More than 6,000 people applied for the 500 permits available to hunt for bobcats this fall in Illinois, which is having its first legal bobcat hunting season in more than 40 years.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources received 6,416 applications, which it accepted throughout the month of September, for 500 available permits, according to the Carbondale Southern Illinoisan.
A lottery will be held to determine who gets the 500 available permits.
Some of the applicants apparently are opposed to bobcat hunting, and would not be using any permits they receive. Rockford resident Jennifer Kuroda started a Facebook group called Illinois Bobcat Conservation, on which she encouraged opponents of bobcat hunting to apply for permits, according to Chicago radio station WBEZ.
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“I don’t feel that badly about doing it because I feel strongly that these animals need to be conserved at some level,” Kuroda told the radio station.
Kuroda said 11 of her friends have applied for permits.
The fee to apply for a bobcat permit is $5. Hunters who harvest one are required to purchase a possession permit for another $5.
The bobcat was once listed as a threatened species in Illinois, but the designation was removed in 1999.
IDNR estimates there are now about 5,000 bobcats statewide — enough for limited hunting. The state legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner approved a hunting season last year.
Illinois’ bobcat hunting season will be from Nov. 10 through Jan. 31, except for brief closures during the firearm deer season. The bobcat trapping season will be from Nov. 5 through Jan. 20 in the northern zone, and from Nov. 10 through Jan. 25 in the southern zone.