In the final days of the fall veto session HB 4226 was rushed through and narrowly passed in the Senate by one vote. HB 4226, which allows bobcat hunting in Illinois is on its way to Governor Quinn’s desk.
You can help! Please ask the governor to Veto HB 4226.
Bobcats are important apex predators that live on a diet of rodents and small mammals and contribute to an overall healthy ecosystem. According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), bobcats historically occurred throughout Illinois, but habitat changes and unregulated hunting caused a dramatic population decline by the 1800s. Bobcats were placed on Illinois’ first official list of threatened species in 1977.
After a study conducted by Southern Illinois University in the 1990s found that bobcat populations were becoming fairly common in southern Illinois and expanding northward, bobcats were removed from the state threatened species list in 1999.
HB 4226, which had much opposition, was rushed through the Illinois Senate with the waiving of several rues. Full testimony by ecologists and other opponents was never considered.
The bill that passed has significant issues. First, the bill does not limit the areas or set bobcat population standards for counties to restrict hunting; hunting can be allowed in any county in the state. Second, the proposed season overlaps portions of the bobcat breeding season, putting both bobcats with kittens and pregnant bobcats at risk. Finally, there is no specific emergency procedure to close the season if the species becomes threatened again.
Your calls and emails were very effective in almost defeating the bill in the Senate. Please take this next step to protect our bobcats.