Illinois senators Thursday passed legislation out of committee to ban trapping bobcats and selling their pelts. The state recently allowed for the hunting of bobcats.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources opposes the legislation. DNR official Mike Stevens said allowing hunters to sell the pelts is a better use of bobcats' fur than leaving it on the field or getting thrown away.
Stevens said no one will make a lot of money on selling pelts, which are priced around $40 per pelt. He said even when the department proactively culls herds of deer, it puts everything possible to use.
"We don't just waste the resource after that," he said. "We then donate it to the Northeast Food Bank, so utilizing that resource is something the department is supportive of."
But backers of the legislation said they don't believe the state should incentivize killing bobcats for money and that trapping is inhumane. The sponsor of the legislation is Don Harmon, D-Oak Park.
DNR says there's around 6,000 bobcats in the state, mostly in southern and western Illinois. The cat was removed from the threatened species list in 1999.