Bobcat hunting bill advances to senate

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The North American bobcat

Soon, bobcat hunting may be legal in Illinois.

State lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow bobcat hunting for the first time in more than 40 years. The Illinois House of Representatives voted 91-20 Thursday in favor of the measure. It now goes to the senate.

Lawmakers in favor of the proposal want to lift the decades-old ban on hunting bobcats in an effort to stabilize their growing population.

State Rep. Jerry Costello II (D-Smithton) is a co-sponsor of the measure, which would allow hunters who receive a permit to kill one bobcat a year. Bobcat hunting season would run from Nov. 1 to Feb. 15.

Bobcat hunting was banned in 1972, shortly before the species was placed on the state’s first threatened species list. When their numbers in Illinois reached into the thousands, the state removed bobcats from the list.

It is estimated that as many as 5,000 bobcats occur in Illinois, including as many as 3,000 or more in the southern portion of the state.

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