California bill would end trophy hunting of bobcats

By on March 29, 2019 with 34 Comments

A bill introduced in California this week would end all trophy hunting of bobcats, making the Golden State the first in the union to move decisively to protect one of our country’s most iconic native carnivores.

Assembly bill 1254, introduced by Assembly Member Sydney Kamlager-Dove, D-Los Angeles, would make it unlawful to trophy hunt bobcats, unless an individual animal poses a danger to humans or livestock. While some states have added temporary bans on trophy hunting bobcats after their numbers dropped too low because of hunting, trapping and habitat loss, the bill in California goes above and beyond by taking a proactive step to end needless and cruel trophy hunting before the animals are pushed to the verge of extinction.

Bobcats are currently trophy hunted in 40 states. Our wildlife team and our state directors have been working to end this practice, and we’ve successfully prevented recent efforts in some states, including New Hampshire, Indiana and Ohio, to open up trapping and trophy hunting of bobcats. The California bill is an urgent priority for us.

Over the past decade, trophy hunters have killed more than 10,000 bobcats in California. This has happened despite a series of protections put in place by citizens and lawmakers. In 1998, voters passed Proposition 4 to ban the use of steel-jawed, leghold and other body-gripping traps used to capture and hold wildlife, including bobcats. In 2012, the California legislature banned the cruel hound hunting of bobcats and black bears. Legislators quickly followed up with the passage of the Bobcat Protection Act in 2013, which limited bobcat trapping, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife banned commercial and recreational bobcat trapping altogether in 2015.

There is no good reason to kill bobcats. These elusive and beautiful animals are only slightly larger than most house cats, and weigh between 16 and 30 pounds. They pose no significant risk to livestock and a recently released HSUS report shows bobcats did not kill any cattle or sheep in California in 2014 and 2015, the two latest years for which data was available. The only people who benefit from killing them are trophy hunters looking to decorate their living rooms with bobcats’ body parts, or trappers hoping to make a few bucks by selling pelts.

Bobcats are an integral part of California’s native landscape, and they support the health of the state’s natural ecosystems. These small carnivores primarily eat a variety of rodents, squirrels, rabbits and other small animals. Bobcat kittens are highly dependent on their mothers for up to 10 months, and when a mother bobcat falls to a trophy hunter, her kittens could die from starvation or predation by other animals.

In recent years, bobcats have also faced a growing threat from California’s urban development, which has been eating away at their habitats. The recent drought and deadly wildfires that have plagued the state have left these animals struggling even more to forage and survive in an ever-changing environment.

Passage of the legislation in California would be a landmark victory and we’ll be putting all of our might behind it to push it to the finish line. We know Californians value animal protection — the state banned mountain lion hunting as far back as 1971, and has passed and enacted some of the most progressive laws in just the last year on farm animal welfare, ending cosmetics testing and ending puppy mill sales in pet stores.

If you live in the state, we’ll be counting on your help in the days to come. Please reach out to your Assembly member. Ask them to support AB 1254 and end the trophy hunting of bobcats for good.

Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Linda Winter says:

    So happy to see this much-needed bill introduced. And luckily the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust protects 13 sanctuaries in the state of California encompassing 4,042 acres where bobcats and other wildlife will never be hunted or trapped. For more information visit:

    • Backcountry says:

      Happy to see this bill is going to be over turned because of the financial impact it will have on the State. This year, all state legislators have been awesome and are finally seeing through the emotional lies and noticing the hard facts. Scientific facts will always support hunting and trapping. Call it trophy hunting, meat hunting, hunting, whatever. Conservation dollars raised by hunters and trappers does more good for wildlife than any animal rights group out there. Facts beat emotion

  2. michele obrien says:

    Good…in NJ where I live there USED to be Bobcats but they have been pretty much wiped out. I think that someone claimed they spotted one or two fairly recently but don’t worry….some imbecile of a hunter will probably shoot them.

  3. TJ says:

    Where is your evidence that hunters are only hunting them as trophies? Do you have any evidence to show that they are not being used as food?

  4. Isiah Thompson says:

    Does California hate their Bird, Deer and Elk population? Bears are the only predators that can smell fresh born fawns. Bobcats destroy our quail populations and are beyond overpopulated and still very easily kill fawns. Bobcats can way 30 pounds very easily. Lions don’t just kill the weak deer, they kill the healthiest and strongest of the bunch and I have pictures and videos to prove that. California is so caught up with trying to “save the pretty animals” that they are not paying attention to what our deer and elk numbers are doing and it’s truly a sad sight to see. I had no idea there were this many people out there that hate our deer and Elk. They have little defense to all of these predators.

    • Kim Montayne says:

      Let me just guess. For an exotic animal dinner held at some hall. A friends husband took her to one. She was discussed by what she saw. Most of the food was wasted. Just a bunch of idiots bragging about all the animals they have killed . And of course lots of alcohol , 50 -50 drawings and raffles. And really does any one NEED to eat a cat of any kind. What a horrible world we are making. Eventually we will have killed all the animals. And then we will just have each other to kill.

    • Kim Montayne says:

      Lol. A little bobcat can take down a deer or an elk. Maybe a sick or starving baby.

    • Connie Doherty says:

      I see more quail in the areas I see Bobcats then anywhere else in the state. It’s people hunting quail , fowl , deer and elk. Bobcats are more rodent killers.

  5. Juan Valdez says:

    I feel using the term ‘trophy hunter’ is taking things a little too far. Are these animals endangered?

  6. Dale Davis says:

    I hunt bobcat. I eat what I hunt. It’s ignorant to say there’s no good reason to hunt bobcat. Bobcat—like all species—need to be regulated so they don’t become a nuisance to other species like quail and rabbits. According to CA DFW, the ban on mountain lion hunting in CA led to an 80% reduction in deer herds. These feel-good laws are based on feelings rather than science.

    • Steven Dylan says:

      There is no good reason to kill these beautiful animals. Trophy hunters often use the word “conservation” as a red herring to justify their despicable acts. I have never been able to understand the culture and mentality of hanging an animal’s head on the wall. It’s just plain sick.

  7. James Rios says:

    Trophy hunting??? Predator control perhaps . The bobcat is not a trophy animal at all. An animal that can get overpopulated and affect overstressed game and non game animals alike.

  8. Robert Koeck says:

    Stop trophy hunting of all wildlife.

  9. Ann says:

    This needs to end. We got to stop hunting these beautiful animals

  10. Mary McCarthy says:

    Stop abusing our planets animals for greedy people making money from the exploitation

    • Connor Jopson says:

      The only one making money for hunting Bobcats is the State that collects a tag fee for the legal harvest of the animal. That money is then used for the management and conservation of the animals and its ecosystem.

  11. Carole Chen-Garson says:

    We need to pass this bill. It’s horrible to hunt them. They have every right to live. They are God’s creatures

  12. Brenda Robinson says:

    No animal should die for trophy hunting.

  13. Barbra Premo says:

    What part of wrong do you have to be forever told. Trophy hunting for ANYTHING is wrong. It unbalances nature, it destroys the animals for NO damn reason. Not a reason in the world to allow this. I don’t give a crap what the hunters want, it is immoral, heinous, cruelty at its finest, and outrageous. Only the sadistic minds find it ok, with no compassion, feelings or care for the animals, the planet.

    • Manfred says:

      I grew up hunting and trapping, I have family that rely on the sale of their pelts to make it through winter months. We eat what we trap and process the parts of the animals to use as much as we know how. It is not what many would define as “trophy hunting” it is hunting for sustenance, a big bobcat pelt will bring over $1000 for the family, the Deer and Elk meat goes a long way but can not supplement fresh vegetables bought at the store (money raised by trapping) I live in California but I hunt/trap in Oregon (Only because my tribe was removed from their natural lands by the government for farmers and ranchers to “improve the lands” to introduce non native species of plants and animals for food production) . That is where my Reservation is. Not all hunting or trapping is for trophy. If it weren’t for our sovereign land and having the knowledge to hunt and trap much of my family would not be able to remain self sufficient and supplement their meager incomes. Just because you don’t understand all of the intricacies of something, doesn’t make it wrong or immoral, it just makes it different. We don’t all have to agree but we do have to live together. What is good for one person isn’t always good for another.

      I happen to personally donate portions of carcasses as well as process carcasses to my local wildlife shelter, I do care about these same animals I hunt. Most hunters and trappers I know and associate with do as well, we actually see first hand what poor conservation habits do to our wildlife and fish populations.

      I am Modoc, I choose to hunt, trap, fish and gather so that the traditions of my ancestors are not completely lost.

  14. Matthew says:

    Try banning urban sprawl which kills more wildlife combined than any type of hunting.

  15. Brandon Pacheco says:

    Since the state banned recreational mountain lion hunting, fish and game now uses tax dollars to pay state employed hunters to keep the population under control. The biologists have a suggested number of lions that the ecosystem can handle and used that number to allot the number of tags available to paying public hunters. That money is used for wildlife research as well as restoration of habitat. Now the same number of lions are killed each year but it uses tax money to do so and there’s no money to use for wildlife efforts. There has to be a balance of these predators especially with urban sprawl, as there is nothing to control their population growth other than starvation. Some may say we can have a tax to help supply the funds for the needed wildlife research and restoration, but in a state already known for it’s large tax burden, it’s hard to understand why the fund’s available from hunters willing to pay for tags isn’t a desirable option when these lions will be controlled by humans one way or another.

  16. Susan says:

    Hope they ban all hunting activities. I hate hunters! They are simply cruel beings!

    • Manfred says:

      Just because you hire others to do your killing for what you eat doesn’t make you any better than those that choose to do it themselves. Obviously you are ignorant to hunting and the fact that cruelty is sternly frowned upon but true hunters.

      Even Vegans kill and destroy living matter, do plants have less importance? It’s still destroying something alive!

  17. Warren says:

    This has recently come up in my facebook feed. I thought to myself “there’s lots of bobcats”.

    Then I thought about how I was thinking about bobcats. Being up here in central British Columbia, I was thinking “there’s lots of bobcats… in British Columbia” I wasn’t thinking “there’s lots of bobcats in California”

    So I then thought “well maybe there’s legit reason to shut down the hunting and trapping of bobcats in California”

    But after reading, this… whatever this is… only number I could find is 1000 bobcats a year are killed over the last 10 years. Well how many bobcats are in California? I’m thinking this just may be a clone of the cougar hunt.

    How come you guys aren’t trying to re-establish the grizzly bear population in California? I’ll pay to relocate some of these British Columbian grizzly bears down there. We’re overpopulated up here.

    I’ll have to go do some research of my own. And to the Michelle in New Jersey… I immediately dismiss your comment. “but don’t worry….some imbecile of a hunter will probably shoot them.” proves to me you’re in the uneducated class of non-hunters.

    Someone please give me a valid reason why trophy hunting is bad. Statistical data. Please convert me!

  18. Richard says:

    Obsurd bill, where’s the facts? Where is the real science behind anything being proposed? Also to whoever wrote the article we aren’t killing them for fur anymore, that’s been banned since 2015. Do some research. Your argument is laughable, unjustified and based in emotion.

  19. Galen Chaney says:

    ALL disgusting trophy hunting should be banned! Time for the vast majority of us to quit sitting on our hands and demand an end to this!

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