Selling Bobcat Pelts In Illinois: One Mans Pointless Law

With the recent legalization of bobcat hunting in Illinois, some politicians are now targeting the practice of selling bobcat pelts.

By way of review: the Republican governor of Illinois recently signed into law a bill presented to him by the Democrat legislature which will allow bobcat hunting in Illinois in 2016. I am still in support of this new law.

What I am opposed to is the modern notion of “anything I don’t like must be banned.” The notion of true tolerance and a live-and-let-live attitude so popular a couple of decades ago seems to have fallen into disuse. But that is a topic for another post.

One person who is opposed to bobcat hunting in Illinois is State Senator Don Harmon, of Oak Park. He has sponsored new legislation which would make selling bobcat pelts illegal in Illinois.

And you know what? I don’t really care about this legislation. To Senator Harmon, I say: Go For It. Go for it because the proposed law is pointless.

Here’s the how and the why:

The Hunter Is Not Getting Rich

In Illinois, a person is allowed one bobcat permit. On a good year, a pelt will go for $200. There are many middlemen between the hunter and the fur coat salesman. Someone may be getting rich, but it is not the hunter with his single pelt.

Hunters who choose to hunt a bobcat know full well that selling bobcat pelts will not make them rich. Maybe they’ll have enough left over to take the family out for pizza and a show, but that is about it.

The bipartisan law already prevents this from happening, which is a very good thing. Harmon’s proposed law accomplishes nothing.

The Hunter Can Still Sell Out Of State

Fur buyers in any of the other 49 states can still legally buy an Illinois pelt. So, the Illinois hunter looking at selling bobcat pelts can simply sell it to a buyer in Indiana. If Harmon’s law is an effort to “stick it” to the hunter and prohibit *any* profit whatsoever, his law fails at this also.

The Fur Buyers Can Still Buy From Out Of State

Nothing in the legislation prevents fur buyers based in Illinois from buying a pelt harvested outside of Illinois. People out of state interested in selling bobcat pelts can do so inside Illinois, based on how the proposed law is worded. It has always been legal and would continue to be legal. So, Harmon’s law really accomplishes nothing on that front either.

The Unscrupulous

The thing about laws is that criminals don’t alter their behavior because of them. There has always been those who illegally poach bobcats. There has always been those who illegally deal in bobcat pelts. It was always illegal, and will continue to be illegal even if Harmon’s law goes into effect. Zero impact.

As for the legal side of things, anyone who deals in wildlife, from a fur buyer to a taxidermist, to a deer processor, has to have proof of legal possession of every animal in their possession. These people are frequently inspected. They need to show that this pelt was harvested this date, time, and with this permit. There is not a legal buyer who will take a pelt without this information.

In summary, Harmon’s proposed law does absolutely nothing. It doesn’t even inconvenience anyone. Zero impact. So, Senator Harmon…if this makes you feel better about yourself, be my guest.

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