September 9, 2019

California: Bobcat Hunting Ban Looming

Contact: Aoibheann Cline, Western States Coordinator

AB 1254 would ban bobcat hunting in California until 2025, after which the state’s Fish and Game Commission would be authorized to reopen a bobcat hunting season after adoption of a bobcat management plan.

When the bill was introduced, AB 1254 was an outright ban of bobcat hunting in California. In response, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) joined a coalition of wildlife conservation organizations in strong opposition to the bill and successfully amended AB 1254 to include a sunset on the ban in 2025. The coalition argued that regulation of bobcat hunting should be based on best-available science and wildlife management principles and as such, should be left to the California Fish and Game Commission, rather than a politically motivated legislature. California’s Fish and Game Commission President Erik Sklar testified against the bill urging the legislature to leave the decision to the Commission to allow public input as well as for the decision to be based on best available science presented by both opponents and proponents alike.

CSF stayed engaged in AB 1254 as it moved through the legislature in strong opposition in the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife CommitteeAssembly Appropriations Committee, Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, and Senate Appropriations Committee.

Despite subsequent efforts by CSF and our partner organizations, the most recent amendments to AB 1254 in the Senate Appropriations Committee, would effectively allow the legislature to keep the ban in place indefinitely by not appropriating the funds to develop the bobcat management plan. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) estimates the cost of developing this plan would cost $2.5 million.

The bill is now on the Senate floor and can be brought up for a vote at any time. Conservation groups in opposition of this bill are working tirelessly to prevent this legislation from moving forward, but we need your help.

Call your Senator and urge them to vote no on AB 1254. For information on how to contact your Senator, please reach out to Aoibheann Cline, Western States Coordinator at 916-633-3664 or

Should this bill pass, CSF will continue to work toward securing the funding necessary to complete CDFW’s bobcat management plan, paving the way to reopen bobcat hunting in 2025. 

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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