Verschoore Passes Bobcat Hunting Bill through House Committee
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A House committee approved legislation introduced by state Rep. Pat Verschoore, D-Milan, legalizing bobcat hunting in Illinois.
“Bobcat hunting was originally banned in Illinois because the animals were protected and their presence was scarce,” Verschoore said. “Now as their population has grown, bobcats have become a nuisance in many rural areas of the state and these potentially dangerous predators need to be contained.”
Verschoore is sponsoring House Bill 352, which legalizes hunting bobcats in Illinois and establishes an annual open season from Nov. 1 through Feb. 15 during which individuals who posses a bobcat hunting permit may trap or hunt bobcats with a gun, dog or bow and arrow. Under Verschoore’s bill, the Department of Natural Resources will be responsible for the issuance of hunting permits and each permitted hunter may collect one bobcat per year.
In 1999, bobcats were removed from the threatened species lists in Illinois because scientific studies confirmed their wide distribution and growing numbers. According to the Department of Natural Resources, the bobcat population has grown to nearly 5,000 statewide with the highest concentrations in rural southern areas.
House Bill 352 was approved by the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee with bipartisan support. It now awaits consideration by the full House.
“We want to make sure bobcats are controlled but also protect their species which is why hunting limits will be restricted,” Verschoore said. “This bill is the result of many discussions with sportsmen, the Department of Natural Resources and bipartisan members of the Legislature, and I look forward to passing it through the House.”
For more information about this legislation or any other issues, please contact Verschoore’s constituent service office at 309-558-3612.