Field of Science

Hunt them varmints & vermin

Well, good old Bobcat Bill got his bobcat hunting bill (HB4226) through both houses of the Lincolnland legislature without even considering or allowing biological or ecological testimony. Here's a little background on this purely stupid action. Bobcat hunting was banned in Illinois in 1972 after the species became threatened.  Bobcat populations have recovered in several counties - a recent SIU study found significant recovery in 17 counties in Southern Lincolnland, but there is no data to suggest at what level the population can sustain hunting. What is it that motivates some people to want to shoot (or trap) anything they see?  Bobcats are important apex predators (and certainly not unwanted or undesirable as the definition of varmints and vermin suggests) that live on a diet of rodents and small mammals and contribute to an overall healthy ecosystem, and they are not responsible for the loss of quail or turkey as some proponents of this bill suggested. The bill that passed has significant problematic issues.  First, the bill does not limit the areas or set bobcat population standards for counties to restrict hunting; hunting can be allowed in any county in the state. There may be a bobcat in our area, and if so then probably a young male, and this bill would allow our population of 1 to be hunted, and then there would be none. Second, the proposed hunting season overlaps portions of the bobcat breeding season, putting both bobcats with kittens and pregnant bobcats at risk. This is generally at odds with any good hunting practices. Finally, there is no emergency or automatic procedure to close the season if the species becomes threatened again. There has been significant citizen opposition on this bill and it helped to almost defeat the bill in the Senate (passed by one vote). There are other ways to enjoy wildlife than killing it, and it hunting is allowed where the bobcat is more populous, then the species will certainly not recover in other areas of the state. Ask the Governor to veto this bill by going to this link to sign a petition. Probably best to refrain if you're not a resident of this great nearly sterile state (more on this later). Do pass this blog on to other interested parties.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's about as bad as it gets. I thought Maine was pretty much in the grips of the "shooters" (can't call them hunters, not with the baiting and hounding and unsportsmanlike tactics they support) but this . . .! Words fail me.