Cougar & Bear Management Bills Scheduled for Hearings!!
The Oregon House Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources has scheduled hearings on two bills that would allow better management of cougar and bear populations for this coming Tuesday April 2, 2013 at 8:00am in Hearing Room D (click here to view agenda). We need you to be there in support of these bills and to testify!
HB 2624 is one of the Oregon Outdoor Council’s top priority bills that was introduced on our behalf by Rep. Brian Clem. This bill would allow county voters to have a public vote and decide locally if they want dogs and or bait used withing the county to help manage cougar and bear populations. This bill does NOT change the law banning dogs/bait, but does allow voters the chance to opt out of the ban if the majority of them in the county support these critical management tools. We encourage you to immediately email the Committee Members and politely ask for their support on this important bill. For years the anti-hunters have said they support the “will of the people” and their ability to vote, but we expect them to show up in force and oppose our bill. That’s why we need you there!
HB 3395 Requires State Department of Fish and Wildlife to recommend rules to State Fish and Wildlife Commission regarding creation of pilot program that allows persons to use dogs to hunt or pursue cougars. This bill passed the House of Representatives last year, but was killed in the Senate. We need to support this bill as well!
To email the committee members simply click on their email address and an email will appear ready for you to personalize and send. Please remember to be respectful and feel free to add your own words to your email. Make sure to identify yourself as a member of the Oregon Outdoor Council and any other organizations you belong to!!
I am kindly asking for your support of HB 2624 & 3395 which are up in House Ag & Natural Resources on Tuesday April 2, 2013.
- HB 2624 allows voters to choose if they want the use of dogs and/or bait available for the management of cougar or bear populations in their County. If a county decides to have a vote on the issue and it passes they are required to immediately report that to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The authority to manage wildlife, set bag limits and quotas would still remain with the ODFW Commission.
- HB 3395 directs the ODFW Commission to establish a pilot program to allow the use of dogs for cougar hunting.
- Since these tools were banned in 1994 cougar and bear populations have increased dramatically and are well over management objectives set by ODFW.
- The increase in their populations has created a major public safety problem which has been highlighted in the past week with multiple sightings in cities like Eugene and Portland.
- It is only a matter of time until someone gets attacked or killed by a cougar and these bills give back the necessary tools to help prevent that horrible possibility.
- Predation on elk and deer has increased significantly resulting in over 45,000 deer and elk tags being cut. The severe predation has also caused cow to calf and doe to fawn ratio’s to plummet.
- A cougar will kill an average of one elk or deer per week. With over 6,000 cougars in Oregon that’s over 300,000 elk or deer killed by cougars each year! That doesn’t include the predation from over 40,000 black bears either.
- Dogs are still being used to hunt and kill cougars and bears in Oregon. Instead of sportsmen and women paying the ODFW to do it while at the same tine providing critical funding for wildlife conservation, state and federal agents are now paid to kill cougars and bears costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
- The time has come to let us vote and let those most effected by these predators to have a voice.
Please share this with everyone you know and email each legislator asking for their support. Please also attend the hearing and show your support for these critical bills.
Below is a list of each member of the House Ag & Natural Resources Committee and their email addresses:
Rep. Brad Witt, Chair – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Sal Esquivel, Vice Chair - email@example.com
Rep. Caddy McKeown, Vice Chair – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Brian Clem – email@example.com
Rep. Wayne Krieger - firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Jeff Reardon – email@example.com
Rep. Jim Thompson – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Ben Unger – email@example.com
Rep. Gail Whitsett – firstname.lastname@example.org