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Spokane

Support Hunting Ethics

Thu., Oct. 24, 1996

You aren’t allowed to shoot animals in their cages at a zoo. You shouldn’t be permitted to use dogs or bait to kill animals in the wild just as easily.

In Washington, Initiative 655 would outlaw the baiting of bears and the hounding of bears, cougars and bobcats. In Idaho, Proposition 2 would ban the spring hunting of bears and the use of bait and hounds to hunt them.

We reject propaganda circulated by hunting groups that these initiatives are a step toward banning all hunting. We back both measures.

Simply, there’s no excuse for these unethical practices. Before the issue became politicized, a 1992 survey conducted by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game showed most Idaho hunters opposed baiting, hounding and spring bear hunting.

They know: There’s no sport in attracting a bear with stale doughnuts, meat scraps or other garbage and then blasting it. There’s no sport in killing bears, cougars and bobcats treed by dogs equipped with high-tech radio collars. There’s no sport in shooting a sow in the spring, leaving her cubs to face certain death.

Most hunters believe in “fair chase,” described by the Boone and Crockett Club as “the ethical, sportsmanlike and lawful pursuit and taking of any free-ranging wild game animal in a manner that does not give the hunter an improper or unfair advantage over such game animals.”

Hounding and baiting are not methods of “fair chase.”

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