The Debate Heats Up Over Bobcat Hunting

Jun 17, 2015

Governor Bruce Rauner is in the midst of a heated debate over bobcat-hunting in Illinois.

Animal welfare organizations are urging him to veto a bill that would allow the animals to be hunted, while supporters of the measure say it's necessary to control the bobcat population.

Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle says bobcats are small, elusive creatures, yet he believes lawmakers are painting a negative view of them as menacing predators and exaggerating their size.

"Representative John Bradley  (D-Marion) said that he saw one walk across his backyard and he thought it looked like a saber-toothed tiger. Another said that bobcats can get to 60 pounds. The policy of the state should not be driven by this exaggeration or fabrication."

Another southern Illinois lawmaker, State Representative Brandon Phelps of Harrisburg, called bobcats cold-blooded killers that eat dogs and cats and are becoming too numerous.

Bobcats were on the state's threatened species list from 1977 to 1999. Last year, lawmakers attempted to overturn the ban on hunting, but then-governor Pat Quinn vetoed the bill.