the Park, roads, free campgrounds, BLM, etc.

    The vast majority of these people are not hunters, and what YOU are doing, brother, is PRIVATIZING the public good we ALL subsidized, to make another payment on your jeep or tattoo. YOU are killing a SUBSIDIZED piece of wildlife, and removing it from the tourist economy that supports the area.

    By the way, I am a crack shot with a rifle myself, but I just plink a bunch cans, not the wildlife around my shack.

    Peace out.

  • Victor_S posted at 9:04 am on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    Victor_S Posts: 110

    Chris Clarke's article on desert bobcats from his blog, "Coyote Crossing":

    He wrote in in response to this article and our comments.

  • Victor_S posted at 8:51 am on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    Victor_S Posts: 110

    @Hi Desert Trapper:

    Obviously, your bias in this is to defend your own actions.

    The fact is, the state can allocate funds any way they wish. There's NO reason hunters must be made fiduciary "supporters" of wildlife, if in fact they even are.

    Maybe you forgot how the CA state parks dep't. hid tens of millions of dollars of their slush fund from the general fund last year. I didn't. It was in all the papers in case you missed it. And the state isn't broke anymore, so YES there's plenty of room to remove hunters from the equation here.

    Trust me, you are talking to a bunch or seasoned, organized activists here. You can post whatever you want, but you aren't going to control our response off-line.

  • Victor_S posted at 8:44 am on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    Victor_S Posts: 110

    Registering for licenses is fine, but what really needs changing is the law.

    The fact is, the bobcat population dos NOT need thinning, period. Bobcats are NOT a nuisance, they don't take livestock, etc.

    Most importantly, what do you think happens to the thousands of rodents that get left to breed when each bobcat gets killed? Not only are there more mice and rats, but there are more snakes. Now, which one of these two would you rather have hunting mice on the trail near your house: bobcats, or Mojave Green rattlers?

  • Hi Desert Trapper posted at 8:21 am on Wed, Feb 6, 2013.

    Hi Desert Trapper Posts: 11

    This response is not for the people who use emotion and not logic. It is for all of the people who use logic to decide things.

    The article is mistaken on the number of bobcats harvested in one night, I did not catch 5 in one night. I wish.

    Educate yourselves:

    There is a statewide limit. Trappers and hunters have not approached it in 30+ years.

    Habitat loss is the number one cause for decreases in all wild populations. Regulated trapping and hunting provides 99% of the money to manage wildlife via license fees and excise taxes on our equipment. Don't take this souless murderers word for it, ask the DFG who funds them in this (and every other) state.

    Lets institute a wildlife watchers license so the people who enjoy looking at wildlife can pay a share to manage the wildlife they enjoy viewing.

    You cannot "Stockpile" animals. There is a carrying capacity, when you exceed it mother nature kills the bobcats. She uses two methods, disease and starvation. If you have ever seen an animal die from distemper you know it's not pretty. Starvation is equally cruel. But it's ok with you all to let them starve.

    Science has proven that when you take predators(Coyotes and Bobcats) the increased food for the remaining animals enables the females to have more young. So by taking a few cats you all get to see more kittens. Your welcome.

    For all those who think I caught "your" bobcat that you are (illegally) feeding by your house, in the fall there is this thing called dispersal, it's when momma kicks out the 16 month old cats she has been raising for the last year plus. Additionally in late Jan early Feb the breeding season begins and the toms roam up to 60 miles to find a mate.

    My soul is just fine and my daughters enjoy the time spent together on the trapline. They know where the hamburger they are eating for dinner came from. They realize that ham and eggs for breakfast is all in a days work for a chicken but a lifetime commitment for the pig.

    When a female is trapped I check to see if she is, or has been nursing. If she has, she is released.

    Take care.

  • Hi Desert Cat posted at 11:57 pm on Tue, Feb 5, 2013.

    Hi Desert Cat Posts: 15

    I apologize for yet another post but there is one more thing I must say. While pawing through the www the last few days, I have come upon multiple warnings from various sites advising people NOT to post photos of "their" wildlife in their yard on social media or blogs. Apparently, that is becoming a great way for the true apex predator to find prey. Maybe you all already know that. I didn't.

  • Hi Desert Cat posted at 9:52 pm on Tue, Feb 5, 2013.

    Hi Desert Cat Posts: 15

    And what becomes of the kittens when the mothers are trapped? It makes me want to hurl up a fur ball.

  • Hi Desert Cat posted at 9:37 pm on Tue, Feb 5, 2013.

    Hi Desert Cat Posts: 15

    There are several states currently considering removing the bobcat from protected status. The people who are fighting against such a move do not seem to be getting much support, I.e. signatures, etc.

    Perhaps we can help to usher in a paradigm shift that will change that while saving our own bobcats.

    Sadly, bobcats do not breed well in captivity so when they are gone in the wild, that will be it.

    Lions, tigers, cheetahs and leopards may be extinct in 20 years. In the last 50 years, leopard populations have gone from 750,000 to 50,000. So the fact that there are a presumed 725,000 to 1.02 million bobcats left in the world doesn't make me sleep any better. Especially when there are "no limits."

    I hope this goes beyond viral. Way, way beyond.

  • mojavegreen posted at 11:37 am on Tue, Feb 5, 2013.

    mojavegreen Posts: 8

    Looking like there may be a potential paradigm shift here and there.

    We shoot for the moon, or Mars, or even Alpha Centauri!

  • idavidgraficks posted at 7:38 pm on Mon, Feb 4, 2013.

    idavidgraficks Posts: 872

    JTHugger, I would characterize it more as outrage. If this trespass had been on anybody else's 20 acres, the sheriff's would have said return the trap, end of story. This "bobcat trap event" had several factors that bring it to the front. It was OBVIOUSLY on private property. The trapper is lying in saying he didn't know it was private property. There were no trespassing signs and private property signs, There's several roads, soil formations, a small tractor with a perimeter fence all shouting PRIVATE PROPERTY. This trap was trying to catch a bobcat who's base was the Joshua Tree National Park less than a mile away. The "bait" is a small very smelly scented thing with a sprinkle of feathers. This is drawing a bobcat into the trap in the cold lean months of winter. It may be "legal", but it's quite slime-y.
    There is also that 1872 mining law that has allowed the rape and plunder of our natural resources at the private profit of Multi-National Corporations. It's hard to change these laws when there's lots of money involved. That 25 mile "buffer" will never be. You'd be lucky to get five miles distance from National (and possibly State) Parks, it'd be pushing it to get ten miles buffer.
    The fact that the Trapper has an assistant tells you he's doing it for the money. This is literally "blood money" and this Trapper admittedly has a taste for blood. Wars are also "legal", but that doesn't make it right. This story is getting bigger than just this Basin.

  • JoshuaTreeHugger posted at 1:34 pm on Mon, Feb 4, 2013.

    JoshuaTreeHugger Posts: 2

    People, I feel your passion on this topic as I too am saddened and feel something needs to be done by next hunting season.
    I must say, I do not approve of all the "hate" comments. The trapping and hunting of our treasured animals is legal and has been going on for years. It is only now that attention has been brought to the forefront when the paper brought it to our attention via Mr. O'Key. (thankfully). The only thing the Marine is guilty of in the eyes of the law is trespassing.

    Maybe all the energy being spent on the hate could be better spent figuring out how we change the law that no trapping or hunting should be allowed anywhere within a 25 mile boundary of any National Park Period! Until these laws are changed by fish and game it will continue period because some people don't get it when it comes to killing and torturing animals. Unless you are eating your kill to feed your family because there is No other choice, there is no reason or excuse. period.

    Time to change the Law!

  • mojavegreen posted at 12:51 pm on Mon, Feb 4, 2013.

    mojavegreen Posts: 8

    Burke was certainly correct and his words must always be in our recall.

    Probably there is wisdom to be known regarding those deeds that may not be strictly evil as is commonly understood, but nevertheless entirely illegitimate and wrongful.

  • Hi Desert Cat posted at 9:10 am on Mon, Feb 4, 2013.

    Hi Desert Cat Posts: 15

    Hmmmmmmmm. Be sure to read the comments.

  • Hi Desert Cat posted at 11:17 pm on Sun, Feb 3, 2013.

    Hi Desert Cat Posts: 15

    So it's not enough that China slaughters countless dogs, cats and rabbits, many skinned alive, for their fur which is then sold as everything from fashion accessories to pet toys.

    And even though the importation of dog and cat fur was outlawed in the Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000, it still happens.

    Must we accept the killing of the magnificent bobcat in our own backyard so people can adorn themselves in fur? Must we kill every living thing on the planet, including each other?

    The words of Edmund Burke reverberate down through the ages.

    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

  • Hi Desert Cat posted at 9:11 pm on Sun, Feb 3, 2013.

    Hi Desert Cat Posts: 15

    The resident trapping license fee is $111.50.
    But it's a moot point unless everyone can take and pass the exam. It's a great idea otherwise.

    I've roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
    To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
    And all around me a voice was sounding:
    This land was made for you and me.

    Never give up. Never surrender.

  • Hi Desert Cat posted at 8:29 pm on Sun, Feb 3, 2013.

    Hi Desert Cat Posts: 15

    Here's the link to the 185 page Trapping License Examination Reference Guide.

  • Hi Desert Cat posted at 8:25 pm on Sun, Feb 3, 2013.

    Hi Desert Cat Posts: 15

    Here's the link to the application.
    "If you are applying for your first trapping license, you will be required to take and pass a supervised written trapping examination. The study materials needed to successfully take the exam are located online at The exam is designed to test your knowledge of the California laws and regulations pertaining to trapping and natural history of California furbearing and nongame mammal species authorized to trap. When you are ready to take the exam, contact the Department of Fish and Game office listed below for an appointment. YOU MUST TAKE A COMPLETED TRAPPING LICENSE APPLICATION WITH YOU TO THE EXAMINATION.
    Upon passing the examination, mail the completed trapping license application, a legible copy of your identification and the appropriate license fee to the Department of Fish and Game, License and Revenue Branch, 1740 N. Market Blvd., Sacramento, California 95834."

  • Mr America posted at 6:11 pm on Sun, Feb 3, 2013.

    Mr America Posts: 13
    Sick news

  • capmotion posted at 4:43 pm on Sun, Feb 3, 2013.

    capmotion Posts: 17

    I like the idea of non-hunters/non-killers applying for the permits to use them up - if anyone knows the procedure and address for doing such, please post here. [And if anyone knows of the location of any traps, please also post that information here - some might want to nip the obscenity in the bud, so to speak.]

  • Hi Desert Cat posted at 12:36 pm on Sun, Feb 3, 2013.

    Hi Desert Cat Posts: 15

    Upon wading through numerous trapping forums to find the elusive info on trapping in California, I have learned that there appears to be a written examination of 80 questions with a passing rate of 80% required in order to obtain a trapping license. Does anyone know if this is true? And does anyone know how many licenses/permits are issued each season? It seems many gov links are not operative at the moment.

  • White Eagle posted at 11:00 am on Sun, Feb 3, 2013.

    White Eagle Posts: 7

    You can also contact the 29 Palms Marine Corps Base community relations people at this email address: "" - Found on this web page:

    Let them know although, technically, it's still legal for the moment, local Marines should not be participating in the destruction of our local wildlife. They themselves have a program design to prevent this activity on the federal reservation and they should be preventing their Marines from doing the same in the surrounding communities.

  • White Eagle posted at 10:25 am on Sun, Feb 3, 2013.

    White Eagle Posts: 7

    Trappers are awesome animals. It would be a shame if someone trapped and dispatched them. Probably wouldn't fetch much at the North American Fur Auction though...

  • desert lily posted at 9:32 am on Sun, Feb 3, 2013.

    desert lily Posts: 233

    Desert Defender, provide a link and I will spend the money and buy a permit for everyone I know for a present.

  • desertgal posted at 8:48 am on Sun, Feb 3, 2013.

    desertgal Posts: 78

    Desert Trapper had maybe better lay low for a while. or better still ask for deployment or a transfer to another base. Since this subject has gone viral, there are certain individuals speaking plainly that they don't intend to go quietly in a face to face encounter. It's been said, that he's been identified. How come we don't have a name yet? How come we don't know what the base commander has done make sure the problem is permanently ended.

  • Branson Hunter posted at 5:27 am on Sun, Feb 3, 2013.

    Branson Hunter Posts: 962

    Again, here is the info to contact the base about Marines destroying wildlife and disrupting the balance of nature at the boundaries of the National Park:

    Please call to file a complaint against him, mention his comments posted to this website, and help reveal his true identity;
    29 Palms Marine Corps Combat Center
    Community Relations 760-830-6213

    Don't forget to mention the outcry from the community and the STAR's comments.

    Thank you Hyanna for the information.

  • desert defender posted at 11:44 pm on Sat, Feb 2, 2013.

    desert defender Posts: 5

    Besides phoning our gov reps and the Marine Community relations, the best legal recourse I can think of is for as many NON hunters to apply for a hunting/trapping license so as to squeeze out the killers who obviously do not respect nor understand our desert wildlife. With most or all the licenses going to us non hunters, there is nothing legal that can be done.
    I encourage you to all apply today. We've got 290 days before the next genocide.

  • Hi Desert Cat posted at 12:43 pm on Sat, Feb 2, 2013.

    Hi Desert Cat Posts: 15

    It is wonderful to see the community take action on this abhorrent matter. Let us continue to work together to stop the bobcat from going the way of the passenger pigeon.

  • idavidgraficks posted at 8:14 am on Sat, Feb 2, 2013.

    idavidgraficks Posts: 872

    There are omissions to this story, besides the name of the Marine Trapper. He has an assistant. My guess would be the assistant is compensated one way or the other. There was also no attempt by the Trapper to determine if Tom's twenty acres were "private or not". The main road going West off of Rice Rd to the small mountain of boulders has a chained entrance with a "no trespassing sign" attached and right behind that, a self standing sign that says "private property". There's two other little roads that the trapper used. This Trapper will only admit to what he's been caught at. With thirty traps out there for more than two months during the lean winter months, we can guess with a harvest "more than expected" would result in at least three dozen cats. Only the trapper and his assistant would know for sure and they ain't telling.

  • Victor_S posted at 1:33 am on Sat, Feb 2, 2013.

    Victor_S Posts: 110

    I highly doubt an active Marine would be able to leave base to check his traps once a day. If he does, I doubt his superiors know, or gave leave. But they'll know now, and I doubt they'll allow it in the future.

    I doubt he'll be trapping in the area again after this. Thank goodness.

    I'm writing my legislators.

  • White Eagle posted at 10:06 pm on Fri, Feb 1, 2013.

    White Eagle Posts: 7

    Hey, Harley Upton! It's been a while. You should drop by the next time you're in Whiteriver. [whistling]

  • desertdestiny posted at 8:10 pm on Fri, Feb 1, 2013.

    desertdestiny Posts: 17

    Trapper, I hope by now you're superiors have informed you that your bobcat trapping activities, however legal (now) they may be, do not reflect well on the Marine Corps' community image. I also hope that their admonishment came with perhaps a bit of EMI lest you forget. Now that you're season is done and you can no longer legally set your traps, you'll have some time to reflect upon your "hobby" and hopefully, you'll put your energy towards more environmentally productive pursuits. Since you seem to enjoy being out in the desert, perhaps you could volunteer at JTNP to do something useful, like eradicating the invasive mustard plant, or the annual bird count, or simply enjoying the beauty that is our local desert. My greatest hope is that you learn how much this community loves our Marines as much as they love the desert that surrounds us and everything that lives and thrives within it's borders. It may be a just a paycheck to you, but it's our home. And we will defend it as proudly as you do our Country.

  • rattler posted at 1:20 pm on Fri, Feb 1, 2013.

    rattler Posts: 3

    Make no mistake what the trapper was doing (trapping season is over) is legal. Steve Brown wrote an excellent article in the December Sun Runner on just this topic but we didn’t have the same “hue and cry”, why because it didn’t seem possible that this could actually happen in our community where most value our views, wildlife and tourism. We now have that proof.
    I object to the burden of proof of private property being on the home owner. When a permit is obtained the trapper/hunter should have to obtain a map and clearly understand where trapping/hunting is allowed. With current phone maps, GIS information and detailed local maps no one should be allowed the excuse that they can’t read a map and if they can’t they shouldn’t be given a permit.
    Allowing trapping with no limit invites total annihilation of a species in a particular area, there should be a limit. Individuals maybe “reasonable” but twenty individuals completely change the conversation.
    Joshua Tree National Park is a fragile refuge in our desert for wildlife, allowing trapping/hunting near the park or within wildlife corridors adjacent to the Park should be illegal.
    Instead of spending the passion on hating the trapper that passion should go into letters and phone calls to Fish & Wildlife, our local representatives, the Joshua Tree National Park, and the Marine Base.
    We need to change this before next October!

  • capmotion posted at 9:47 am on Fri, Feb 1, 2013.

    capmotion Posts: 17

    This debate highlights the distinction between what is lawful and what is right. It is lawful to scream at your wife, spank [within reason] your kids, get drunk every night in your home, and spit on the sidewalk, but enlightened people understand such things are plainly wrong. There are certain fundamental elements of human dignity that are supposed to distinguish us from the orangutan, but that is decreasingly the case in many arenas, and the fact that "trapper" can so soberly rationalize his evil in this matter shows that some of us have not come as far from the caves as we would like to believe. To kill beautiful creatures so people can don their magnificant hides is more beastly than the beast thus desecrated. As a conservative, I generally am not in favor of even more laws coming down from Sacramento and D.C. than already invade our liberties, but this is one area that needs to be addressed, swiftly and fiercely. I had recently asked my wife why I had not seen any bobcats, and to find out it is partially because of this cretin performing his malevolent "hobby" is disgusting.

  • highlandsresident posted at 9:17 am on Fri, Feb 1, 2013.

    highlandsresident Posts: 9

    I was appalled when I read about the Marine trapper killing bobcats and registered w/Hi-Dersert Star today to respond. I will also call community relations at the Marine base to complain and urge all who love our desert and her wildlife to do the same. I am on the edge of the National Park because I love the quiet and the wildlife. I provide a water basin for the animals. I see the bobcats every couple of days, a mother and two youngsters recently. I was also disgusted by the comment by the fish and game employee, who should be protecting our national resources and wildlife, that he "felt for the trapper". That marine is not unemployed and hard up and has no excuse for wanton killing. He says they're "awesome animals" before dispatching them with a rifle? As many as five in one day? What a disgusting individual. I will inform all my neighbors to look for traps and for this killer in the desert.

  • Dave Peach posted at 5:20 am on Fri, Feb 1, 2013.

    Dave Peach Posts: 2998

    The trapper has been identified, his image will become circulated, his superiors will be contacted, as will theirs if required, and he will soon realize what it feels like to be targeted for removal.

  • HyannaCross posted at 4:19 am on Fri, Feb 1, 2013.

    HyannaCross Posts: 23

    I hope Hi Desert Trapper is an active Marine paid with taxpayer dollars. It will be easier to identify and stop him. His job is not to violate and antagonize our local wildlife and citizens of our Hi-Desert Community.
    This cowardly, vulgar Marine should be reprimanded and relieved of duty by his base commander for conduct and behavior unbecoming a Marine.
    I am sure his superior officers would appreciate knowing how he spends his off-duty time.
    Please call to file a complaint against him, mention his comments posted to this website, and help reveal his true identity;
    29 Palms Marine Corps Combat Center
    Community Relations 760-830-6213

    If our unified effort accomplishes even one obnoxious bobcat hunter defeated it will be a good start.

  • Mr America posted at 10:52 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    Mr America Posts: 13

    I still think hunting bobcats sucks.
    You are proof more aid is needed for mentally ill

  • harleycpl posted at 10:23 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    harleycpl Posts: 122

    Hey trapper
    you have gotten our local haters hotter then a popcorn fart.... [beam] I love it, I bet they are all blowing smoke out of their ears..... roflmao... 56 million dead babies and they say nothing but one or two dead cats and they crawl out of their skin with rage........... the irony....... thanks again trapper for getting the haters group so angry....... their anger is laughable...

  • sodajerk posted at 7:44 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    sodajerk Posts: 1

    this law dates from the days when bobcats were so numerous as to be considered varmint, a threat to farm animals and pets, and when the level of development in the desert was fraction of what it is today. simply put, it's outdated and needs to be changed. today the areas where hi desert trapper sets his traps are residential areas or very close to them and although he seems to think he's justified because it's legal, his practice is clearly out of step with the community in which he practices his hobby. and just because the law hasn't caught up with the contemporary situation doesn't mean it's right. trapping bobcats to sell the pelts to rich divas in china and russia is not why the law exists, and the hi desert trapper is hiding behind the law to justify what is an illegitimate practice. if the trapping of bobcats served a legitimate purpose (they are not so plentiful as to need "pruning") or bobcats and their habitat were as plentiful as they used to be, I'd have no problem with it. as it stands, JTNP provides an island where they can thrive, but that's a testament to the cats' hardiness, not a reason to kill them. and this island survives while their habitat elsewhere continues to shrink. it's not a surprise the law hasn't changed or that the guy from the dept of fish and wildlife "feels sorry" for hunters, just check the sacramento bee's excellent series on the federal dept of wildlife services to see how wrongheaded the govt management of "varmint" can get. tom o'key's property is adjacent to mine, and next year I will trip and/or remove any traps I find, and release any cats in them. this may be illegal and desertrapper is welcome to call the sheriff, but I consider it an act of civil disobedience for what is a outdated law that should have been changed years ago. and even if hi desert trapper is a "responsible" trapper and the few existing trappers' effect on bobcats is minimal, this controversy has served as marketing for all the local knuckleheads who, when they hear about pelts going for up to $1700 each, next season might start doing some real damage to the population.

  • mojavegreen posted at 5:14 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    mojavegreen Posts: 8

    However harsh, the facts of history must be remembered. For only that reason we recall raging ‘manifest destiny,’ slavery, lynchings, wanton slaughter of both human and animal species (e.g. “Buffalo Bill”). Now we have voter rights (including women in 1920 – someone remember that??), preservation of endangered species and national parks – how about Central Park in New York, still not paved and developed. Times they have been ‘a-changing’ -- thanks to the will of the majority of the people in what is indeed a democratic republic, albeit probably not always according to what everyone might prefer at any given time.

    This community appears overwhelmingly opposed to trapping of bobcats. I moreover hear that many want to change the wild-west, Tombstone rule of anyone can come onto your property unless you essentially stand guard.

    In which case it is clearly again time for citizens to take action.

  • idavidgraficks posted at 4:35 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    idavidgraficks Posts: 872

    Hi Desert Trapper, I know a Mrs. Doolittle and you sir, are not a Dr. Doolittle. In fact, if the animals were able to pick up some western lingo, they'd be cursing a blue streak at a White man like you. Like the deer of different landscapes elsewhere, when a grazing-harvesting animal has fewer controls, they over-propagate and graze and harvest more so there's even less for the individual rabbit, pack rat and antelope squirrel. You seem to be falling under that 19th century notion that killing the top predator animals somehow improves things-IT DOESN'T.
    You have become an agent for the interests across the seas to harvest US Public property for self profit.

  • parabellum posted at 3:46 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    parabellum Posts: 2

    Here kitty kitty, I left a lil snack for you...POW POW! Heh!

  • Hi Desert Trapper posted at 3:14 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    Hi Desert Trapper Posts: 11

    OK Stud, I'll play.

    Living in harmony with nature, you mean like living in the desert and trucking/piping in your water/food to survive.... Like that? In order for anything to survive in nature something else has to die. The rabbits, pack rats and antelope ground squirrels thank me, that's good enough for me. As far as the Native Americans living in harmony with nature, you mean stampeding buffalo off a cliff and killing hundreds to take the meat of a small percentage? Or maybe using a forest fire to drive the animals. Yeah I'm sure that works well.

    I'm a greedy capitalist, I'm just trying to recover some of the money you send to China when you shop at Walmart and Dollar General.

    For those wondering why I withheld my name, peruse these comments below.

    You won't change my mind and I won't change yours. It's great to live in the land of the free...

    Take care you crazy kids.

  • Mr America posted at 8:45 am on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    Mr America Posts: 13

    Good article and if I hear one more "Marine" shoot his stupid and moronic mouth off like this "Desert Trapper" did, I will croak!!!
    He's typical of one who is estranged from Nature. So much so that he thinks the human race can live without nature. A lot of this came about with the Judeo-Christian ideologies of long ago. He needs to take a few lessons from the Native Americans on how to live in harmony with nature.
    But then, his real motive for trapping Bobcats and their hides is quick money (and that, of course, he gets from foreign countries). He obviously likes shooting animals as well. Cheap thrills!!
    I'm reading some essays on Ecopsychology and people of his ilk are classic examples of why the state of the world is what it is.

  • desertdestiny posted at 8:35 pm on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    desertdestiny Posts: 17

    My only hope here is that awareness has been raised about current trapping laws and ongoing trapping practices. I intend to contact whomever may have the power to change them. I've lived in this desert for probably more years than the Trapper has been alive, and I cherish everything that contributes to the majesty, complexity, and amazement this environment has to offer. To Trapper: You're a Marine sworn to protect our Country. I thank you for your service. I, too, have served my Country and worked side by side with Marines. I've witnessed first hand their courage and honor. And now I wonder why you choose to make a living in such a cowardly way. Killing defenseless animals for the vanity of foreigners hardly seems worthy of a Marine's heart. You disappoint me, Trapper.

  • desertgal posted at 8:06 pm on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    desertgal Posts: 78

    Please post information on who to contact in the effort to put this person and any others like him out of business. Our two young bobcats disappeared I guess we know why. killing for profit.....despicable!!!

  • Branson Hunter posted at 7:27 pm on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    Branson Hunter Posts: 962

    I vote for open season on chicken little trappers that trap bobcats. Trappers wouldn't be worth very much. They're at the bottom of the food chain.

  • mojavegreen posted at 6:18 pm on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    mojavegreen Posts: 8

    Hopefully, humankind is now ready to move from imposing upon (mother) nature to creating along with nature. Yes, it’s a mother’s task to sacrifice and provide for her offspring, but as we know, the time comes to no longer feed as before.

    From Thomas Edison to Steve Jobs, we have learned how to greatly improve the survival and benefit of humanity well beyond what was possible in our hunting and gathering phase, while allowing the opportunity to more fully appreciate the magnificence of the parent of us all and contribute less her disfigurement.

    Yes, there is still some distance to go in regard to better use of resources, but there is little doubt about the direction we must take to wean ourselves from the nursery we were born into.

    From a most practical standpoint, and we are ultimately very practical creatures after all (and PETA notwithstanding, perhaps), if the need is fish, fowl, or game, these can be made available by cultivation if absolutely necessary, along with appropriate zoological euthanasia. Very likely the price of farm-raised animal pelts will be much less lucrative, which should be food for thought, as it were, in what we are discussing.

  • desertdestiny posted at 4:55 pm on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    desertdestiny Posts: 17

    Bless you David and Activist. I look forward to the awakening beast. Please let me and others know how we can help support your efforts. These trapping laws are nothing short of shameful. I'm not a huge PETA fan, but they do have clout. Trapper, you have no idea what your disregard for our backyard is about to cost you and other like you.

  • Armchair Activist posted at 4:03 pm on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    Armchair Activist Posts: 5

    Hi Desert Trapper:

    I would like to thank you for bringing this overwhelmingly dated CA trapping regulation allowing a NO LIMIT for trapping bobcat kills in a single season by a single trapper to my attention with other concerned community members. By doing so, you have awakened the beast—meaning that I, with my very concerned, organized citizenry in Morongo Valley and elsewhere, will use our very focused and effective efforts in organizing a movement to not only stop you personally from profiting from a wildlife resource that belongs to all us, but others just like you.
    We will take this issue to the Fish & Wildlife Commission and you’ll be surprised what you’ll come up against in the future. This greedy cottage industry you are running will be stopped either through angry complaints to your base commander or eventually through a change in the law.

    In closing, I would like to suggest that you learn to use a San Bernardino plat map to figure out where private property boundaries lie in our area! Your trap set on Tom O’Key’s land is in an area of predominately private holdings east and west of White Feather. I know you know this! You ignored our rights as property owners and chose to put your traps on our properties regardless. Even if signs are not posted you know better! Besides, people like yourself and other rogue off-roaders are constantly REMOVING no trespass signs! You may want to be careful next time you chose to trespass here in Joshua Tree because some of the Sierra Clubbers are in addition, (surprise!) gun owners.

  • idavidgraficks posted at 3:10 pm on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    idavidgraficks Posts: 872

    OK Hi Desert Hunter, Now you're quoting Corporate Lobbyists for Alcohol, Tobacco and Fast Food as to who the Sierra Club is? Do you want me to go to PETA and find out what they think of Trappers? You can be quickly aligned with Serial Murders if we go down that path. I corrected you on your generic comment about the "conservationists" being created before the "nowadays" environmental movement. You were wrong. Since you are the trapper who set the trap on Tom's land, you should have noticed the No trespassing signs and the "cultivated look' of the property. The only thing Tom didn't have was the "engraved invitation sign with phone number". It's simple, most anyone with common sense knows that's private land, including you. Since you seem all hot shot with the regs, you should more importantly not trap on private property. I would be curious how many private property give permission for the wildlife to be trapped and killed on their property. From all indications, I don't think "you're walking the talk". You didn't even want the Reporter to disclose your name.

  • Hi Desert Trapper posted at 2:08 pm on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    Hi Desert Trapper Posts: 11

    The Sierra Club: "Once dedicated to conserving wilderness for future human enjoyment, the Sierra Club has become an anti-growth, anti-technology group that puts its utopian environmentalist vision before the well being of humans."

    I wonder is we would be allowed to rock climb, hike or drive through JTNP if they were in charge of it?

    Yes I am the trapper in the article. No I did not see a single "Posted/No Trespassing" sign, if I had I would have gone elsewhere. There are plenty of places to find bobcats in the high desert.

    I wish more people would post the boundaries of their land. Preferably with an "Access by Written Permission Only" sign, with contact info so people could ask permission.

    If you have private property and want to keep people off it you can post all the sides of the property, fence the property, or cultivate it. One of those three criteria have to be met to charge someone with trespass.

    I have nothing to hide from anyone at JTNP, I invite the LE Rangers to get intouch with me so that they can be educated on what to look for to catch anyone illegally trapping in the park. This invitation is extended to anyone in law enforcement that would like to be educated on this.

    If you suspect something is illegal, call the Ca Dept of Fish and Game at 888-334-2258. I reccomend you not touch the trap as the warden has a better chance of catching the individual if the trap has not been disturbed.

  • idavidgraficks posted at 12:54 pm on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    idavidgraficks Posts: 872

    Hi Desert Trapper,
    Don't try and give me history lessons. A decade before Teddy Roosevelt became President of the United States (1901), there was the Sierra Club, founded by John Muir who was born two decades before Mr. Teddy. (John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt did great things in tandem, but it was John Muir that got things started). By the way, my High School was John Muir in Pasadena. On the Beaver issue, the trappers pretty much ran out of beavers before they realized they better do something. The beavers created vast numbers of small wetlands and meadows that are not used for agriculture but wildlife. You're just trying to deflect the damage done by the trappers.
    I've dealt with some supposedly "enlightened hunters and trappers" and they aren't too bright. They don't even know or acknowledge wildlife linkages. As far as trappers being employed to capture "problem animals", they are problem animals first thru engagement with man. The animals being caught in your traps are not problem animals. In regards to this "highly regulated" situation. I don't know if you're the trapper in this story, but the only reason this isn't being prosecuted by the Sheriffs is Tom didn't have NO TRESPASSING signs posted ON THE OTHER THREE SIDES OF HIS PROPERTY. There are No Trespassing signs on the Rice road of access, the road the trapper used to go past and position his trap. There's also an area with a perimeter of cyclone fence and a tractor (not something that's usually on public land). So whoever this trapper was, He wasn't very bright in figuring out that this was private land or he just thought he would get away with it?
    Bobcats that reside in Joshua Tree National Park will often "cross that Park boundary" (hence my can't read comment) to surrounding lands in searching for food and water. The Trapper is putting traps adjacent to the JTNP boundaries often on private land in an attempt to harvest bobcat skins for profit. I'm pretty sure the bobcat's body (when alive) is more useful to the bobcat than the trapper who utilizes every little part for profit. How many bobcat skulls does a school need?
    I don't have time to chase down all your righteous reasons for the noble career of Trapper-Killer-Seller, maybe later.

  • Hi Desert Trapper posted at 12:05 pm on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    Hi Desert Trapper Posts: 11

    Trapping is far from unregulated now. In fact it is highly regulated, especially in California. There have been more wetlands lost to development and agriculture than were lost because we trapped beaver. Beaver are far from extinct. In a lot of places there is no season on them if you are trapping on your own property because they are so prolific. Did you know that the Fish and Wildlife Service employs trappers to trap problem animals? Why pay a government worker to do something that people pay to be allowed to do? Oh, I know, because wildlife DO cause problems through overpopulation. Hunters and trappers do it for free. You're welcome Taxpayers.

    Why would a trapper want to kill every animal, it would put them out of business.

    Who has paid more for conservation than U.S. Sportsmen through the Pittman Roberts Act. We pay an excise tax on most of our outdoor gear and all of our ammunition. Fortunately it does not go into entitlements, it can only be used for conservation/wildlife habitat.

    Hunters/Trappers are America's conservationists. Long before the current crop of enviromentalists were born, a hunter began the conservation of wild places. His name was Theodore Roosevelt. During his presidency,Theodore Roosevelt protected approximately 230,000,000 acres of public land. What have People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals/Animal Liberation Front done for the wild places of America? How many acres have they protected from development?

    It is illegal to trap in a National Park. There are plenty of bobcats that will not leave the park boundries. The handful that do will more than likely never walk by one of my traps. The bobcat has a territory of anywhere from 5-60 square miles. There is more food in your back yard than in the park. Bobcats are not stupid, they go where the food is, just like the coyotes. Ask the people who raise chickens and other livestock...

    Disease, starvation and lack of water will kill more bobcats this year than will be taken by licensed trappers/hunters in California.

  • idavidgraficks posted at 11:02 am on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    idavidgraficks Posts: 872

    Hi Desert Trapper, the almost complete decimation of the U.S. Beaver population is not a very proud moment of trapping history. Maybe you should educate yourself about the Beaver trapping history. From Wikipedia "Beaver was one of the main animals of interest to the trappers as the fur wore well in coats and hats. Beaver hats became popular in the early 19th century but later the fashion changed. Towards the end of the century beaver became scarce in many areas and extirpated in others [needs citation]. The decline in key species of fur-bearers, due to over-harvesting, and the later emergence of the first regulatory laws marked the end of the heyday of unregulated trapping[needs citation" In short, Beavers almost became extinct. There used to be beavers and their dams on most every stream with water in the United States. Thanks to trappers like you, the US has lost thousands of acres of wetlands and their dependent wildlife, millions of acre feet of fresh water and increasing erosion nationwide. Just go to for lots more information.
    Now of course, Bobcats don't build dams, but they have a function in the balance of wildlife in Joshua Tree National Park, an admitted target by the trapper in this story. The trapper is killing and selling bobcats from the National Park that can't read and visit the perimeters and/or are also baited outside the perimeters by the traps. Whatever way the trapper wants to couch this, ethically this is disgusting and damaging the natural resources of Joshua Tree National Park. I was one of the first people Tom called upon finding the trap and I knew the name of the trapper before the reporter did. The Marine Base has the name and I'll respect the non-disclosure on this forum, but JTNP and all the authorities now know who this guy is.

  • Hi Desert Trapper posted at 10:34 am on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    Hi Desert Trapper Posts: 11

    Why not fur? Fur is warm and looks good, bobcat is one of the more striking fur coats. If someone desire's it and has the money to pay for it, why not? That is the great part about America, we can all enjoy the freedom to choose. You choose to not wear it, others choose to wear it. As long as we both stay within the laws we are good.

    As to the carcasses, I harvest everything I possibly can from the animal to include the meat. Bobcat is quite tasty when prepared properly. The skulls of the animals are sold to companies that clean them and sell them to schools/colleges for classroom use. The glands are harvested along with some of the internal organs to be used in lure making.

  • desertdestiny posted at 9:21 am on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    desertdestiny Posts: 17

    Trapper, yes I do have leather goods. My point is that those hides were taken from animals humanely (for the most part - we have work to do there) slaughtered for food. And I've already said that historically, trapping made sense. It simply doesn't any longer. What do you do with the carcasses of the animals you kill? Why does anyone need fur coats for warmth now that so many other more humane options are available? Help me to understand your point of view better. Insults are counter productive.

  • Hi Desert Trapper posted at 8:42 am on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    Hi Desert Trapper Posts: 11

    Desert Destiny, I assume that you do not have any leather goods in your wardrobe, home or vehicle. Or is it OK to kill an animal for their hide as long as you remove the hair? Trapping opened up the West. The beaver pelts the mountain men took didn't go to make a jacket for someone who was cold, it was about beaver hats for fashionable men. Before you condem a group of people, maybe you should educate yourself on the issue.

  • desertdestiny posted at 8:07 am on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    desertdestiny Posts: 17

    The practice of killing any animal for it's fur is unacceptable. Historically, it was necessary for survival in harsh climates. But in those times, the animal also became food. Now, it is just senseless slaughter. While this trapper appears to have done his homework and seems responsible, how many others bother? We need to change our laws ASAP to prohibit this cruelty from happening.


Yucca Valley, CA

Current Conditions

Few Clouds
Humidity: 23%
Winds: at mph
Feels Like: 84°

Your Extended Forecast


High 80°/Low 59°
Abundant sunshine


High 83°/Low 60°
Times of sun and clouds


High 86°/Low 63°
A few clouds


High 89°/Low 65°

Most Commented