Posts tagged: hound hunting
PREDATORS — A 20-year-old Stevensville hunter thought he'd done everything right before he let his three mountain lion dogs go on a set of fresh tracks Sunday afternoon.
He'd been hunting with others in the Ninemile drainage north of Missoula since Sept. 3. In all that time, they had not seen any sign of wolves in the area. He saw no wolf tracks in the snow heading up to his hunting area last weekend.
This day wasn’t any different than the rest of the season — until his GPS unit indicated his dogs had stopped.
HUNTING — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill banning hound hunting for bears in California, 16 years after Washington state did the same thing by voter initative.
Both campaigns were primed and pumped by the Humane Society of the United States and other anti-hunting groups.
WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission today voted to increase cougar hunting opportunities in six counties.
Meeting via telephone, the commission amended cougar hunting regulations for a pilot project that authorizes cougar hunting with the aid of dogs. The project had expired and was not extended this year by the Legislature.
The commission increased cougar hunting opportunities without the aid of dogs in Klickitat, Chelan, Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties to continue to meet management objectives in those areas.
In addition, the commission modified the criteria for determining when cougars are removed to address public concerns about pet and livestock depredation and personal safety. The change allows for cougar removals when complaints confirmed by WDFW staff in a given game management unit exceed the five-year average.
WDFW game managers recommended the amendments to cougar hunting regulations as an interim measure until the 2012-14 hunting season package is developed.
Public discussion of the 2012-14 hunting seasons is scheduled to begin this month, including a Spokane meeting on Wednesday.
Click here for more information about future commission meetings.
PUBLIC LANDS — Internet chat rooms were buzzing today with charges that the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe was given access to otherwise closed state lands in Western Washington in order to harvest black bears.
Officially unconfirmed reports say tribal members were hunting with hounds and/or bait — means that are illegal in Washington without the approval of the Legislature.
Department of Natural Resources spokesman Bryan Flint said the agency's Olympia headquarters was alerted to the issue just today. At 5:10 p.m., he said he still didn't have enough details to address the controversy beyond the following statement (which doesn't confirm or deny much, but seems to indicate that somebody's headed for the wood shed):
“DNR does not issuing permits for a bear hunt. That's not our role or jurisdiction.
“We don’t have a policy of giving access to tribes that others don’t have.
“It has come to our attention that the Muckleshoot Tribe was given keys by the South Puget Sound Region (officials) to gated (DNR) land in the Green River watershed for puroposes of wildlife management. We are investigating to find out how this happened and why.
“(Headquarters staff) has no knowledge of what activities took place.”
OLYMPIA — Fifteen years after Washington voters banned using dogs to hunt cougars, lawmakers want to set permanent hunting seasons allowing licensed hunters to use hounds to track the cats, according to an Associated Press story.
The proposed bill, sponsored by Rep. Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen, is the latest step in a seven-year process of addressing the 1996 ban through a pilot program aimed at testing cougar hunting seasons with dogs to stem the cougar conflict complaints that spiked after the ban.
The original three-year program has been extended twice so far.
Representatives from the Fish and Wildlife Commission say the pilot program has resulted in a 75 percent decline in confirmed complaints about cougars killing pets or livestock, or causing other problems.
Still, opponents of the bill say the use of hounds is cruel and inhumane, and is not being limited to public safety concerns.
The major opponent to the bill is the out-of-state-based Humane Society of the United States, which was a major funding source for the initiative campaign to ban hound hunting for cougars and bears.
HSUS is not affiliated with the “Humane Society” pet shelters that do the hard work of taking care of stray pets on a local level. Instead, HSUS is a multimillion-dollar conglomerate that mainly creates issues to feed its fundraising mission.
I elaborated on this with details from the HSUS tax returns in this recent column, one of several on the subject.
Meantime, read on for more of the AP story from Olympia.
LEGISLATING WILDLIFE – Washington lawmakers heard a mixed bag of testimony at a hearing today on continuing the pilot program that allows the use of hounds for hunting cougars.
HB 1124 seeks to extend the program in a portion of Klickitat County as well as in a swath across northeastern Washington from Chelan County east through Pend Oreille County.
The use of hounds for hunting cougars and bears was prohibited by passage of Initiative 65 in 1996. But the sharp increase of cougar encounters with humans and domestic animals prompted the state to authorize a strictly regulated program to hunt troublesome cougars using hounds – the only effective way to target specific animals.
Groups such as the Humane Society of the United States say extending the pilot program would be an affront to the will of the people who approved Initiative 65. County commissioners, livestock owners and others testified that regulated hound hunting is needed control cougar numbers.
Wildlife officials confirmed that complaints about cougars have declined significantly under the program.