Illinois Wants to Start Killing Bobcats Again

Despite opposition and past efforts to keep bobcats protected, hunters and lawmakers are pushing legislation that could make killing bobcats legal again in Illinois for the first time in more than 40 years.

Bobcats once ranged the throughout the entire state, but by the mid-1900s their population had been decimated by unregulated hunting. In the 1970s, hunting was banned and bobcats were protected as a threatened species in state until they were removed in 1999.

Today, based on studies conducted by Southern Illinois University, the Department of Natural Resources estimates there could be as many as 5,000 throughout the state.

While bobcats have rebounded since efforts began to protect them, conservationists argue that the work to help ensure their future survival is far from complete and hunting them now would undo all that has been done to keep them from disappearing forever.

In January, former Governor Pat Quinn agreed and vetoed recent legislative efforts to open a hunting season before he left office, stating, “We all have a responsibility to protect and maintain Illinois’ wildlife. Allowing people to hunt bobcats in Illinois violates that responsibility.” He added that, “[B]obcats are a valuable part of Illinois’ ecosystem and continue to need protection.”

Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped efforts to open season on these vital predators for trophies and their fur. Now legislation that will legalize hunting is currently making its way through the legislature yet again.

Opponents are continuing to argue that like the previous efforts, the bills in the works wouldn’t just harm conservation efforts and the valuable role bobcats play as top predators in the state’s ecosystem, but will put them in danger of inhumane hunting methods, including the use of dogs, bow hunting and trapping – which could leave bobcats and other animals who are unintentionally caught languishing in traps before they’re checked.

The Illinois Environmental Council and Sierra Club Illinois, which are among the organizations opposing the latest efforts to legalize hunting for bobcats, say the numbers are closer to 3,000 and hunting them now could put them back where they started on the threatened species list.

They argue that even though the current measure is allegedly being pushed to “manage” bobcats, state wildlife officials aren’t using the best available science and have no management or sustainability plan in place for them, and that there is no provision for an emergency procedure to shut the season down if too many are killed.

They further argue that the timing of the season could put kittens at risk of being abandoned if their mothers are killed, which would add even more pressure to their population.

TAKE ACTION!

Please sign and share the petition urging Illinois’ lawmakers to stop advancing legislation that would put bobcats back in danger of a hunting season.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

127 comments

Mark Donner
Mark Donner2 years ago

Same applies to "Roger H". "live off the grid" are you kidding me? Billions of human apes "living off the grid" are ripping apart and destroying this planet. Grow some potatoes or something, or starve, or get off this planet, I could care less about those uneducated disgusting rednecks.

SEND
Mark Donner
Mark Donner2 years ago

Ullrich Mueller I think management of bloodthirsty human barbarians, that you apparently represent, is the only option to stop the bloodbaths and suffering that you want to inflict on animals which you have no right to dictate over on how they live their lives.

SEND
Mark Donner
Mark Donner2 years ago

Illinois politicians are barbarians. They're simply criminals and they should be behind bars not in politics

SEND
H B
H B2 years ago

To all morons who ant to kill BOBCATS. KILL YOURSELF instead. Get rid this Earth from the bloodthirrsty garbage , which you are. GET a REAL JOB and stop doing BS.

SEND
H B
H B2 years ago

To all those who want to kill BOBCATS, do a favor, kill yourself instead and rid this planet from the human bio-waste,which you are. Get yourself busy with something useful. GET a real job, morons

SEND
Dale Williams
Dale Williams2 years ago

The only reason these idiots keep justifying these culls is because they can't keep their bloody hands out. The wild does not need you to keep interfering. It is your constant interference that is the problem. So the truth - Money isn't it guys.

SEND
Ullrich Mueller
Ullrich Mueller2 years ago

There is no alternative to responsible wildlife management unless we want to watch the suffering of certain species at certain times. Of course, we can wait for nature to restore the natural balance between predators and prey, but that means fluctuating losses on either side. Either bobcats flourish and multiply as there is enough food for them or, when their number has increased too much and taken too high a toll on the prey, they will starve and die of hunger in which case they are very likely to do damage to farms. Also, experience shows that protected species become a burden on nature after some time (like black cormorants in Germany) if they have no natural enemies. Therefore I think responsible wildlife management is an alternative to watching the suffering of animals.

SEND
Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

SEND
Bina Pannell
Bina Pannell2 years ago

What has happened to our sense of ethics and responsibility? Reduce certain species of animal down to barely existing and then introduce a law protecting it, and then repeal that law and start all over again. Really?????

Here in the UK, David Cameron (the UK prime minister) and his cronies want to repeal the Hunting Act which banned hunting with dogs. He sees nothing wrong with having foxes, deer, rabbits etc. torn apart by dogs while people cheer and clap. The reason this "sport" was banned was because it was cruel and unnecessary. The same goes for the hunting of bobcats, bears, and wolves in the US. It is cruel and unnecessary.
Just because the bobcat, deer, bear, wolf population is increasing doesn't mean they're going to take over the entire country FFS!!! Nature has a way of dealing with over-population in its own way, without the help of bloodthirsty, small-minded, over-egoistic humans.

SEND
Julia Cabrera-Woscek

Illinois, Don't do it!

SEND