Man charged for taking of bobcats

Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Bobcats are Indiana's largest wildcat. They were once on the state's endangered species list, but in 2002 were reclassified as a protected non-game species -- meaning it is still illegal to hunt or trap them.

REELSVILLE -- Official charges were filed Monday against a Reelsville man accused of illegally trapping and skinning two bobcats.

Darin L. Hull, 43, will be in court on March 15 for an initial hearing. He will plead to one count of Class C misdemeanor illegal taking of a wild animal.

According to an Indiana Department of Natural Resources report, an investigation into Hull's possible criminal activities began on Dec. 28 when IDNR Officer Christopher Springstun received an anonymous tip that Hull had trapped the bobcats, then "skinned the bobcats and had plans to sell them out of state."

Sprinstun's report said the informant in the case told police that he had heard Hull trapped a male bobcat at Buzzi-Unicem in Greencastle, where he was employed, and that he had also trapped a female. The informant said he had heard that Hull had skinned both animals.

"After talking to (the informant), I drove to Buzzi-Unicem to locate any possible signs of trapping being done on the property," Springstun said.

Springstun found nothing at Buzzi-Unicem, so he went to Hull's residence.

Hull invited Springstun in, and the officer began talking to Hull about trapping.

"Mr. Hull advised that he had trapped a few raccoons this year, but nothing more," Springstun said.

Hull became uneasy, Springstun said, and then told officers he believed they were probably at his home to talk to him about a "rumor that was going around work about him trapping a bobcat."

"Mr. Hull advised that this rumor was not true and I explained to Mr. Hull that being truthful about his involvement in the case was very important," Springstun said.

After a few minutes, Hull confessed to trapping two bobcats within the last two weeks, Springstun's report said.

Further investigation revealed that Hull skinned the bobcats at his residence, but had decided to store the pelts at a relative's house.

Hull voluntarily accompanied officers to where the bobcat skins were being kept, and retrieved them from a deep freezer.

"The bobcats were each wrapped separately in white freezer paper, labeled 'beef tongue 5/10,'" Springstun said.

The officer seized the skins and forwarded all information to the Putnam County Prosecutor's Office.

According to information at the IDNR website, bobcats are Indiana's largest wildcat. They were once on the state's endangered species list -- a result of land development, over-hunting and trapping the animals for fur.

In 1998, Indiana's Division of Fish & Wildlife began a population study of bobcats. As a result of that study, more habitats for bobcats were provided, and by 2002 the animals were off the endangered list and reclassified as a protected non-game species -- meaning it is still illegal to hunt or trap them.

Bobcats have short, pointy dark tufts of hair on the tops of their ears and fluffy tufts of hair on their cheeks. They have short, twitchy tails that are between 4 and 7 inches in length.

Bobcats are entirely carnivorous, and like to prey on smaller mammals such as rabbits, mice, moles and squirrels. Sometimes birds and reptiles are included in their diets. The largest animal a bobcat has been known to kill is deer, usually in the winter months when small rodents are scarce.

Bobcats are most commonly found in rocky outcrops or heavily wooded areas. They prefer rugged terrain, and can be found in deep forests and caves.

"As solitary and far-ranging mammals, interactions between humans and bobcats are rare," the website said.

Class C misdemeanors are punishable by a maximum of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Questions about Indiana's trapping laws or endangered species can be directed to IDNR Non-Game Biologist Scott Johnson at (317) 232-4080.

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  • I saw bobcats on my way home around 10pm somewhere about the end of September or the 1st of October. Just east of the Reelsville area. I bet these are the ones I saw.

    -- Posted by hipmoma on Tue, Feb 8, 2011, at 10:39 AM
  • Any estimate as to how many bobcats in Putnam Co at this time?

    -- Posted by localman on Tue, Feb 8, 2011, at 5:13 PM
  • Might ask the dnr how many they dumped in greencastle. Wonder if they dropped off any timber rattlers like down at brown county or do we just wait to find out later.

    -- Posted by farmer on Tue, Feb 8, 2011, at 6:39 PM
  • Just don't ask them about the bear re-population program.

    -- Posted by exhoosier2 on Wed, Feb 9, 2011, at 7:37 AM
  • Free Hull, he did everyone a favor that lives close with small children.

    -- Posted by dontbacrybaby on Wed, Feb 9, 2011, at 9:53 AM
  • dontbacrybaby, I wouldn't worry about the bobcats, it's the cougars you need to worry about.

    -- Posted by fedup59 on Wed, Feb 9, 2011, at 10:29 AM
  • I think the boys and girls county basketball tourneys proved you need to be worried about TIGER CUBS.

    -- Posted by Just_Me on Wed, Feb 9, 2011, at 11:24 AM
  • Bobcats do NOT attack people they are the most skiddish of "large" cats. You have a better chance of being attacked by a "Bigfoot" than a bobcat. Your pets are in far more danger from coyotes and hawks.

    To hunt and skin the few here in Indiana is appalling.

    I worry about the county rednecks that will read this and start driving around shooting anything from the road. There is your, your pets and wildlife's biggest danger.

    -- Posted by ladyinthewoods on Fri, Feb 11, 2011, at 8:16 AM
  • ladyinthewoods you might do your home work before stating that they dont attack people. bobcats wiil attack people ask anyone in rual mississippi or around there. they have yearly attack records and 1 is too many. and notice the artical didnt say he killed them only caught and skinned them. some traps automaticaly kill whats trapped in them. but ask yourself this if your child was outside waiting for the bus would you want one of these cats walking around it ?? these arent little cats they can weigh over 10pounds and have fairly big claws. i can honestly say one wouldnt last long in my yard.

    -- Posted by mrcatfish43 on Sat, Feb 12, 2011, at 1:33 AM
  • I am so sorry, my "homework" comes from having worked with bobcats, siberian tigers, cougars, snow leopards and other big cats at zoos and private breeders. The bobcats are NOT predators to humans but will attack if threatened, cornered, or you come between them and their young. Your views are like so many and that is "we are superior our rights are exclusive" These creatures like the coyotes, raccoons, possums and other indigenous wildlife have a right to exist. They try to stay away from us and the bobcat more than any cat I have ever worked with. If given any chance to get away they do. However, like so many non-threatening wildlife out here they are hunted as trophies and bragging rights. Used as an excuse to hunt simply for the kill of something different. I have also worked for veterinarians, shall I tell you the stats on dogs that attack children? If I were to I could prove you have more to fear(statistically)from a family pet than a bobcat would you say "one is too many?" I stand by my statements but do not take my "uneducated" word for it, talk to anyone with credentials in the field. A hint: you will not find them at your local pub.

    -- Posted by ladyinthewoods on Mon, Feb 14, 2011, at 8:45 PM
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