Editorial: Veto bobcat hunting bill


Written By Sun-Times Editorial Board Posted: 06/07/2015, 03:39pm
(AP Photo/The Wildlife Center, Alissa Mundt)

If lawmakers can’t tell the different between a saber-toothed tiger, which preyed on elephants and rhinos, and a bobcat, which eats mice and rats, it’s no wonder the Legislature passed a foolish bill to allow bobcat hunting in Illinois.


Gov. Bruce Rauner should veto the bill before lawmakers start comparing the shy, elusive bobcats to marauding dragons.

Bobcats have only recently recovered from the overhunting that put them on Illinois’ threatened species list, but they are not back in large numbers. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop the Legislature from voting to allow bobcat hunting again for the first time in 40 years.

One lawmaker during the debate compared bobcats to the fearsome saber-toothed tiger. Another lawmaker called bobcats ferocious. To hear the debate, laments the Humane Society of the United States, you wouldn’t know there’s no record of a bobcat killing a human — ever.

The bobcats, though, are at risk — of being caught in leghold traps that can cause them to suffer for hours or of dying in other painful ways.

The real reason people want to hunt bobcats is because they make good trophies and their valuable spotted pelts can be sold on the international market. That’s not a good enough reason to put the species in jeopardy again. People in other countries can make their mittens out of something else.

At first the House of Representatives voted to reject this law, but then flip-flopped and passed it narrowly. They had it right the first time.

Let’s hope Gov. Rauner knows the difference between a saber-toothed tiger and a bobcat and vetoes this bill.

End Bobcat Trapping in California


(Photo:mlorenzphotography/Getty Images)

At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature — to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive.

About the Letter

Over the past few years, a rising demand for bobcat pelts in China and Russia has driven up fur prices and caused a boom in bobcat trapping in California. As a result, trappers have been targeting the boundaries of national parks, luring the cats out of these safe havens and into their deadly snares and cages. The California legislature passed the Bobcat Protection Act of 2013 to protect our parks and wildlife from such commercial exploits. Yet the problem continues because trapping continues in other parts of the state and because the law has yet to be truly enforced.

The California Fish and Game Commission is tasked with this rule making, and one option it is now seriously considering is a statewide ban on all bobcat trapping. But the commission will only choose that option if it hears loud and clear that we value our wildlife alive—not trapped, killed, skinned, and exported to be worn as fur coats in Moscow or Beijing.

Take action—urge the commission to protect these ecologically important California natives by banning all bobcat trapping throughout the state.


Killing Coyotes, Bobcats and Foxes for Fun and Profit

Killing Coyotes, Bobcats and Foxes for Fun and Profit


Dead coyotes in a cage on top of a truck at the West Texas Big Bobcat Contest

Standing in a West Texas sporting goods store parking lot on a recent Sunday morning, Margaret Lloyd felt like she’d wandered onto the set of a gory movie. The lot was packed with trucks full of dead coyotes, foxes and the occasional bobcat; one pickup had a cage welded to its bed, and it was crammed with carcasses. “It was one wave of fur, tails on top of ears and ears on top of tails,” she said. “It was just horrifying.”

Around back, participants in the West Texas Big Bobcat Contest were weighing their kill in a competition to see who had shot the biggest bobcat and the most coyotes, gray foxes and bobcats in a 23-hour period. Some $76,000 in prize money was at stake — more than $31,000 went to the team that bagged a 32 pound bobcat. Other jackpot winners were a four-man team that killed 63 foxes, a team that killed 8 bobcats, and another that killed 32 coyotes.

Photo of Geoff Nemnich of Coyote Craze with his sons

Lloyd, a retired lawyer who lives in Galveston, grew up in the South among hunters and says she’s not opposed to killing animals for food or to protect a herd.

“This is not hunting,” she said. “This is a blood sport, plain and simple.”

Contests like these — often called coyote calling contests, varmint hunts or predator hunts — have become popular events, especially in the Midwest and West. The website CoyoteContest.com lists 21 states with upcoming or recent killing contests, including Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, South Dakota and Utah.

The Big Bobcat competition in San Angelo, Texas started in 2008 with just 21 teams, but drew 380 teams to the contest last month. “They’re growing exponentially,” said Geoff Nemnich, a champion coyote hunter who is cashing in on the phenomenon. His website, Coyote Craze, exhorts visitors to “Feed Your Addiction” and offers videos of coyotes being dispatched by high-powered weapons, along with t-shirts that read “Coyotes Fear Me,” and depict dead coyotes hanging by their feet. “Almost every weekend you can find [a contest] somewhere within driving distance,” he said.

Dead coyotes at the West Texas Big Bobcat Contest

But as these contests proliferate, efforts to stop them are, too. In December, California Fish and Game Commission outlawed contests that award prizes for killing wildlife (the ban takes effect in April). Legislation to bar such contests passed the New Mexico state senate but died in the house. In Nevada, a petition to prohibit predator-killing contests is pending before the state Board of Wildlife Commissioners. And protesters blasting the events as indiscriminate slaughter have been demonstrating outside of contests and related events, like the Predator Masters convention in Arizona in January.

Wildlife defenders cite research that suggests killing adult coyotes may actually increase the population, since it allows more pups to survive. Predators like coyotes also fill an important role in the ecosystem by helping keep the population of rodents in check.

Jeremy Harrison, a fifth-generation rancher, organized the Big Bobcat contest in Texas. He said coyote contests do a public service by reducing the number of livestock predators and protecting the public from rabies. “This is not bashing baby seals in the head,” he said.

To those who are offended, he has simple advice: Butt out. “It’s none of their business. It has nothing to do with them,” he said. “It’s one of the best things about this beautiful state of Texas. We have 100 percent support from Texas and from the local people. If they don’t like it, they can just stay away from it.”

Opponents of these events call people like Harrison “thrill killers.” And there is a jarring sort of gleefulness that surrounds the slaughter — one Arizona group holds a Santa Slay hunt in December each year. Nemnich posts excerpts from his videos, which are sold at Cabela’s and similar stores, on YouTube. Set to stirring martial music, one sizzle reel shows coyote after coyote being called and then gunned down.

Photo of Margaret Lloyd

Nemnich, who said his videos portray hunting “in the best light possible”, encourages others not to post “distasteful” images because it will provoke animal rights groups or turn people who are neutral against hunting. “You don’t go and post a video of a coyote with his guts blown out on Facebook,” he said. “It just fuels the fire.”

Nemnich, who boasts on his website that two of his sons bagged their first coyotes at the age of five, said he gets a steady stream of hate mail. One message said his kids should be “gut shot” like the coyotes in the video. (“And I’m the barbarian?” he said.) He thinks the critics of coyote killing contests have a bigger agenda — to ban hunting altogether. “We’re killing animals for money and prizes. That’s the easiest way for them to get their foot in the door,” he said.

Both Nemnich and Harrison pointed out that the federal government kills thousands of coyotes each year. They said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services division uses much less “sportsmanlike” means, such as poisons and leg-hold traps.

Contests are completely legal, Nemnich said. “Some may consider it ethically wrong, but hunting has been around forever, it’s who we are out in this part of the country.”

Lloyd stopped to take pictures of the bobcat contest while driving from New Mexico back to Texas.

She said the spectacle was sickening, not a source of pride. With a breaking voice she said, “It was a sight and a situation that I’ll never shake for the rest of my life. I will never forget what I saw. A parking lot of absolute death at the hands of a civilized society.” She paused, and then corrected herself: “A supposedly civilized society.”

Photos of the winners of the West Texas Big Bobcat Contest, February 2014

Myron Levin and Stuart Silverstein contributed to this story.

Correction: An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated that the Santa Slay event is in New Mexico. It takes place in Arizona.

– See more at: http://www.fairwarning.org/2015/03/mowing-down-coyotes-bobcats-and-foxes-for-fun-and-profit/#sthash.uqKtzwU2.dpuf

Unsworth is Unworthy for Washington Wildlife

The Governor must First approve Unsworth as the new Director of WDFW…..We can’t let this happen!! He’s an avowed wolf hater!! Here is WA Governor Inslee’s contact info…PLEASE call the Governor ASAP and Say NO to Unsworth!!!
More info from Jerry:
Idaho exported George Pauley to Montana and now Jim Unsworth to Washington….two avowed wolf haters. Look what Pauley has done in Montana and you can expect the same from Unsworth. To my knowledge Unsworth does not have a fisheries background which you’d think would be very important with the very complicated fisheries situation we have in Washington….seems that didn’t matter to the commissioners. Would like to know which commissioners voted for him…

Meanwhile in Illinois, Proof that Governors can occasionally do good things for wildlife, Illinois Gov. just vetoed a bill that would have allowed bobcat hunting there:

Gov. Quinn vetoes bill to allow Illinois bobcat hunting

Sunday, January 11, 2015 04:27PM

Gov. Pat Quinn on Sunday vetoed a bill to allow bobcat hunting in Illinois for the first time in more than 40 years, saying the small, nocturnal cats “continue to need protection” even though they have been removed from the threatened species list.

Quinn issued a brief statement in which he said allowing hunting would violate a responsibility to maintain Illinois wildlife.

“Bobcats are a valuable part of Illinois’ ecosystem and continue to need protection,” he said.

His decision ignores the recommendation of the state Department of Natural Resources, which supported a hunting season as a way to help in long-term management of the species…


[Just how hunting them would help the bobcats was not clear, but the misguided policy falls in line with wildlife “management” actions nationwide.


Bobcat fur farm wants to move to Montana

GREAT FALLS – The owners of a commercial bobcat fur farm are looking to
relocate from the bustling oilfield region in western North Dakota to a
quieter area in central Montana.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Park is taking public comments on the proposed
150-foot-by-140-foot animal facility where bobcats would be housed in
separate pens inside the facility near Roy in Fergus County.

Larry Schultz, who owns the business with his wife, says the facility would
raise bobcats for their furs, which would be sold in the commercial fur
industry worldwide.

Schultz says that bobcat fur is used for trim, hats and coats in some

Schultz says noise and dust from oil drilling near their farm in Arnegard in
western North Dakota isn’t good for raising bobcats.


D-CON: the Poison that Keeps on Killing

Text and Photography ©Jim Robertson

Text and Photography ©Jim Robertson

Earlier this month, my wife and I tried out a job as caretakers of a river front lodge in the heart of the Oregon Coast Range. It sounded idyllic, but on closer examination we found that the whole place was overrun by rats and mice. They had made themselves at home in the “trophy lodge’s” basement, attic, and furnace room and even throughout the heat ducting system (which—judging by the smell—they must have considered their own private out house).

Had the lodge owner even hinted at the “rodent situation” (as he later put it) ahead of time, we would never have moved our cats and dog in without first asking if there had been any poisons used around there. Well, it turns out there had—someone put fresh d-CON in all the heating vents, and who knows where else around the “estate.”

Among the sinister side effects of d-CON is that it kills slowly and stays in the victim’s body, allowing them to wander far from the source before a predator or scavenger consumes them, spreading the poison to an entire food chain. Needless to say, we gathered up our companion animals and got the hell out of there.

But about a week after we got back home, our worst fears were realized. One of our adopted cats, Caine, a gray tabby in the prime of his life with a black belt in the art of mousing, started showing the tell-tale symptoms of d-CON poisoning. He refused to eat or drink and slept round the clock. His lethargy grew more pronounced until he eventually tuned everyone else out, as though preparing to pass on. If we hadn’t rushed him to the vet, where he received IV fluids and an emergency injection of vitamin K to counter-act the lethal anti-coagulant agent in the poison, he would have died like so many other wild and domestic animals (including people) before him.

The problem is so extensive that the manufacturers of d-CON recently agreed to stop production of this particular rodenticide.  Though it’s now banned in California, stockpiles still exist in stores throughout the rest of the country. And this insidious gold-standard—this household name in “pest control”—has surely found its way to all corners of the globe by now and will keep doing its damage for years to come. How many cats, bobcats and cougars, dogs, coyotes, mink, ermine, opossum, raccoons, owls, hawks and eagles will suffer a drawn-out death from this pervasive poison before the sale of d-CON is completely discontinued?

In a way, Caine was one of the lucky few. Most rodent-eaters don’t have companion humans who care about them enough to nurse them back to health.


While on the Other Side of Illinois

Illinois House OKs measure to allow bobcat hunting

Friday, March 28, 2014

FILE - In this 1996 file photo, a bobcat is seen in a tree at Wildlife Prairie Park in Peoria, Ill. Illinois lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow bobcat hunting for the first time in more than 40 years. The Illinois House voted 91-20 Thursday in favor of the measure. It now goes to the Senate. Photo: Dennis Magee, AP / Herald & Review

FILE – In this 1996 file photo, a bobcat is seen in a tree at Wildlife Prairie Park in Peoria, Ill. Illinois lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow bobcat hunting for the first time in more than 40 years. The Illinois House voted 91-20 Thursday in favor of the measure. It now goes to the Senate. Photo: Dennis Magee, AP

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow bobcat hunting for the first time in more than 40 years.

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reports (http://bit.ly/1iI5vfM) the Illinois House voted 91-20 Thursday in favor of the measure. It now goes to the Senate.

Illinois banned hunting of the nocturnal animal in 1972. Bobcats were on the threatened species list from 1977 to 1999.

But supporters say the population has made a comeback.

Republican state Rep. Wayne Rosenthal of Morrisonville is the bill’s sponsor.

He says the bobcat population is growing in rural, non-farming areas of western and southern Illinois.

The hunting and trapping season would occur sometime between Nov. 1 and Feb. 15. A hunter would be allowed to kill one bobcat per year.



Mendocino County supervisors back hunting with hounds



Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson


March 11, 2014

Mendocino County supervisors on Tuesday unanimously voted to support a bill that would overturn a year-old state ban on hunting bears and bobcats with hounds.

Assembly Bill 2205 would allow individual counties to decide whether to ban the use of hunting dogs to chase down and kill those animals.

“I think you guys should have the authority,” not somebody from Los Angeles or San Francisco, said Daniel Davis, a local member of California Houndsmen for Conservation, the bill’s sponsor.

The bill was introduced late last month by Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican candidate for governor and gun-rights advocate. Supervisor John Pinches asked that a letter of support for the bill be placed on the board’s agenda.

“This is an issue where we can basically take control,” he said Tuesday.

California’s ban on hounds for sports hunting has been in effect since January 2013. It continues to allow the use of hounds to hunt errant bears that cause property damage.

The ban was sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States.

No one at Tuesday’s meeting spoke in opposition to the newly proposed bill but national Humane Society officials said they are dismayed by the attempt to revive hound hunts. They called it “unsporting, cruel and unnecessary.”

Four Mendocino County residents, including Davis, his mother and father, and Steve Johnson spoke in favor of overturning the ban.

Johnson, a winemaker, said he moved to a rural area because “I want to have my dogs, I want to hunt bears,” he said. “It’s what I like to do.”

“Me and my dad, this is our passion,” Davis said.

Supervisor Carre Brown said allowing houndsmen to hunt bears reduces the number of bears that get into trouble and must be killed by federal trappers.

“Management of marauding wildlife I think is very important,” she said.

Pinches said hound hunting also draws tourism dollars.

“You’ve got to give people things to do,” he said.

The other three supervisors did not comment.

You can reach Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or glenda.anderson@pressdemocrat.com

“Kill ‘Em All Boyz” Are “Ethical Hunters” Once Again

Ever since a friend sent me an article from back in 2006 about the poaching ring4cbfbced5cc75_image who gave themselves the narcissistic name the “Kill ‘Em All Boyz,” I’ve been wondering when they would be back in the Washington state “game” department’s good graces and be allowed to hunt again.

I found the answer in an October 20, 2008 article by the Daily Astorian entitled “Tip alerted WDFW officials to poaching gang” which reported that Micky Ray Gordon, ringleader of the “Kill ‘Em All Boyz” (who pleaded guilty to pleaded guilty to charges of first-degree animal cruelty, illegal hunting with hounds, second-degree criminal trespass and third-degree malicious mischief and was sentenced in ‘08 to 13 months in prison, following a seven-month undercover investigation by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) would be eligible to purchase a hunting license again after only five years of suspension.

The other poachers were given even more lenient sentences, with even shorter
suspensions before they could hunt again. According to the article, “Brian Hall, 20, pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal trespass, third-degree malicious mischief and second-degree hunting with dogs. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and $1,500 in fines, and will not be eligible to purchase a hunting license for two years. Adam Lee, 21, pleaded guilty to hunting with a suspended license and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and $1,850 in fines. And Joseph Dills, 23, pleaded guilty to a variety of charges, ranging from second-degree big-game hunting to using bait to hunt for bear. His total penalties amounted to 65 days in jail and $2,050 in fines.” At their press time, “Dills [was] pending trial in Lewis County on charges of committing other hunting violations.”

The article also states that this “case has provoked outrage among the hunting community in Southwest Washington and Northwest Oregon, in part because of the nature of the crimes but also because Gordon and his gang were initially referred to as “hunters” and not “poachers.” That sentiment was echoed by a comment I received earlier today from a hunter who piously stated, “Please remember. These are poachers, not to be confused with legal, ethical, ‘pay for conservation’ hunters.”

Well, they can go out and buy a hunting license now, just as legally as anyone. Does that make them different people? Are they “ethical” hunters again now that they’re
1800308_664612120267816_1839536551_nallowed to re-up their annual hunting licenses and bear, elk, deer, cougar,
bobcat, etc., etc. tags? How do these former poachers’ mindsets differ from the
average hunters? Is it just a matter of how many they killed at one time; or
the fact that they were not playing fair by the law-abiding hunters?

Poachers or not, it’s all ends the same for the animals they killed.

Anyone who witnesses a wildlife violation call WDFW’s toll-free Poaching Hotline at (877) 933-9847


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 677 other followers