The only thing that struck me with the final results of Illinois’ first modern bobcat season is that the harvest total is more than I expected.

My money was on 100 bobcats from the 500 permits. Apparently I underestimated the skills of the initial hunters/trappers or the number of bobcats in Illinois. The first year produced 141 bobcats.

It’s the start, the beginning entry of data for wildlife biologists to adjust the seasons from here on.


New Illinois Hunting and Trapping Season for Bobcats a Success

Preliminary harvest of 141 bobcats

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Hunters and trappers took a preliminary total of 141 bobcats during the 2016-17 Illinois Bobcat Hunting and Trapping Season.

“We are very pleased with the response to Illinois’ new hunting and trapping season for bobcats,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Wayne Rosenthal.  “The recovery of the bobcat is a conservation success story in Illinois. We were pleased with the response of hunters and trappers that applied for permits, and we will continue to evaluate the program.” 

More than 6,400 people applied for 500 permits to take bobcats.  Those awarded a permit in the lottery were required to register their harvest within 48 hours and purchase a Bobcat Pelt Temporary Permit.  They reported taking 69 bobcats by hunting, 49 by trapping, 12 by archery, and salvaging 11 from roads.  Bobcats were harvested in 44 counties in the open zone, which included western and southern parts of the state.  Top counties were Pike (11), Jackson (10), Jefferson (7), Carroll (6), and Randolph (6).

The 2016-17 season for hunting bobcats with bow or gun was conducted November 10, 2016 through January 31, 2017 (closed during Firearm Deer Season), while permitted trappers were able to take bobcats Nov. 5, 2016 through Jan. 20, 2017 in the northern zone and Nov. 10, 2016 through Jan. 25, 2017 in the southern zone.

The table below includes preliminary bobcat harvest totals by county and method of take for the 2016-17 season.