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Illinois Governor Quinn Vetoes Bobcat Hunting Bill

H.B. 4226 would have legalized the hunting and trapping of bobcats

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed House Bill 4226, which would have legalized bobcat hunting and trapping in the state. 

The Humane Society of the United States, other animal protection groups, environmental organizations, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times all opposed the bill. The legislation would have allowed bobcats to be killed using the most inhumane and unsporting methods – including being chased down by packs of dogs and caught in painful steel-jawed leghold traps—for the first time in four decades. 

Kristen Strawbridge, Illinois state director for The HSUS, said: “We thank Governor Quinn for vetoing this misguided bill. Bobcats are not food, and this legislation would have led to a shameful trophy hunt, placing still-recovering populations in serious peril.”


  • Bobcats in Illinois were nearly obliterated until they were granted protection and listed as “threatened” in the state.
  • Bobcats in Illinois are still making a comeback, an achievement which helps restore balance to Illinois’ natural places and prey (rodents and rabbits) populations. 
  • Nobody hunts bobcats for their meat. Instead, trophy seekers kill these animals for the sole reason of selling their pelts.
  • Bobcats are typically hunted using either packs of dogs or traps.  Bobcats caught in painful leghold traps, may be left to languish in pain for hours until the trapper returns to shoot the animal at point-blank range. The agony of these traps is so great that animals often strain and struggle, resulting in injuries to digits, limbs, tendons and teeth in their desperate attempt to escape.
  • Using packs of hounds to chase down a bobcat is unsporting and incredibly dangerous for both the dogs and wildlife. The dogs will chase the bobcat until the animal desperately seeks refuge up a tree – just before being shot off of the tree branch. If the dogs catch the bobcat on the ground, a fight usually ensues as the bobcat tries to defend itself against the pack.   


Media Contact: Heather Sullivan: 240.477.2251, hsullivan@humanesociety.org