A bill that will open a bobcat hunting season in Illinois is on Gov. Bruce Rauner's desk right now.
If this sounds familiar, that's because it is.
A similar bill made its way to then-Governor Pat Quinn just six months ago. Instead of focusing on the multitude of pressing issues facing Illinois, including the current budget struggle, some lawmakers instead decided to reintroduce and prioritize a bill targeting these shy and elusive animals. Gov. Quinn made the right decision by vetoing this bill that would subject bobcats to incredibly cruel and unsporting practices like hounding and trapping. We're hoping Gov. Rauner will do the same.
The fact is, bobcat hunting is unnecessary. Unlike most animals hunted in Illinois, nobody is killing bobcats for their meat. Instead, they're killed so that someone can acquire a trophy or sell pelts to fuel the global fur market.
Furthermore, bobcats are shy and elusive creatures that go out of their way to avoid people. The lengthy debate over the bill was littered with falsehoods and outlandish claims, including one lawmaker who supported the hunt absurdly comparing bobcats to a saber-toothed tiger. In reality bobcats weigh between 10 and 40 pounds and are just slightly larger than a housecat. They pose no threat to human safety, and bobcat-human conflicts typically involve sporadic and isolated issues with livestock. Even those instances are incredibly rare - the Department of Natural Resources issued a mere three landowner removal permits for bobcats in all of 2014.