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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois lawmakers have advanced a proposal to allow bobcat hunting for the first time in more than 40 years.

The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reports the Illinois House voted 91-20 Thursday in favor of the measure. It now goes to the Senate.

Illinois banned hunting of the nocturnal animal in 1972. Bobcats were on the threatened species list from 1977 to 1999.

But supporters say the population has made a comeback.

Republican state Rep. Wayne Rosenthal of Morrisonville is the bill's sponsor.

He says the bobcat population is growing in rural, non-farming areas of western and southern Illinois.

The hunting and trapping season would occur sometime between Nov. 1 and Feb. 15. A hunter would be allowed to kill one bobcat per year.

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The bill is HB4226.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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