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Bobcats Under Siege

On Nov 15, bobcat trapping begins in Wyoming. They’ll be trapped with leghold traps, snares and conibears, chased with dogs, and/or shot. If trapped, they’ll take their last breath after suffocation with choke poles to preserve their fur.  This will most likely be filmed and shared on social media and juveniles are fair game! This is the true picture of Wyoming furbearer management.

The fate of these wildcats is only for their fur which is sold for commercial profit, for training hounding dogs, and for domesticated pets and breeding. Out of 1,140 bobcats harvested last season, 179 were younger than 1 year.

The major spring fur auctions brought disappointing results last season for bobcat pelts. Eastern bobcats brought $40 and Western bobcats brought $260. The price of most furs has dipped below the cost of production, but trappers are most likely heading to Wyoming for the unlimited quotas and the highest (low) pelt prices.

The only place bobcats are safe in Wyoming is in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and the National Elk Refuge.  However, if they venture outside these boundaries, they can be hunted with guns, dogs or caught by torturous traps in unlimited numbers for only a $44 permit. The trapper is not required to attend a trapping course or buy a conservation stamp. AND it’s legal to take any bobcat, female or male or juvenile (under one year of age). This is only for its fur which is commercially sold outside of our country. The profit motive is a far greater influence than science in the management of the species.

For the first time in more than 40 years, the state of Illinois opened up a trophy hunting and trapping season for bobcats last week. Lawmakers are still trying to block the measure and stop the hunt after an earlier bill (which failed once in the state legislature) was signed into law by Governor Rauner.

“The rationale used to defend this hunt was ludicrous for a number of reasons, including the fact that there’s never been a statewide population study. While lawmakers were debating whether to open a season on bobcats, one representative absurdly claimed that he saw a bobcat walking across his yard, and thought he was “looking at a saber-tooth tiger.” As bobcats typically average about 15 to 35 pounds, this amounted to nothing more than hyperbolic fear-mongering. Bobcats pose no risk to public safety.”

The vast majority of Illinois residents oppose the hunting and trapping of bobcats, but once again a few hunters and trappers get their way regardless of how much suffering bobcats will be exposed to during this season.  If you live in Illinois contact your legislators and urge them to support Senate Bill 2143 that was introduced by Senator Harmon and is pending a vote in the Illinois Senate.

This is the third image of Tin Man Photography’s series of images of wild bobcat kittens in an undisclosed location.

Thank you Tin Man Lee!

Illinois story from Wayne Pacelle’s blog.

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