Popularity of Illinois’ first bobcat hunt surprises officials

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — New numbers from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources show that the number of people applying for the state’s first legal bobcat hunt was 13 times more than the number of available permits.

The Southern Illinoisan  reports that nearly 6,500 hunters applied for 500 permits.

The recipients will be chosen through a lottery in about two weeks and notified by mail. Permits can’t be transferred to other people once they’re awarded.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a law last year allowing bobcat hunting after the department determined the current population of about 5,000 bobcats is stable. The animal was removed from the state’s threatened species list in 1999.

Each of the 500 permit holders will be allowed to take one bobcat, either by hunting, trapping or salvaging roadkill, during the season, which runs from Nov. 10 to Jan. 31.

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