SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — New numbers from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources show that the number of people applying for the state’s first legal bobcat hunt was 13 times more than the number of available permits.
The Southern Illinoisan (http://bit.ly/2dqjvPQ ) reported that nearly 6,500 hunters applied for 500 permits.
The recipients will be chosen through a lottery in about two weeks and notified by mail. Permits can’t be transferred to other people once they’re awarded.
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law last year allowing bobcat hunting after the department determined the current population of about 5,000 bobcats is stable. The animal was removed from the state’s threatened species list in 1999.
“The recovery of the bobcat population in Illinois is a conservation success story for everyone,” Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokesman Chris Young said previously. “Management of bobcats through a regulated hunting and trapping season is the next step in its long-term conservation.”
Animal welfare groups opposed the plan because they argue the hunting could harm the still-recovering population.
Illinois Bobcat Conservation encouraged their members to apply for permits to keep them away from those who would use them to hunt or trap bobcats.
“I decided to enter the lottery for a hunting permit because I felt that was the only way for me to exercise my right to continue to oppose this legislation,” stated Illinois Bobcat Conservation founder Jen Kuroda in an email.
Spokesman Harmon said he will decide during the General Assembly’s fall veto session if he will move the bill or wait for a future opportunity.
“I’m committed to revisiting the issue,” Harmon said Monday.
Each of the 500 permit holders will be allowed to take one bobcat, either by hunting, trapping or salvaging roadkill, during the season, which runs from Nov. 10 to Jan. 31.
Information from: Southern Illinoisan, http://www.southernillinoisan.com