Mountain lions, bobcats and bears, oh my!

Mountain lions, bobcats and bears, oh my!
photo courtesy dekalb county sherrifs dept

With all of the predator sightings and confrontations this past year, it’s no big surprise that the State of Illinois has passed legislation that addresses non-game predators in the Land of Lincoln. Over the past year, a mountain lion was shot in Western Illinois, a wolf was shot in Northwestern Illinois, and the State reports that the bobcats have a presence in almost every county in Illinois.

This past spring, Gov. Quinn signed legislation that adds the gray wolf, American black bear, and mountain lion to the list of protected species in Illinois. It prohibits killing these animals except in case of imminent threat to people or farm animals. An individual who sees one of these animals on their land can secure a threat permit from the Department of Natural Resources to kill the animal. Although a black bear was recently spotted in Dekalb, the law protecting them does not take effect until January 1, 2015. Bobcats, on the other hand, may be fair game. Bobcats were put on the protected species list in the 70's, but since then their re-population has been fantastic, with over 3,000 estimated in Illinois. According to the Illinois DNR, the population could sustain a harvest of roughly 300 bobcats. The State could be opening a season for them this fall and winter, if the legislation passes. Stay tuned for details.

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