Why It Matters: Despite a steady increase in bobcat populations in Indiana, there is not currently a season in place for sportsmen and women to harvest the elusive predator. A bill that would establish such a season has now made its way through the Indiana Senate, and Hoosier sportsmen and women are one step closer to contributing to the management efforts of the species through hunting and trapping.
- Senate Bill 241, which would require that the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) establish a season to take bobcats, would reserve decision-making authority on season dates, quotas, or other restrictions to the DNR.
- After advancing through Committee, the bill was voted on in the Senate, where both Senate Co-Chairs of the Indiana Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, Senator Jim Tomes (R) and Senator Dave Niezgodski (D), voted in favor.
- The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) will continue to support this bill through the legislative process, recognizing that regulated harvest by sportsmen and women is critical to the continued success of conservation in the Hoosier State.
Last month, CSF submitted written testimony in support of Indiana Senate Bill 241 (SB 241), which would require the Indiana DNR to establish a season to take bobcats, while retaining the DNR’s authority to promulgate the specifics surrounding such a season. By using the word “take,” SB 241’s language also reserves discretion to the agency as to whether bobcats, a noteworthy predator, may be harvested during a trapping season, hunting season, or both. SB 241 represents an important step for the DNR in their mission to utilize regulated hunting and trapping in the management of the state’s growing bobcat population.
Like all state fish and wildlife management agencies, the Indiana DNR is staffed with natural resource professionals that have experience and expertise, making it the entity that is best suited to establish season dates, harvest quotas, and other harvest restrictions. Senate Bill 241 protects this authority while increasing opportunities for Hoosier hunters and trappers to harness their passion for our time-honored sporting traditions to manage a predator that has steadily spread across the state.
Following the bill’s successful passage in the Senate, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation will continue to support SB 241 in the Indiana House to ensure that Hoosier hunters and trappers have the opportunity to harvest bobcats, aiding the DNR in its mission of conserving the state’s natural resources through active, science-based management.