Utility Links

​​​​​​​​​​​
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Bobcat Hunting and Trapping

Bobcat_results.png

The 2021 Bobcat Lottery results are in! Applicants with an email address on file will receive an email from noreply@egov.com alerting them if they were successful or not, (if you do not see this email, please check your spam/junk folder). Applicants can also log into their ExploreMoreIL account here and select Purchase History. Successful applicants will see privilege code 1300 with a purchase date of 10/12/2021 if successful. If unsuccessful, there will only be an application in the purchase history. Permits will be mailed within 2 weeks of the date listed above.


In 2016, the bobcat became the 14th species of furbearer that has a regulated hunting or trapping season. It is one of many examples of a recovered wildlife species that highlights the work of biologists, researchers and landowners across the state. Learn more about Bobcats in Illinois here.

  • Season Dates: 10 November - 15 February, except closed during firearm deer seasons.

2018-Bobcat-Zone-Lines.jpg

  • Applying for a Permit: Hunters and trappers must possess a Bobcat Hunting and Trapping Permit before taking or attempting to harvest a bobcat. Bobcat permit applications are available online only between September 1 - 30. Applicants must submit a $5 non-refundable fee. Available permits will be allocated during a lottery and mailed to successful applicants.
  • Limit: Successful applicants may harvest one bobcat by hunting or trapping during the season. They can also fill their permit by salvaging a road-kill (during open seasons).
  • Bobcat Registration Permit: If you harvest a bobcat, you must purchase a $5 bobcat registration permit online only within 48 hours. The Department will mail you a federal CITES tag within 2-3 weeks. 
  • Bobcat Tagging Requirement: A federal CITES tag must be permanently affixed to each bobcat pelt before it is exported from the United States or transferred to a fur buyer, taxidermist, fur tanner, or garment manufacturer. 

History of the Illinois Bobcat Hunting and Trapping Season
 

The science of wildlife management has come a long way since the early 1900s when many populations of wildlife species, including bobcats, were low and mostly restricted to isolated pockets of high-quality habitat. As wildlife populations declined across the country, conservationists including hunters and trappers supported legislative changes for better management and protection of wildlife and wild places. As time and legislation (notably the Pittman Robertson Act in 1937 and the Endangered Species Act in 1973) passed, modern wildlife management concepts took shape and even predators such as bobcats and wolves were afforded some protections (this reversed decades, perhaps centuries, of persecution of predators). Before 1972, there were no limits or closed season on bobcats in Illinois. They were formally protected by the Wildlife Code in 1972 and listed as a state threatened species in 1977.

These protections combined with changes in land use, enforcement of game laws by Conservation Police and incentives for habitat restoration have turned things around for bobcats and many wildlife species in Illinois and across the United States. White-tailed deer, river otter, American badger and wild turkey are all species that were nearly extirpated from the state at the turn of the 20th century and made successful recoveries. Managers monitor the populations and allow a regulated hunting and/or trapping season that allows for limited harvest and utilization of some animals—without endangering the populations.

In cooperation with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and the Federal Aid to Wildlife Restoration (Illinois Federal Aid Project W-126-R), for several decades the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory (CWRL) at Southern Illinois University - Carbondale conducted research that focused on bobcats. Since 1995, they have radio-collared more than 120 bobcats and followed them around during their daily lives. They learned about preferred habitats, den locations, interactions with other species, survival, seasonal movements and home range size. They also collected and analyzed over 250 road-killed bobcats to learn about their diet, parasites, genetics, body condition, age, reproductive history, etc. More than 20 scholarly articles were published that investigated most aspects of bobcat ecology.

This research and various surveys have documented population growth, range expansion and increased observations of bobcats in every county. Researchers helped the IDNR get a better understanding of bobcat ecology in Illinois.  By 1999, bobcats had been reported in 99 of 102 counties and they were removed from Illinois' list of state threatened species. In 2016, Illinois joined 40 other states in the U.S. with a managed bobcat hunting and trapping season. The bobcat is one of 14 species of furbearers that have regulated hunting or trapping seasons in Illinois. It is one of many examples of a recovered wildlife species that highlights the work of biologists, researchers and landowners across the state..

IDNR asks every successful deer hunter throughout the state several questions when they harvest and check in a deer. Among these questions about the deer are a few questions on other species which include ‘How many bobcats did you see while hunting this location?’. In 2005, 4 percent of the hunters who checked in a deer saw at least one bobcat across the state. In 2018, 16 percent of the successful hunters reported seeing at least one bobcat, documenting a big increase in the percent of successful deer hunters who saw bobcats from 2005 to 2018 across the state.

Successful bobcat hunters.png
 
Percent of successful Deer Hunters who reported seeing at least one bobcat while deer hunting by Region from 2005 – 2018:

Region 1 Northwestern Illinois. 

Region 2 Northeastern Illinois. 

 

Region 3 East-Central Illinois. 


Region 4 West-Central Illinois. 


Region 5 – Southern Illinois. 

Illinois Department of Natural Resources Regions 

The biggest increase was in west-central Illinois (Region 4). Four percent of the deer hunters who checked in deer in Region 4 observed at least one bobcat in 2005. In 2018, 21.9 percent of successful deer hunters in Region 4 reported seeing a bobcat. Compare that to the traditional bobcat stronghold of southern Illinois (Region 5) where 7.8 percent of successful deer hunters reported seeing at least one bobcat in 2005 with the percentage growing to 22.6 percent by 2018.

IDNR also conducts several other annual surveys that provide indices of bobcat abundance across the state. A random sample of all resident archery deer hunters are surveyed annually by the Illinois Natural History Survey (using funds allocated from IDNR and the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act) to provide an index of the abundance and distribution of various wildlife species across the state. This survey asks hunters to report the time and location of all archery deer hunts and record observations of bobcat, coyote, deer, red and gray fox, squirrel and wild turkey. The value of these data are in the trends of the observations over time. In 1992 hunters across the state saw an average of 0.5 bobcats per 1,000 hours of observation. In 2018, hunters observed 6.5 bobcats per 1,000 hours of observation. For comparison, the same hunters saw an average of 1,096.6 deer, 36.7 coyotes and 3.5 red fox per 1,000 hours of observation in 2018. 

Archery Deer Hunter Survey Data, 2000 – 2019.

Archery Deer Hunter Survey.png

With several decades of research and multiple surveys indicating a healthy and growing population, the decision was made to start a limited, closely managed hunting and trapping season for bobcats. Applications from hunters and trappers ranged from 4500 to over 6500 over the last 5 years. 

Bobcat Hunting and Trapping Permit Applications 2016 - 2020


During the first bobcat season in 2016, 26 percent of 500 permit holders filled their permits by hunting or trapping. The next four seasons, 1,000 permits were issued per year and the success rate was 31 to 34 percent. 

Bobcat Hunting and Trapping Permits Issued 2016 - 2020

 

In 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, the number of bobcats harvested was 318, 306, 306 and 339 respectively (not counting salvage).

Annual Bobcat Harvest 2016 - 2020

The percentage of bobcats taken by hunters compared to trappers has been a little more variable. The percent of bobcats taken by trapping ranged from 35 to 46 percent per year and those taken by hunting ranged from 44 to 57 percent.

The bobcat season coincides with the regular trapping season, starting November 10 and ending February 15. Based on harvest data, many permit holders fill their tags after Christmas. Most of the deer and waterfowl seasons have passed, temperatures have dropped and pelts are prime. In 52 days of the season in November and December 2019, 36 percent of the bobcats were harvested for the season. In January and February (46 days), 64 percent of the bobcats were harvested. This suggests that either effort or the likelihood of success is greater in the second half of the season. A contributing factor could be increased daily movement of bobcats during the breeding season, especially among males. 

What does the future hold for the bobcat season in Illinois? IDNR will continue to monitor bobcats and work with researchers to increase our understanding of bobcat population dynamics, survival, occupancy and distribution across Illinois. The Department will continue to work with researchers to build on decades of bobcat research in southern and western Illinois. This work will increase our understanding of bobcats throughout Illinois and lead to better management of the species. We will continue to learn, and make adjustments as needed, to improve the management of this species and ensure that a healthy bobcat population is a part of Illinois for future generations. 

2016-17 Season

County

Archery

Gun

Trap

Salvage

 Total

ADAMS

1

1

1

 

3

ALEXANDER

 

 

2

 

2

BOND

1

 

3

1

5

BROWN

 

1

2

 

3

BUREAU

 

 

 

 

 

CALHOUN

 

2

1

 

3

CARROLL

 

1

5

 

6

CASS

 

 

2

1

3

CHRISTIAN

0

0

0

0

0

CLARK

0

0

0

0

0

CLAY

1

2

1

 

4

CLINTON

 

2

1

 

3

COLES

 

 

 

1

1

CRAWFORD

 

 

1

 

1

CUMBERLAND

 

2

 

 

2

EDGAR

 

 

1

 

1

EDWARDS

 

 

1

 

1

EFFINGHAM

 

2

 

 

2

FAYETTE

 

2

3

 

5

FRANKLIN

 

1

 

1

2

FULTON

1

1

 

 

2

GALLATIN

 

 

1

1

2

GREENE

 

2

 

 

2

HAMILTON

 

1

2

 

3

HANCOCK

 

2

 

 

2

HARDIN

 

2

 

 

2

HENDERSON

 

 

 

 

0

JACKSON

 

8

1

1

10

JASPER

 

2

2

 

4

JEFFERSON

1

5

1

 

7

JERSEY

 

 

 

 

0

JODAVIESS

1

 

 

 

1

JOHNSON

 

1

 

 

1

KNOX

 

 

 

 

 

LAWRENCE

 

 

 

 

0

LOGAN

 

 

 

 

 

MACOUPIN

 

 

 

 

0

MADISON

 

 

 

 

0

MARION

 

2

1

 

3

MARSHALL

 

 

 

 

 

MASON

 

 

 

 

0

MASSAC

1

 

 

 

1

MCDONOUGH

 

 

 

 

0

MENARD

 

 

 

 

0

MONROE

 

3

2

 

5

MONTGOMERY

 

 

 

 

0

MORGAN

 

 

 

 

0

MOULTRIE

 

 

 

 

 

OGLE

 

 

 

 

0

PEORIA

 

 

 

 

0

PERRY

 

2

 

 

2

PIKE

2

4

5

 

11

POPE

2

2

 

 

4

PULASKI

 

 

 

 

0

RANDOLPH

 

 

3

3

6

RICHLAND

 

 

 

 

0

SALINE

 

1

1

 

2

SCHUYLER

 

2

1

1

4

SCOTT

 

2

1

 

3

SHELBY

 

 

 

 

0

ST CLAIR

1

1

2

 

4

STEPHENSON

 

 

 

 

 

TAZEWELL

 

 

 

 

0

UNION

 

2

 

 

2

WABASH

 

3

 

 

3

WASHINGTON

 

 

 

 

0

WAYNE

 

1

1

 

2

WHITE

 

1

1

1

3

WHITESIDE

 

 

 

 

0

WILLIAMSON

 

3

 

 

3

WOODFORD

 

 

 

 

 

Season Total

12

69

49

11

141

Harvest (Total less salvage)

130

Applications (approx)

6500

Permits

500

Harvest (Total less salvage)

130

% Permits Filled

28.20%

% Salvage

7.80%

% Hunted

57.45%

% Trapped

34.75%

Hunter/trapper success rate

26.00%


2017-18 Season

County

Archery

Gun

Trap

Salvage

Total

ADAMS

0

4

3

3

10

ALEXANDER

0

1

2

0

3

BOND

0

1

1

0

2

BROWN

1

4

5

0

10

BUREAU

 

 

 

 

 

CALHOUN

0

3

3

1

7

CARROLL

1

1

4

0

6

CASS

0

1

5

0

6

CHRISTIAN

0

0

5

0

5

CLARK

0

6

0

0

6

CLAY

 

 

 

 

0

CLINTON

0

1

6

2

9

COLES

 

 

 

 

0

CRAWFORD

0

1

2

1

4

CUMBERLAND

0

1

1

0

2

EDGAR

0

1

3

0

4

EDWARDS

0

1

0

0

1

EFFINGHAM

0

1

4

2

7

FAYETTE

0

7

11

0

18

FRANKLIN

2

3

0

0

5

FULTON

0

1

1

2

4

Gallatin

0

0

1

1

2

GREENE

0

3

4

2

9

HAMILTON

1

1

0

1

3

HANCOCK

0

0

2

1

3

HARDIN

2

2

1

0

5

HENDERSON

0

0

1

0

1

JACKSON

3

6

0

4

13

JASPER

0

2

5

2

9

JEFFERSON

2

3

1

5

11

JERSEY

1

2

5

0

8

JODAVIESS

2

3

1

0

6

JOHNSON

2

1

1

0

4

KNOX

 

 

 

 

 

LAWRENCE

0

0

1

0

1

LOGAN

 

 

 

 

 

MACOUPIN

0

4

0

0

4

MADISON

0

0

2

2

4

MARION

1

3

3

1

8

MARSHALL

 

 

 

 

 

MASON

0

0

1

0

1

MASSAC

0

2

1

0

3

MCDONOUGH

0

1

1

0

2

MENARD

 

 

 

 

0

MONROE

0

3

9

2

14

MONTGOMERY

1

2

2

1

6

MORGAN

1

5

4

0

10

MOULTRIE

 

 

 

 

 

OGLE

 

 

 

 

0

PEORIA

 

 

 

 

0

PERRY

0

6

3

0

9

PIKE

4

6

15

2

27

POPE

0

2

0

1

3

PULASKI

0

4

0

0

4

RANDOLPH

0

9

6

1

16

RICHLAND

0

1

0

1

2

SALINE

1

3

0

0

4

SCHUYLER

0

5

3

0

8

SCOTT

0

0

1

0

1

SHELBY

0

2

3

0

5

ST CLAIR

1

0

5

2

8

STEPHENSON

 

 

 

 

 

TAZEWELL

1

0

1

0

2

UNION

0

3

3

0

6

WABASH

 

 

 

 

0

WASHINGTON

2

2

1

0

5

WAYNE

0

4

9

0

13

WHITE

0

2

1

0

3

WHITESIDE

0

0

1

0

1

WILLIAMSON

0

0

5

0

5

WOODFORD

 

 

 

 

 

Season Total

29

130

159

40

358

Harvest (Total less salvage) 

318

Applications (approx)

4500

Permits

1000

Harvest (Total less salvage)

318

% Permits filled

35.80%

% Salvage

11.17%

% Hunted

44.41%

% Trapped

44.41%

Hunter/trapper success rate

31.80%


2018-19 Season

County

Archery

Gun

Trap

Salvage

Total

ADAMS

0

2

5

3

10

ALEXANDER

0

0

1

0

1

BOND

0

4

2

0

6

BROWN

0

3

12

1

16

BUREAU

 

 

 

 

 

CALHOUN

0

4

2

0

6

CARROLL

0

1

5

0

6

CASS

0

0

1

0

1

CHRISTIAN

0

0

1

0

1

CLARK

0

1

3

0

4

CLAY

0

5

1

1

7

CLINTON

1

0

2

0

3

COLES

0

0

0

0

0

CRAWFORD

0

3

3

0

6

CUMBERLAND

0

0

0

0

0

EDGAR

0

0

4

0

4

EDWARDS

0

0

1

0

1

EFFINGHAM

0

1

2

0

3

FAYETTE

0

6

2

1

9

FRANKLIN

1

2

0

1

4

FULTON

1

1

2

0

4

Gallatin

0

1

1

0

2

GREENE

1

12

0

0

13

HAMILTON

0

1

0

1

2

HANCOCK

0

2

6

0

8

HARDIN

0

1

2

0

3

HENDERSON

0

0

2

0

2

JACKSON

2

3

1

1

7

JASPER

0

2

3

1

6

JEFFERSON

1

6

8

1

16

JERSEY

0

3

1

0

4

JODAVIESS

0

1

6

2

9

JOHNSON

0

0

1

0

1

KNOX

 

 

 

 

 

LAWRENCE

0

1

0

0

1

LOGAN

 

 

 

 

 

MACOUPIN

2

6

3

3

14

MADISON

0

2

3

0

5

MARION

1

2

0

2

5

MARSHALL

 

 

 

 

 

MASON

0

0

3

0

3

MASSAC

0

1

1

0

2

MCDONOUGH

0

1

1

0

2

MENARD

1

1

1

0

3

MONROE

0

3

5

0

8

MONTGOMERY

2

6

3

0

11

MORGAN

0

3

5

2

10

MOULTRIE

0

0

1

0

1

OGLE

0

0

1

0

1

PEORIA

0

0

1

0

1

PERRY

0

3

0

0

3

PIKE

0

6

16

0

22

POPE

1

4

0

0

5

PULASKI

0

1

0

0

1

RANDOLPH

0

3

6

1

10

RICHLAND

0

2

0

0

2

SALINE

0

5

0

0

5

SCHUYLER

0

5

4

1

10

SCOTT

0

1

1

0

2

SHELBY

0

1

1

0

2

ST CLAIR

0

2

3

2

7

STEPHENSON

0

0

0

2

2

Tazewell

0

0

0

0

0

UNION

0

0

6

0

6

WABASH

0

0

0

0

0

WASHINGTON

2

2

1

1

6

WAYNE

0

4

4

2

10

WHITE

0

2

1

0

3

Whiteside

0

1

0

0

1

WILLIAMSON

0

2

3

0

5

WOODFORD

0

0

1

0

1

Season Total

18

159

129

37

343

Harvest (Total less salvage)

306

Applications (approx)

5100

Permits

1000

Harvest (Total less salvage)

306

% Permits Filled

34.30%

% Salvage

10.79%

% Hunted

51.60%

% Trapped

37.61%

Hunter/trapper success rate

30.60%


2019-20 Season

County

Archery

Gun

Trap

Salvage

Total

ADAMS

0

2

5

3

10

ALEXANDER

0

0

1

0

1

BOND

0

4

2

0

6

BROWN

0

3

12

1

16

BUREAU

 

 

 

 

 

CALHOUN

0

4

2

0

6

CARROLL

0

1

5

0

6

CASS

0

0

1

0

1

CHRISTIAN

0

0

1

0

1

CLARK

0

1

3

0

4

CLAY

0

5

1

1

7

CLINTON

1

0

2

0

3

COLES

0

0

0

0

0

CRAWFORD

0

3

3

0

6

CUMBERLAND

0

0

0

0

0

EDGAR

0

0

4

0

4

EDWARDS

0

0

1

0

1

EFFINGHAM

0

1

2

0

3

FAYETTE

0

6

2

1

9

FRANKLIN

1

2

0

1

4

FULTON

1

1

2

0

4

GALLATIN

0

1

1

0

2

GREENE

1

12

0

0

13

HAMILTON

0

1

0

1

2

HANCOCK

0

2

6

0

8

HARDIN

0

1

2

0

3

HENDERSON

0

0

2

0

2

JACKSON

2

3

1

1

7

JASPER

0

2

3

1

6

JEFFERSON

1

6

8

1

16

JERSEY

0

3

1

0

4

JODAVIESS

0

1

6

2

9

JOHNSON

0

0

1

0

1

KNOX

 

 

 

 

 

LAWRENCE

0

1

0

0

1

LOGAN

 

 

 

 

 

MACOUPIN

2

6

3

3

14

MADISON

0

2

3

0

5

MARION

1

2

0

2

5

MARSHALL

 

 

 

 

 

MASON

0

0

3

0

3

MASSAC

0

1

1

0

2

MCDONOUGH

0

1

1

0

2

MENARD

1

1

1

0

3

MONROE

0

3

5

0

8

MONTGOMERY

2

6

3

0

11

MORGAN

0

3

5

2

10

MOULTRIE

0

0

1

0

1

OGLE

0

0

1

0

1

PEORIA

0

0

1

0

1

PERRY

0

3

0

0

3

PIKE

0

6

16

0

22

POPE

1

4

0

0

5

PULASKI

0

1

0

0

1

RANDOLPH

0

3

6

1

10

RICHLAND

0

2

0

0

2

SALINE

0

5

0

0

5

SCHUYLER

0

5

4

1

10

SCOTT

0

1

1

0

2

SHELBY

0

1

1

0

2

ST CLAIR

0

2

3

2

7

STEPHENSON

0

0

0

2

2

TAZEWELL

0

0

0

0

0

UNION

0

0

6

0

6

WABASH

0

0

0

0

0

WASHINGTON

2

2

1

1

6

WAYNE

0

4

4

2

10

WHITE

0

2

1

0

3

WHITESIDE

0

1

0

0

1

WILLIAMSON

0

2

3

0

5

WOODFORD

0

0

1

0

1

Season Total

16

135

155

29

335

Harvest (Total less salvage)

306

Applications (approx)

5800

Permits

1000

Harvest (Total less salvage)

306

% Permits filled

33.50%

% Salvage

8.66%

% Hunted

45.07%

% Trapped

46.27%

Hunter/trapper success rate

30.60%


2020-21 Season

County

Archery

Gun

Trap

Salvage

Total

ADAMS

2

4

7

1

14

ALEXANDER

0

0

0

0

0

BOND

1

5

2

1

9

BROWN

0

3

5

0

8

BUREAU

0

1

0

0

1

CALHOUN

1

5

2

1

9

CARROLL

0

1

1

0

2

CASS

2

3

4

0

9

CHRISTIAN

0

0

1

1

2

CLARK

0

3

2

0

5

CLAY

0

4

2

1

7

CLINTON

0

0

3

0

3

COLES

0

0

1

0

1

CRAWFORD

0

5

1

0

6

CUMBERLAND

0

0

2

0

2

EDGAR

0

0

3

2

5

EDWARDS

0

3

1

0

4

EFFINGHAM

1

4

0

0

5

FAYETTE

2

10

8

0

20

FRANKLIN

0

3

0

0

3

FULTON

0

4

6

0

10

GALLATIN

0

0

0

0

0

GREENE

0

6

2

1

9

HAMILTON

0

2

1

0

3

HANCOCK

1

0

2

1

4

HARDIN

0

2

0

0

2

HENDERSON

0

0

1

0

1

JACKSON

0

3

4

0

7

JASPER

0

4

4

1

9

JEFFERSON

0

8

4

0

12

JERSEY

0

4

4

0

8

JODAVIESS

0

1

1

1

3

JOHNSON

1

3

3

0

7

KNOX

0

0

2

0

2

LAWRENCE

1

0

2

1

4

LOGAN

0

0

2

1

3

MACOUPIN

1

11

5

0

17

MADISON

0

2

2

0

4

MARION

0

6

5

1

12

MARSHALL

0

0

1

0

1

MASON

0

0

2

0

2

MASSAC

1

0

0

0

1

MCDONOUGH

0

1

0

0

1

MENARD

1

0

1

0

2

MONROE

0

3

2

0

5

MONTGOMERY

0

3

4

0

7

MORGAN

1

2

4

0

7

MOULTRIE

0

0

1

0

1

OGLE

0

1

1

0

2

PEORIA

0

0

1

0

1

PERRY

0

5

0

1

6

PIKE

1

6

6

1

14

POPE

0

3

0

0

3

PULASKI

0

0

2

0

2

RANDOLPH

2

5

1

1

9

RICHLAND

0

2

1

0

3

SALINE

0

2

1

0

3

SCHUYLER

0

5

2

0

7

SCOTT

0

1

3

0

4

SHELBY

0

3

1

1

5

ST CLAIR

0

1

2

1

4

STEPHENSON

0

1

3

1

5

TAZEWELL

0

0

0

0

0

UNION

0

2

0

0

2

WABASH

0

0

1

0

1

WASHINGTON

1

3

2

1

7

WAYNE

0

7

2

0

9

WHITE

0

3

2

1

6

WHITESIDE

0

0

0

0

0

WILLIAMSON

1

6

2

0

9

WOODFORD

0

0

0

0

0

Season Total

21

175

143

22

361

Harvest (Total less salvage)

339

Applications (approx)

6500

Permits

1000

Harvest (Total less salvage)

339

% Permits Filled

36.10%

% Salvage

6.09%

% Hunted

54.29%

% Trapped

39.61%

Hunter/trapper success rate

33.90%