Illinois governor to decide bobcat hunting


SPRINGFIELD — If all rules are put in place, Illinois hunters will be able to hunt for bobcats next winter after a measure allowing the practice passed both the State House and Senate.

During debate Thursday State Senator Sam McCann said bobcats are becoming a problem.

“Of course they are a vital part of the ecosystem, some folks would argue that we could be a problem from time to time, but yes they do present a problem to other species and so again it’s all about proper management of the population,” McCann said. “This is about wildlife management so that all species are able to thrive.”

But, McCann couldn’t indicate how many complaints there may have been about bobcats. McCann said the bill is a proactive approach to managing the bobcat population, which recently came off the endangered species list and is starting to pop up in more than a dozen Illinois counties.

But Senator Linda Holmes says there are ulterior motives to the measure.

“Basically why are we doing this?” she said. “I’ll tell you why we’re doing this: for trophy hunting.”

Holmes said she wanted to hear more facts and figures about the bobcat population and how hunting may affect them in the long run.

The measure allowing hunters to use bow or gun to hunt bobcats passed both chambers of the General Assembly and heads to the Governor’s desk. If signed the Illinois Department of Natural Resources would put together rules for a potential season to take place between Nov. 1, 2015 and Feb. 15, 2016.