NORTH OGDEN A trapper accused of illegally killing bobcats was so successful that other hunters probably didn't find many, a Utah investigator says.
Jared Beal, 40, of North Ogden, has been charged with 12 counts of wanton destruction of protected wildlife.
Bobcat pelts can be worth hundreds of dollars and, in some cases, more than $1,000, but trappers typically are limited to six per season.
Investigators were tipped when Beal was selling 60 or more bobcat pelts a year in Wyoming, which has fewer restrictions. The Wyoming pelts are not included in the charges.
"It's been a horrible year for bobcat trappers this season, except for Jared," said Kip King, investigator in the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
"A lot of very good trappers didn't even get six this season. ... I think he's impacted the bobcat population in northern Utah, absolutely," King said.
Beal declined to comment Thursday. He is scheduled for arraignment June 26.
Beal is believed to have trapped more than 24 bobcats, but authorities declined to reveal a specific number. He used additional permits in the names of family and friends.
The allegations involve bobcats trapped in Weber, Box Elder and Tooele counties, said Gary Heward, a Weber County prosecutor.
The charges include third-degree felonies, which carry prison terms of up to 15 years, and class A misdemeanors, which can result in a year in jail.
Many trappers sell their pelts at an annual auction held by the Utah Trappers Association.
According to the group's Web site, www.utahtrappers.org, 1,004 bobcats pelts were sold in February at an average price of $447.88.