hunting

Illinois draws about 512,000 hunters every year. Now, a group is promoting how that number affects the state's economy.

The group, called "Hunting Works for Illinois," said the money that hunters spend on equipment, travel, food and lodging creates a "ripple effect" by adding jobs and maintaining local economies.

"Money" By Flickr User Pictures of Money / (CC BY 2.0)

Conservation officers in Illinois and Indiana say they've issued more than $85,000 in fines to hunters who falsely claimed residency in either state to get a hunting permit at a cheaper rate.

Illinois Conservation Police Sgt. David Hyatt says the joint "Operation Double Dip" started in early 2015 and ran through 2016.

He says the investigation "protects the privileges of our legitimate resident hunters." Both states have laws that say a person may only claim residency in one state at a time when buying a resident hunting or fishing license.

Illinois DNR website

Bobcats have been considered a threatened species in Illinois since the 1970's, but not now.

Sen. John Sullivan, a Democrat from Rushville, explained it when legislators debated lifting the bobcat hunting ban.

"I used to never see a bobcat, now it's uncommon to go to the woods and not see bobcats. And not one or two, but three or four of five or six of 'em," Sullivan said.

The hunting and trapping season begins in November. For the rare hunter who gets a permit, that is.

Gov. Rauner Signs Youth Hunting Bills

Aug 22, 2016
Carl Nelson/WNIJ

  Illinois has new rules on youth hunting.   Governor Bruce Rauner signed several bills into law, one of which expanded state programs to include trapping.  Another adds a weekend to the youth turkey hunting season.  When signing the bills, Rauner reflected on how he started hunting.  

Not so long ago, prior to 1999, Illinois considered bobcats a threatened species. Come winter, hunters will be able to harvest the cats.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is an avid hunter -- of birds. No word on if that hobby contributed to his decision to sign a new law, authorizing bobcat hunting.

His office sent word of his signature without comment.

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