Bobcats are gorgeous. Nobody eats bobcats. They are too small to pose a threat to cattle. And they are predators that keep small prey populations in check.
Even so, last year, at about this time, commercial trappers in California placed box traps outside of national parks and in other areas to lure bobcats (we had banned the use of steel-jawed traps and other body-gripping traps by ballot initiative in California in 1998). Once the trap door slammed shut, the bobcats were doomed. The trappers would return and then strangle, stomp, or bludgeon the confined, terrified animals. Trappers killed more than a thousand animals that way last year. Bobcat fur sells for as much as $700 a pelt to the international market – mainly China, Greece and Russia.