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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Legislation Aims To End Bobcat Hunting In Illinois

Mike and Joann Fricke

Since 2016, it has been legal to hunt or trap bobcats in Illinois during hunting season (Nov. 10-Feb. 15), even though they were on the threatened species list until 1999. Now some state lawmakers and the Illinois Bobcat Foundation want to protect them from harm.

Rep. Daniel Didech (D-Ill.) introduced House Bill 1827 in February. It would make it unlawful for any person to hunt or trap bobcats in this state. Jennifer Kuroda is the president of the Illinois Bobcat Foundation. She supports the bill.

"Legislators don't want to hear about how many signatures you have on one of those [online] petitions," she said. "They want to hear from you. They want to hear from their constituents, and they want to know what you think about this."

Bobcats have been spotted in 99 of Illinois' 102 counties. Kuroda says unless they are cornered or rabid, they won't hurt you. 

"It's just like any other wildlife that's out there, right? Just enjoy that you have an opportunity to be in the presence of a bobcat."

Kuroda said she isn't anti-hunting, but is against the hunting of bobcats for sport or "trophy."

"When you hunt deer, it's more than just going out and killing something. You're using the deer for something," she said. "You're eating the deer, you're using it. You don't eat bobcats."  

Kuroda says the bobcat is the leading cat species in the fur and skin trades because they are legal to hunt.

"Most other cats aren't because of their conservations status," she said. "And the part of the bobcat that everybody likes is that beautiful spotted undercoat." 

She said the western bobcats tend to have a higher value than Florida bobcats because states that experience long, cold winters mean the bobcats will grow thicker, fuller and more valuable coats. A western bobcat pelt can be worth between $300-$400. 

"And it takes 30 bobcats to make one fur coat," said Kuroda. "Bobcat pelts from another part of the country are probably worth closer between maybe $80 and $100."

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