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Highly Regulated and Abundant Wildlife

Highly Regulated

Hunting and trapping are controlled through strict, scientifically based regulations. These regulations are enforced by Illinois conservation police officers. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is responsible for regulating hunting and trapping. More than 160 Illinois conservation police officers patrol the state to enforce these regulations.

Trappers are licensed and regulated by the Illinois DNR.
Photo by D.J. Case and Associates

In Illinois, more than 75 state laws and regulations restrict hunting and trapping. Additional federal laws and regulations apply as well. Hundreds of different types of wildlife live in Illinois, but only a handful can be legally hunted and trapped, and these species are plentiful.

Conservation officers survey hunters and trappers in the field.
Photo by D.J. Case and Associates

Since the advent of modern wildlife management, it has been illegal to hunt or trap rare or endangered wildlife, and there are severe penalties for doing so--including hefty fines and imprisonment. Professional wildlife biologists monitor furbearer populations every year to ensure that their numbers remain strong. Hunters and trappers support wildlife laws and regulations because they care about the welfare of wildlife. They understand the benefit of regulated hunting and trapping in wildlife management.

Illinois conservation police officers enforce more than 75 laws and regulations about fur hunting and trapping.
Photo by D.J. Case and Associates

Only Abundant Wildlife

Hunting and trapping are allowed only to harvest animals that are abundant. Hunting and trapping do not cause wildlife to become endangered. Since the advent of modern wildlife management, hunting and trapping never have caused a single animal population to become endangered or extinct. Modern wildlife management began in the early 20th century, when state and federal wildlife agencies came into being. Early in the nation’s history, few if any hunting and trapping regulations existed. Americans commonly believed that wildlife were in unending supply. The decline of the buffalo and extinction of the passenger pigeon in the 1800s awakened Americans to reality: All resources have limits if not managed properly. Today’s hunters, trappers and biologists work together to conserve and wisely use wildlife resources.

As a result, wildlife must adapt, move on or die out. The fate of each species depends on its adaptability, as well as careful wildlife management. Some animals are more adaptable than others.

Many kinds of wildlife - such as skunks, opossums and raccoons - are very good at adapting to habitat changes. They are often culprits that cause property damage or pose health risks to humans.

Hunting and trapping are regulated tools that can manage plentiful wildlife in a variety of settings.