There is a law sitting on the governor’s desk which would allow bobcat hunting in Illinois. Governor Rauner needs to sign it.
A Brief History
Before game laws, bobcat numbers fell due to over hunting and habitat loss. According to population estimates performed by the DNR, the numbers are now high enough to allow for a limited take without adversely impacting the population.
And Some More History
The wildlife laws in the United States are such that wildlife belongs to us all. Not in a majority rules sense. What this means is that we all shall have equal access to wildlife to enjoy it as we see fit. This means birdwatchers have as much right to access the wildlife as hunters.
Imagine a world where 90% of the population were hunters. The laws of the land are in place to protect the interests of the 10% equally with the interests of the 90%. Wildlife belongs to us all. It is our birthright as Americans. That birthright may not be dictated by the majority, regardless of who that majority is.
Putting it simply, some wildlife is allocated to the hunters, and the rest is allocated to the non-hunters. There can be enough for everyone.
The former governor…Governor Quinn, did not care for the science of wildlife. He did not care for the rule of law. Science be damned, he said…Chicagoans don’t want bobcat hunting, so no hunting there shall be.
One big objection to bobcat hunting in Illinois is this: people don’t eat them, they just want them for trophys.
For one thing, I have heard that bobcat is quite tasty. Regardless, what difference does it make that they are only trophy animals? If some of the wildlife is allocated to the hunters for their use, it is their right to hunt them for whatever reason or for no reason. Besides, it is a disingenuous argument. Trophy hunting is bad, they say. Does that means the objectors are totally OK with the hunting of 20,000 pheasants each year in Illinois, solely for the dinner table? Are they super with the idea of the deer that are hunted by the hundreds of thousands in Illinois, because they are eaten?
No, these people object to all hunting. The “trophy” angle is a red herring.
The Only Relevant Question
The only relevant reason to allow or disallow bobcat hunting is this: can the population take it?
Here I appeal to Governor Rauner as the businessman he is. One question: do you trust your people?
If Rauner can trust his people at the DNR, then there is no reason to not sign it.
If Rauner cannot trust his people at the DNR, then he should not sign it. Furthermore, he should fire the head of the DNR and appoint someone he trusts.
Governor Rauner…if you trust your people at the DNR, then sign the bobcat hunting bill. If you do not, then why do you continue to employ people you do not trust?
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<<photo attribute: “Bobcat (Lynx rufus) California” by marlin harms – http://www.flickr.com/photos/marlinharms/5716621448/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bobcat_(Lynx_rufus)_California.jpg#/media/File:Bobcat_(Lynx_rufus)_California.jpg>>
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