Last year former Governor Pat Quinn vetoed bipartisan legislation to create a bobcat hunting/trapping season, which was proposed by his own Department of Natural Resources. Now both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees have once again advanced similar legislative proposals.
Both measures would allow the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to establish a bobcat hunting/trapping season, establish a limit of one bobcat per hunter per year, and charge a $5 fee for each permit.
According to Senate sponsor Sam McCann, the legislation was proposed by the IDNR to allow them to manage bobcat populations using the same methods allowed for other game species such as deer and waterfowl.
Currently, Illinois is one of only eight states without a bobcat hunting season. In 1972, due to concern over declining bobcat populations, the season was closed. The species was listed as threatened in 1977. According to the IDNR, the state’s bobcat population is now growing 4-9 percent per year, and has reached the level where it requires management.
The legislation would allow the IDNR to establish which counties are open for bobcat hunting, based on the local populations of the animals.
The agriculture committee also approved a measure from Senator Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet), that would allow hunters aged 16 and under to use a crossbow to take coyotes. Current law allows crossbows to be used only by hunters at least 62 years old, with a certified medical condition that inhibits the use of a traditional bow, or by any hunter during the latter part of deer and turkey seasons.
For information on crossbow permits for hunters with disabilities visit the IDNR Office of Law Enforcement web page: http://dnr.state.il.us/law3/