Bobcat hunting season returns to Illinois for the first time in more than four decades, but nearly 6,000 hunters will be spending the season hunting something else.
The Southern Illinoisan reports the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has received 6,416 applications for the 500 available permits. The recipients are chosen through a lottery in mid-October, and awarded hunters cannot transfer the permits to others.
The Southern Illinoisan writes the bobcat was released off the threatened species list in Illinois in 1999, but DNR didn’t decide until recently the population of now 5,000 was stable enough for hunting and trapping. The news outlet reports Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law last year a measure to return bobcat hunting.
Each permit holder will be allowed to take one bobcat, either through by hunting, trapping or salvaging roadkill during the season, The Southern Illinoisan reports. Once a permit holder harvests a bobcat he or she must register it with the state within a 48-hour period and pay a $5 fee.
With the ruling being so recent, some anti-hunting groups, including the Illinois Bobcat Conservation, have applied for permits simply to keep them from hunters, The Southern Illinoisan reports.
“I decided to enter the lottery for a hunting permit because I felt that was the only way for me to exercise my right to continue to oppose this legislation,” Illinois Bobcat Conservation founder Jen Kuroda wrote in an email to the The Southern Illinoisan.
Hunting season runs from Nov. 10 through Jan. 31 but includes breaks during gun season for deer. Trapping season for bobcats begins Nov. 5 and runs through Jan. 20 north of U.S. 36, The Southern Illinoisan reports, and is from Nov. 10 through Jan. 25 south of U.S. 36. The news outlet reports no hunting or trapping is allowed in the region east of Interstate-39 and north of U.S. 36.
Did you apply for a bobcat hunting permit in Illinois? If so, what kind of preparation have you taken for the potential hunts this winter?