clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Illinois wilds: Bobcats & hunting

Photo credit: Steven Wayne Rotsch/Painet Inc

Will a lame duck down a bobcat bill? Or is Springfield full of fraidy cats

HB4226, which codifies the rebound of bobcats in Illinois and would allow limited hunting,

passed the General Assembly last week and went to Gov. Pat Quinn.

That’s where it may get interesting.

Scott Bryant, president of the Illinois Federation for.Outdoor Resources, called Friday

concerned that Quinn might veto the bill, which would allow the IDNR to establish a very

limited hunting season (one per hunter) for bobcats beginning next fall. IFOR

represents 100,000 sportsmen and women from 67 affiliated organizations.

At first, I didn’t put much credence in that fear; now I am not so sure. The IDNR has

been assisting with the bill, which was introduced by Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg).

However, on Tuesday, IDNR director Marc Miller did not return calls because

he was “traveling.’’

“We are reviewing the bill’’ is all that Quinn press secretary Grant Klinzman emailed.

There are no known dates or plans for a bill signing.

Quinn has postured as a conservation governor. A veto would be a major black mark

on that stance, especially since bobcats are a major gain in Illinois outdoors.

“The fact that we are discussing a hunting season for bobcats is a conservation success

story,’’ IDNR spokesman Chris Young emailed. “Bobcats were at such low numbers they

were listed as a state-threatened species in the late 1970s, and have rebounded strongly.

“Few people realize that many common species of Illinois wildlife such as deer, turkeys

and river otters also were once nearly extirpated, but came back due to reintroductions,

habitat conservation and later – regulated hunting.

“Hunters pay the freight for conservation through their purchases of licenses, permits

and stamps. Hunters also play a key role in management of various species once restoration

is complete and we move into the next phase which is to maintain populations at a

healthy and stable level.’’

Absolutely right.

But odd things happen swirl around lame ducks.

(bullet) Charlie Potter, considered by some (including me) the leading candidate for IDNR director under his friend, Gov-elect Bruce Rauner, said Monday afternoon that he had not been contacted about the role.

HUNTING NOTES: Taxidermists were seeing more traffic after Illinois’ firearm seasons

(the second season ended Sunday). And harvest was up. Illinois hunters reported 76,547

deer during the firearm deer seasons. That’s up from the 74,318 last year.

(bullet) Duck season ends in Illinois’ north zone on Tuesday. Both Wolf and Heidecke

lakes will have open water for the final days. Heidecke site superintendent Joe Giacone

said ice may make the north side tough, but he also said the lake has good numbers of

ducks. Wolf has been extremely slow. With ice disappearing, duck and goose hunting has

been dismal at Braidwood Lake (only seven ducks on Sunday), which is in the central zone.

STRAY CAST: The Sox signing Jeff Samardzija made pitching coach Don Cooper

sound civil, which is tough as making a burbot look attractive.