The bobcats is a species of wild cat that is found naturally in many states throughout the country, while in others, it is deemed a quite foreign species. Be very diligent in seeking the correct legal information pertaining to owning a bobcat in your area. In some cases, it is not the state but the county that actually decides what is permissible.
Language of the Law
Contact the agency in your state that handles wildlife law and ask what the policy is in relation to bobcat ownership. The law is exceedingly clear in some instances, but in others, state law on this issue can be ambiguous. In the same state, ownership may be fine for furring but not for private ownership. In another, it may be legal for science but not for exhibition. In other states, the law refers to native-born species but not to bobcats specifically. Do your homework, no matter how sure you are that you have read the law correctly.
Owning bobcats for private purposes or as a pet is legal in several states. However, it often entails the procurement of a permit, registering or both. These states include Kansas, Nevada, Missouri, Tennessee and Delaware. In Arkansas, it is even legal to catch them yourself and keep as many as six per household. States that expressly ban private ownership outright include California, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.
Breeding, Exhibition and Science
Most states allow bobcat ownership for exhibition or zoological or conservational efforts if you have the proper licensing, registration or permits. Other states allow for non-specified commercial activity. While you can infer that this means furring, the laws do not actually expressly state this. For example, Colorado says "commercial only." Professional grounds for ownership -- commercial, exhibition, conservation, scientific-- exist in Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, New Mexico and South Dakota, as well as in most of the states that outlaw private ownership. West Virginia restricts ownership to scientific purposes only. Both Texas and North Carolina outsource regulation to individual counties, so you must investigate that level of authority.
If you are considering owning bobcats for furring purposes only, then a few states allow for legal breeding. Again, this practice needs to be accompanied by official permits in many cases. Even if your state allows fur breeding, that does not necessarily mean that it allows you to legally import bobcats into the state. Furring-legal states include, but are not limited to, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho. To check whether furring falls under your state's legal guidelines, contact your state department of environmental protection or wildlife conservation.