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Indiana bobcats in the crosshairs, again

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After years of trying and failing, Indiana lawmakers have put bobcats in the crosshairs.
The decision forces the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to create the hunting season framework and ignited fierce debate among lawmakers, wildlife advocates and hunters regarding the necessity and ethics of targeting Indiana’s only native wild cat species.
Samantha Chapman, Indiana state director for The Humane Society of the United States, argued the bobcat population is still in the process of recovering in Indiana.
“Throughout the committee process, it was very clear that the hunter and trapping lobby had a lot to do with this bill,” Chapman asserted. “Folks have even mentioned wanting to eat bobcats, which to me seems absolutely preposterous.”
Chapman stressed experts need scientific data before targeting the wild cats. Proponents claim they are having issues with disappearing cottontail rabbits and said the bobcat population is getting out of control, especially in southern Indiana.
Sen. Scott Baldwin, R-Noblesville, authored the bill. He said the DNR has many people with varying opinions, and they sometimes need to be nudged.
Ernie Nichols, a member of the Indiana State Trappers Association, encouraged lawmakers to eat bobcat meat.
“First off, tastes great. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a chance to eat it but it’s delicious,” Nichols stated. “Second off, on the state DNR website from calendar year ’22 to ’23 there has been a 118% increase in confirmed bobcat sightings.”
Opponents claim hunters want to take the cats for the fur or a trophy and argued wildlife belongs to all Hoosiers and should be held in public trust. The DNR has remained neutral throughout the contentious debate and is tasked with creating the new season to hunt and trap bobcats, possibly as soon as July 2025.

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