Bobcat Hunting Bans Debated in California, Illinois


Hunting during the summer months often leaves few options for worthy game. Bobcat hunting is a great way to extend your tracking months, keep your senses keen and make some extra money on their valuable pelts.

Bobcat hunting can be performed in almost every state in the country with some notable exceptions. A 42-year ban on hunting bobcats in Illinois could possibly be reversed pending the governor’s signature to a bill that passed the legislature earlier this year.

Gov. Bruce Rainer, who often touts his hunting and fishing credentials, has not said how he plans to act. A previous version of the bill was vetoed by the former governor in January.

Illinois’s ban on bobcat hunting came into being in 1972 when the species was listed on the state’s endangered list. Over hunting had driven the species to dangerously low numbers in the state. A poll shows the majority of Illinois residents support the ban.

Jane Goodall even got into the conversation. The PhD, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace, spoke up to support the ban. “I have just heard that the bobcat is in danger. Again,” she wrote in a press release about the poll. “There are people who have worked so hard to bring back this beautiful cat from the risk of extinction. So that, once again, it can play its role in its environment. How tragic if all this work is wasted.” 

Today, a vast number of bobcats that are hunted are taken by trappers who sell the pelts in upwards of $2,100 to Chinese and Russian dealers.

In California, some 1,500 bobcats were trapped around Joshua National Park, causing the legislature to pass and Gov. Jerry Brown sign in 2013 the Bobcat Protection Act. The law outlawed the trapping of bobcats for commercial purposes around protected parks. Now this year the legislature is revisiting the issue calling for an all-out ban on trapping bobcats commercially.

California hunters once again feel slighted. Already affected by measures limiting their sport, such as banning the use of dogs for hunting bears, they are pushing back against the Humane Society and other conservation groups that support the ban. 

Kathryn Lynch, an analyst for the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and other hunting groups, argued against the bobcat trapping ban in California until population studies are completed.

“Science should be what they use to make a decision,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I can talk about ethics all day, too, but this body is supposed to make decisions based on science.”

In reality, often bobcat hunting occurs by accident while hunters are going after foxes or coyotes. For a look at how to specifically call in bobcats click here.

Photo credit: Flickr Creative Commons