Bobcat populations all across the U.S. were decimated by the early 1900s due to habitat destruction and the value of their fur. With successful protections, their populations started rebounding, which is leading some places, like Illinois, to allow hunting again.
Warning: Disturbing images below
"Before they were protected in Illinois 1972, bobcats were nearly extirpated from the state due to over-trapping, and their ongoing recovery has been slow," Ayers told The Dodo. "Even without this renewed threat of hunting, bobcats faced additional impediments to their comeback including incidental trapping, vehicle collisions, poaching and impacts from habitat loss. With this new season, they now face the same methods that led to their demise in the first place. "
Loosening bobcat protections, the DNR sold 500 bobcat hunting permits by lottery; 6,416 people applied for a permit to kill a bobcat. The hunt, which will last until January, will allow people to shoot bobcats with guns or bows and arrows, chase them down with packs of dogs and trap them in steel-jawed leghold traps. There are apparently no regulations about sparing bobcats who appear to be nursing mothers to litters of kittens.