SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers have approved legislation allowing bobcat hunting for the first time in more than 40 years.
The Illinois Senate approved the measure by a 30-19 vote Thursday. The House had passed the bill 91-20 in March.
Illinois banned hunting of the nocturnal animal in 1972. Bobcats were on the threatened species list from 1977 to 1999.
Republican state Rep. Wayne Rosenthal of Morrisonville is the bill's sponsor.
He says the bobcat population is growing in rural areas of western and southern Illinois. Opponents, including Democratic state Sen. Linda Holmes, say it's “trophy hunting'' and shouldn't be allowed.
The hunting and trapping season would occur sometime between Nov. 1 and Feb. 15. A hunter would be allowed to kill one bobcat per year.
The bill is HB4226.