Today, the Indiana Natural Resources Commission removed a proposed rule to open a bobcat hunting and trapping season in the state from its wildlife rule package, sparing 250-300 bobcats from being killed for trophies. The rule was initially proposed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources in their September biennial rule package, without an accurate population count for bobcats in the state.
In the following public comment period, more than 1,300 concerned citizens, including biologists, veterinarians and experts in the field of wildlife care and rescue, voiced their opposition to the proposal and expressed concern for this very fragile species.
Indiana’s bobcats were nearly extirpated from overhunting, trapping and habitat loss until they were placed under state protection in 1969. They remained on this list until 2005 and have been protected from hunting ever since. Had the proposal passed, it would have been the first hunting and trapping season in 50 years on this still fragile species.
“Today is a huge victory for bobcats and wildlife advocates alike. Hoosiers spoke out loudly and clearly in opposition to the idea of killing their only native wildcat for a trophy, and we thank the Natural Resources Commission for listening to Indiana’s citizens,” said Erin Huang, Indiana senior state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “It was the right decision to keep this still-recovering species protected, and we are heartened that Indiana’s bobcats will not be commercialized.”
The commission also removed a proposed rule requiring nuisance wildlife control officers to kill all coyotes, opossums and raccoons they catch from the final package.