Bobcat Hunting to be Discussed on WGN
Bobcats will no longer be protected in the state, as IL. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law (HB 352) which will allow for bobcat hunting for the first time in decades.
Will be hunters go overboard because they can sell their pelts? These days, pretty easy to go online and sell them overseas. Illinois State Senator Don Harmon (39th district) will propose legislation to attempt to prevent that from happening, and I will talk to him about it live Sunday morning July 26 at 6:35AM CDT on WGN Radio (Listen here or 720AM).
Hunting was once stopped because the cats were disappearing. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and bobcat experts agree that due to the moratorium on hunting them, their numbers have finally begun to creep back up, giving the species a decent shot to survive in the state. However, it’s hardly that Illinois is being overrun by the cats. .
This new law, which amends the Wildlife Code, will permit the hunting or trapping of bobcats outside of open season. These dates are set annually by the Director of Natural Resources between November 1 and February 15. This new law also sets an in-season limit of no more than one bobcat taken per permit. It’s ironic that the Department of Natural Resources consider this issue. These cats are a resource to be treasured, not hunted. But this is more than ethical issue.
The value of apex predators is complex, called a trophic cascade. I am certain Gov. Rauner and proponents of this bill haven’t a clue what I am talking about. No independent impact study has been conducted to determine what the affect of hunting them will be on the environment, or the affect of allowing their population to slowly continue to grow (which would likely mean more young deer taken down by bobcat, as well as problematic rodents). If only a few are hunted, because they are solitary animals with large territories, some suspect the impact on their numbers might be more deleterious than non-experts would suspect.
I will discuss all of this with Sen. Harmon. Feel free to call in 312-9817200.