PORTLAND, OR – Today, Big Wildlife
urged the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to abandon the state’s plan to
allow hunters to pursue cougars with hounds. The Commission meets tomorrow to
finalize rules allowing hunters to use dogs to chase the wild cats. Once the
regulations are adopted, the state will deputize houndsmen to kill up to
2,000 cougars in Oregon.
While the Commission agreed last month to bar convicted criminals from
participating in the cougar killing program, Big Wildlife said ensuring hound
hunters had a clean record was not enough.
doesn't matter how squeaky clean these hunters are required to be. They will
still be carrying out the dirty work of killing cougars for the state,” said
Brian Vincent, Communications Director of Big Wildlife.
summer, lawmakers – led by Portland Senator Brad Avakian and pushed by Governor
Ted Kulongoski – overturned Measure 18, the 1994 voter-approved initiative that
outlawed the barbaric practice of using hounds to hunt cougars. A year ago the
state also began implementing its Cougar Management Plan (CMP), aggressively
and indiscriminately killing the wild cats across Oregon.
serious flaws with the cougar plan, Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland) recently
urged the state to halt killing cougars until it had completed a scientific
review of the CMP. Rep. Buckley said he would work with his colleagues in the
legislature to develop alternate solutions to replace the CMP and the new
hounding law. In addition, last month a group of ranchers filed a lawsuit
challenging the federal government's participation in the cougar plan.
Wildlife said the Commission should not allow hunters to pursue cougars with
hounds because the new hounding law violated the intent of Measure 18, a
1994-voter approved ban on hounding, and because cougar populations in the
state were not stable. The group said a study published in The Journal of
Wildlife Management in 2006 found cougar populations in the Pacific Northwest were actually declining due in
part to increased human intrusion on cougar habitat and a young age structure
of the cougar population caused by heavy hunting. The Journal study also
recommended reduced hunting levels, particularly among adult females,
throughout the region.
state's cougar program is an assassination plot not a management plan,"
here to review the Journal study.
Click here to review Big Wildlife’s comments to the