Hunting 102b: Senate Bill 1221… Dogs and Bobcats and Bears, Oh My!

Yesterday, as I was picking up my lunch at Dad’s Sandwiches I overheard two people talking about SB1221. These people were, according to their conversation, in favor of the bill and possibly on the lobbying team in support of it, which is contrary to my position on the bill. I also had to explain this particular issue to my aunt and mother this past weekend, because my aunt has a close friend who is in support of the bill and who was one of the 150 people to go speak at the hearing on June 26th (compared to the 7,000 who showed up in opposition). What I want from you guys is for you to understand the bill, why it is a threat to all hunting, and why you should write your Assemblyman and the Committee members. And to try to clarify some of the misconceptions surrounding the bill.

SB 1221 is a bill that would ban hunting bear and bobcat with dogs. Right now it just passed the Assembly Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee in a second, closed-session after an overwhelming outcry and attendance by the hunting and hounding community and a no-vote on Tuesday. It has already passed the Senate (by 2 votes). Next it goes to the Appropriations Committee, then the Assembly floor, then the Governor. This bill is something that is attempted every few years in some form of restricting use of dogs for hunting, but has gained momentum this year because of political posturing regarding the Fish and Game commission president legally harvesting a mountain lion in Idaho. I tried to find an unbiased article still up, it was a little tough. For the record, Commissioners are appointed by the Governor, and make no more than $500 a month. They are not legislators. They are in place to provide independent oversight to the Department of Fish and Game in regulatory matters.

Why is SB 1221 bad? Well, here are the reasons. The bill is based on emotion and perception, not science. The funding behind the bill is the Humane Society, which has stated, point-blank, that they want to ban all hunting in California, and then move on to other states to do the same. That alone is enough for me to not support it, because it is based on emotion, on a well-funded minority agenda, and not on science. There is the actual wording of the bill if you are like me and want to read it for yourself.

It is also based on one group of people wanting to impose their will onto another group of people. If you don’t like hunting, that is fine. But until you have gone out and experienced it, you do not have anything to base an opinion on except your perception. Personally, I don’t like noodling , but I am not going to try to tell those of you that like it (or want to try it) that you shouldn’t. I have never done noodling. I would not find anything enjoyable about wading around muddy water trying to get a fish to bite my fingers, or shoving my fist down a fish’s mouth. But hey, if that’s how you want to spend your Saturday, who am I do try to stop you? If you’re reasonable, you are nodding your head in agreement. Where have all the reasonable people gone??

These are the facts: The bear population is California is exploding (for biological reasons, and an increase tag limit would help), and the bill takes away the most effective tool for managing the bear population. And the state makes money by allowing it. Not to mention the thousands of families and people that earn a living running hounds. End of story! If this bill passes, then the state is going to be on the hook for hunting bears that become public safety hazards, AND those bears legally cannot be consumed, the carcass HAS to be destroyed, by law. Does the state have extra money laying around to pay people to hunt bears, when people are PAYING to do it now? No, last time I checked it doesn’t.

How to hunt bear and bobcat with dogs: Hounds (think Where the Red Fern Grows) are trained to scent bears and bobcats, then, as a pack, chase the animals into a tree, baying and howling to alert the hunters to where the pack is. It is in these dogs’ nature to chase and ‘bay’. In this day and age a lot of hunters put radio collars on their dogs, so they can find the dogs. And not just when the dogs have treed an animal, but when the dogs get lost (which happens regularly) or when the dogs are picked up on the road after getting lost. I have heard stories of dogs being kidnapped and the hunters tracking the dogs to the people’s house to retrieve the dog. And these are not cheap dogs, mind you. Good hounds are just like other good hunting dogs, and can command prices over $1500. Times that by at least 4, and usually 6 dogs in a pack. That is a pretty hefty investment for a past time, not to mention the vet bills, the FOOD, gas to drive to the field, etc.

Why hunt bear with dogs? Several reasons. When I lived in Humboldt I worked and played in bear country. I worked on timberland and worked and socialized with foresters and timber biologists. I saw a few bears in the field, but more often I heard them, crashing through the brush moving away from me, unseen. Where the bears liked to be were areas not very accessible, and if you wanted to hunt bears there, you used hounds. Because of the steep canyons, dense underbrush, and sometimes hazardous terrain due to timber harvest, just hiking around is very hard, and if pursuing game, is basically impossible. Bear hunting is nothing like the ‘ideal’ scene of a deer or elk hunt, where the animal stands broadside to you on the edge of a meadow where you have no trees, bushes or shrubs in the way, you can clearly identify the animal and if it is legal, and have a clear line of sight. When you bear hunt, you do not have a clear line of sight, essential to identifying your prey and taking a clean shot. This is why dogs are used, to find the bears, and to tree them. Bears’ natural defense mechanism (like porcupine’s quills, or opossums playing dead) is to climb a tree. They do not run up trees because they have no other escape, they do it because it’s what they do. Our hunting methods have developed in response to the prey’s natural methods of evasion. Bear hunting with dogs, or any hunting with dogs for that matter, has been occurring since we domesticated dogs.

Bears are also responsible for up to 90% tree death in some timber harvest plans in Del Norte and Humboldt County. I have seen this with my own eyes. Bears can reach a density of up to 5 bears per square mile and this results in a shortage of forage for the bears to eat. So, as a result of starving, they have started stripping the sugar-dense cambium of the inner layer of bark of redwood and other valuable trees. The timber companies are not able to keep the bear populations down enough to prevent this, even with houndsmen on staff and running dogs, not just for hunting, but for hazing bears away from trees. SB 1221 would prevent the timber industry from using houndsmen to control bear populations, and more depredation bear hunting would take place (which, again, results in the meat not being used). Consumers would see a steep rise in the price of redwood for our decks and raised beds.

The author and supporters of the SB1221 are using the following arguments:

We are not closing hunting for bears: You just won’t be able to use dogs to hunt, so you can hunt them just like you hunt everything else, taking 200-300 yard shots like you do with deer or elk or any other large mammal.

In reality, you are making it virtually impossible to hunt bears, because the people that are effective at hunting bears use hounds to do so in areas where the bear population is high. Hunting bears without hounds will significantly reduce hunter success, and therefore increase the bear population. You will see people just stop hunting bears altogether, not switch to other hunting methods. In addition, when you tree a bear, you are able to look at it from 20-40 yards away before you shoot it, so you are able to tell if it is male or female, and if it’s a female if it has cubs, if it is a young animal or mature, and you have excellent shot placement, which results in almost instant death for the animal most of the time. Contrast that with a 200-300 yard shot, where you don’t have the ability to sex the animal, you have a higher chance of missing or misplacing your shot (so increase chance of maiming or wounding the animal), and it is harder to tell how big an animal is the farther away it is, so you could be shooting a yearling bear instead of a fully mature one. There is no way to see if the bear is a mother with cubs from so far away also. There is also an increased chance that once you shoot the animal and get over to where you think it was when you shot it that you loose its trail, the animal dies slowly in pain, or gets an infection and dies several weeks later, or dies and you cannot find the carcass. All unacceptable things to an ethical hunter, and ineffective as a population control tool.

It’s cruelty to animals:  The bears run up trees because they are terrified, which is cruel, and the dogs get maimed, bit, and clawed by the bears defending themselves. The dogs are not well cared for and are overwhelming animal shelters. Also, you are shooting the bear out of the tree, so when it’s shot it tumbles helplessly to the ground. Hunting with dogs is a form of torture, because you are chasing the animals instead of just shooting it where it stands.

First off, I would like to make the point that wild animals live with the threat from other animals daily. So the stress that we, as humans, associate with being ‘hunted’ in the typically safe environment we live in is an unreasonable comparison. Also, animals do not react to stressful situations in the same way we do. In my opinion, a bear is more annoyed by the dogs than frightened. You have to understand, bears rule the woods in California. Even our ‘small’ Black bears in California are not afraid of mountain lions, and chase lions off their cached deer kills every day (one of the reasons the deer population is on decline btw). Bears do not have anything to be scared of in the woods. So, hungry mountain lion versus pack of barking dogs…. which do you think a bear associates a greater threat to? So the assumption that bears are running up trees because they are terrified and have no where else to go is unfounded, especially when you are familiar with the ecology of bears and their avoidance strategies, like running up a tree.

Houndsmen pay upwards of $1500 a dog, and hounding is not effective unless there is at least 3 dogs in the pack, more is better. I cannot say that every hunter treats their hunting dogs like I do (SPOILED is the word, sleeping on the bed, treats and love all the time, boiled eggs every day, etc) but after reading some of the posts by houndsmen I can say that there are hound dogs that are getting the royal treatment, just like my bird dog. Of course, when looking at the spectrum, there are going to be the good and the bad. But at $1500 a dog, most houndsmen are going to take very good care of their dogs.

It’s not sporting, and it’s trophy hunting: The bears are hunted with dogs so the hunters can take the largest, biggest trophy bears, and the bears are shot at point-blank range out of the tree. The dogs have radio collars so the hunters know where the dogs are at all times, so that is not ‘fair chase’.

Most of the bears taken using hounds are bears used for meat. California is not known for it’s ‘trophy’ bears, so this argument is invalid. Plus, the use of ‘trophy hunting’ makes people think that you are just taking the skin or head, and in fact, bear meat is very tasty and makes great sausage! Hunters hunt bears for meat (amazing, I know!) and population control, so just the use of  ‘trophy hunting’ is uncalled for.

Also, the bears are not shot at point-blank range. I have yet to see a hunter climb up into a tree to shoot a bear within arm reach. Yes, the shots are taken at a shorter range that most other hunting is done, but that is an ideal situation. The closer a hunter can get to the prey, the better the shot placement, and the easier it is to clearly identify the individual animal and its particulars, such as sex, size, lactating or not. As one of the houndsmen said on the 26th, hunting bear and bobcats with dogs is the only form of ‘catch and release’ hunting.

The idea that hunting this way is not ‘fair chase’ represents a complete difference of opinion. I have not hunted bear this way. So I defer to my friends that have. According to them, hunting bears with dogs is not ‘easier’, it’s just more exact. There is still the chasing of the baying dogs into canyons and out of valleys, through dense brush and forest. Using collars on the dogs does not prevent this. Without the dogs putting pressure on the bear to get into a tree there would be no way for a hunter on foot to catch up to a bear, let alone have the chance at a clear shot when the animal is calm enough to hold still.  Hunting bears would become incidental. An animal not moving, close enough to identify clearly, and calm enough for a good shot placement is an ideal situation. It leads to a quick, relatively pain-free death.

Other states have banned hunting bears with dogs: California is behind the times, 14 other states have banned hunting bears with hounds, so we should be progressive and ban it too!

The other states that have banned hunting bears with dogs that the HSUS cites are: Montana, Colorado, Washington, Pennsylvania, and Oregon. Washington has it banned for hunters, but when they have to do any bear work, they use Karelian Bear Dogs. I know this because I trained in WA for animal restraint, and it was awesome watching these dogs in action. According to the representative from Oregon, as a result of the banning of bear hunting with dogs the state has had to hunt and kill over 300 bears that became public safety issues, compared to 3 before the ban. The other states have grizzly bears. Seriously. Look at this map please. You don’t hunt bears with dogs in states that have grizzly bears. Well except Pennsylvania, I don’t know what’s going on there.

How it is Supposed to Work:  DFG Biologists do monitoring surveys, collect data from hunter take surveys, do research in the field and in the library, and write papers and reports. Program managers take that science, and other science conducted by other reputable biologists and synthesize (oooh buzzword!) it with the management goals of the program and the department, and try to prioritize that with budget constraints and legislative mandates. They set seasons and bag limits, hunt zones, method of take, and author new regulations or change existing ones, based on SCIENCE. Then those changes are reviewed and approved (or not) by the Fish and Game Commission, a group of people appointed by the Governor.

BUT, if this bill passes, just like Prop 117, it takes away the ability of the Department of Fish and Game to manage the species that fall under its mandate. If you are going to allow the legislature to regulate how wildlife is managed in this state, what you do you need a Department of Fish and Game for? No one is listening to the scientists about HOW to manage game species, and groups like the HSUS are using the emotions and sympathies of uninformed people to support their cause and agenda. Which, make NO mistake, is to END hunting, and eventually ownership of animals.

So please, get active, get involved in your local shooting or hunting chapter, write your representatives. Because when they are done with us hunters, they are coming for you farmers.

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  1. MrsWJAA says:

    I don’t live in CA, so I can’t vote there. But I will chime in with this:
    I grew up in a family that hunts, and if I were in a situation that I needed to hunt, I would. That said, I know of a lot of hunters that kill for sport and waste the meat, and that truly disgusts me. I think if anyone wants to make laws about hunting, they should make it to where if you don’t want to keep all/any of the meat that you killed, you are required to turn it over to a pre-determined location within x-hours of death so that it can be distributed to the local food banks (and perhaps recieve a tax deduction as incentive)
    This way the state/people benefit in several ways:
    - They receive fees for hunting licences
    - They would receive free meat to feed the needy, thus reducing the budget for food.
    - They would be able to collect fines from people who kill an animal and leave the carcass to rot.
    - The wild animal population is controlled without additional cost to the state budget.

    • MrsWJAA, I couldn’t agree more! My husband knows hunters that go bird hunting (duck, goose, pheasant, turkey, etc) and just breast the bird out and toss the rest away. What they are really missing out on is making the tougher meat into fantastic sausage, which is what we do. We also use the rest of the carcass to make stock. Waste not, want not.

  2. Thank you for your very well thought out and insightful post…we farm in Washington but this is all news to me. Our dogs are raised to protect our flock which people also think is cruel…but I have a hard time thinking that any animal doing what it’s genetic thumbprint is telling it to do, is cruel. (And for the record, our dogs are also spoiled rotten).

    And I couldn’t agree with you more, nature is cruel. We have been dealing with an eagle who has been ravaging our flock of chickens and ducks…he doesn’t ever kill them though and doesn’t even take them away, just stabs and stabs and then flies away…we’re left having to kill them quickly so they’re no longer in pain.

    Again, thank you for your article.

  3. My name is Jake Sinclair. I’m a pediatrician and my family and I own a cabin in the central sierra at 6,000 ft. It’s very remote, surrounded by national forest and we’ve spent our summers there for the past 10 years.
    There are many black bears that made their homes in the mountains around us.
    We sleep outside on our deck a lot and bears used to come through very early every morning. The dogs would bark, the bears rumble off into the woods, and neither of us bothered each other. I would often come across bears on early morning hikes and bike rides. They were plentiful. They never bothered anyone and were an essential part of our forest ecosystem, as they have been for a thousands of years.
    There’s not much to eat at 6,000 ft. Bear’s knock down and break apart deadfall and old rotting logs to get at the grubs inside. That’s an important part of fire suppression helping those old trees become soil, instead of remaining for decades on the forest floor as tinder.California spent $412 million dollars in the last fiscal year fighting wildfires. The NRA’s puny argument that losing the $400,000 in hunting fees associated with hound hunting pales
    in comparison to the losses we incur as we allow their indiscriminate decimation of black bears in our Sierra forests.

    Four years ago hound hunters “found” our valley. The first year they killed a mother and one of her cubs. Over the next 2 years we don’t know how many they killed. But we never see bears anymore.
    The worst part is that since many of these hunters don’t have bear tags, they just use their pack of dogs to run down the bears and tree them. Sometimes the bear is chased for miles, and once exhausted, climbs to escape the dogs. The hunters use radio collars to locate and leash their dogs, then they just walk away. It’s just exercise for their dogs and some kind of twisted “fun” for the hunter.
    However, they don’t stop to consider the fine line a bear walks every year between laying down enough body fat to hibernate through a winter, and starvation. The stress and energy loss that accompanies being chased by a pack of dogs through the forest often leaves them too depleted to live through until spring.

    We’re not talking about one hunter and a pack of 4 or 5 dogs. “Hunting” is just an excuse for a drinking party for most of these guys. They come up as 3 or 4 truckloads, each with their own pack of dogs, have a party around the campfire, then run 20-30 dogs through the valley the next day.
    It’s perfect crime. There’s no bear carcass that can be traced to them. But after they’ve had their “fun”, a bear, and maybe even a sow and her cubs ends up starving to death,
    Personally, I have no problem with hunters. I lived in Alaska for years and have tremendous respect for men and women who have learned to stalk and kill a bear with nothing but their wits and a compound bow.
    But these “houndsmen” are unique in their cowardice and lack of sportsmanship. All the hunters I know simply dismiss them as “Cheaters”
    So while your arguments in some areas and some rare groups of true hunting sportsmen may hold up, in my opinion, you are working with too little information in your editorial sir.

  4. Dear Mr. Sinclair,

    I would like to respond to your post because I believe there are some corrections and clarifications that need to be made, plus a general response to your comment.

    1. I am a woman. So when you addressed me as ‘sir’, although I appreciate the respect that normally is indicated by its usage, I think you missed your mark.
    2. I am a wildlife biologist. I earned my degree through one of the premier wildlife management programs in the nation, and have over 12 years of experience with the hunting and wildlife management programs of California and the Northwest. For you to say that I am “working with too little information” is like me telling you that you don’t know how to conduct a child wellness exam. I also work in natural resources, and speak to the state’s bear biologist almost on a daily basis, so even though I write this blog as a personal exercise and fulfillment of educating people about the outdoors, I am capable of doing so in a professional capacity as well.
    3. I grew up in the Sierras, the central Sierras to be specific. I spent my winters cross-country racing at Kirkwood, Tahoe-Donner, and Royal Gorge, to name a few. In the summers, I mountain-biked, backpacked, fished and hunted in the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness, Round Top, Elephant’s Back, Immigrant Lake, Hope Valley, Kirkwood, Silver and Caples Lake, Loon Lake, Pyramid Peak and the Crystal Basin, deer hunted (both bow and rifle) near Monitor Pass. My father was a guide and UC Davis’ cross-country skiing and biathlon coach, which is why I spent so much time in the outdoors and one of the big reasons I am a wildlife biologist today. I spent the first 20 years of my life (the 20 years before you bought your cabin) in the area you speak of, so please understand that I *know* the habitat and demography of which you write.
    4. I realize that my comments are not going to change your mind. I am responding so that others can be educated. If you happen to read this and gain additional knowledge, that’s great!
    5. The activities you describe occurring in your valley are not hunting, they are poaching. Please do not call it ‘hunting’ or ‘illegal hunting’. That is like calling rape ‘forced copulation’. There is a word for it, use it. I have a zero tolerance towards poaching. Here is a rundown of bear regulations, so you know when it is hunting and when it is poaching:
    a. Any pursuit of bears requires a bear tag.
    b. Sows with cubs are not legal to take.
    c. Hunting with dogs for bear and deer is not allowed during archery season.
    d. Bear season always coincides with the opening day of deer season, and continues to the last Sunday in December, or until the quota of 1700 bears is reached. That is less that 7% of the current estimate of the bear population in CA, and that estimate is considered to be low.
    e. There is no pursue of bear, bobcat, deer, or wild pig by dogs allowed outside of their respective seasons. To pursue with dogs falls under the definition of ‘take’ outlined by the Department of Fish and Game, and is therefore considered hunting. Which is illegal (i.e. poaching) when it occurs outside the season and without possession of a bear tag.
    f. Houndsmen are allowed to train outside of the season, however, during training they are not allowed to ‘take’, which includes pursing, any game animal. This means that training for bear with pursuit of bears has to occur only during bear season.
    g. Training is restricted to the beginning of the hunting season through the first Saturday in April. April to the opening of deer season there should be no dogs running in your valley. If you see or heard any of these activities occurring, please call CalTIP at 1 888 DFG-CALTIP(888 334-2258).
    h. It is illegal to hunt while intoxicated (Title 14, Sect. 3001)
    i. It is illegal to waste game (Title 14, Sect. 4304)

    Here are the links, so you can read them yourself
    Use of Dogs for Pursuit/Take of Mammals or for Dog Training
    Bear Hunting Regulations
    Methods authorized for taking of Big Game in CA

    The reason you are not seeing so many bears now is because the bears have learned to stay away from humans as a result of the hounding, not because they are dying. This is an ideal situation from a biologist and wildlife enforcement standpoint. When bears loose their fear of humans it leads to conflicts and public safety concerns. Hunting is a way for humans to discourage bears from human interaction, which helps public safety and prevents bears from becoming ‘nuisance bears’. This is a good thing, because invariably nuisance bears end up getting euthanized because of the public safety risk they pose once they become habituated to humans, and emboldened so that regular human discouragement is not effective. What happens when everyone starts locking up their garbage and a bear can’t depend on that resource? They don’t just go find some berries to eat, they break into your car or your cabin, because they know there’s food and it’s easier than doing natural foraging. Don’t believe me? Just visit Yosemite or Yellowstone.

    I know that wildlife has an intrinsic value when viewed, and it awesome and life-changing when you have a large animal encounter. I know my multiple bear encounters did for me! But I value those encounters more than the one I had in Tahoe last summer chasing the ‘camp bear’ away from trash left out at 2 am. Please consider this. Bear-human interactions have been on the increase with the explosion of the bear population in recent years. Did you know that the same week the hiker was attacked by a mountain lion in Nevada county last month, there was also a bear attack? But you didn’t hear about it because it’s not as newsworthy as a lion attack. With the increase in bear numbers, more bears are taking advantage of the ‘resources’ presented with human encroachment into the wild places. This means that we are affecting bears negatively, providing them with an additional, not natural resource of food (garbage, cat and dog food left out, compost piles, vegetable gardens etc). Your dogs may have discouraged the bears from bothering you further, but what about other cabins without dogs? What about a bear that is hungrier and thus more willing to take a chance that they can overcome your dogs? Bears are the strongest wild animal in California. Biologists would rather bears be wary of humans and stay dependent on natural forage, than to endanger themselves and humans.

    Bears in the central Sierra have no shortage of forage, so your assertion that bears being chased and starving to death is unfounded. You are correct about bears ripping up stumps and fallen logs for ants and grubs, but bears, being omnivores, eat a wide variety of things. Early in spring most bear scat contains grasses and newly-sprouted forbs. When the fawns start dropping in June, bears get to feed on tasty newborn deer. Later in the summer bears love to eat berries, such as manzanita, gooseberry, and wild raspberries, and in the fall they love eating nuts, such as acorns. If a shortage of food exists (usually from habitat being impacted from overpopulation) bears strip trees and eat the inner cambium under the bark in some areas. Bears also are scavengers and disrupt lion kills that are cashed, providing a free tasty meal of meat to the bear, and forcing lions to kill more than once a week. Some studies have found that the stress hormones produced (such as dopamine) as a result of being chased actually stimulate appetite in bears, which makes them eat more than if they were not chased. Our bears in CA also do not have a hard hibernation period due to our mild climate. It is called a ‘seasonal lethargy’ and most black bears in CA have been shown to wake up and forage several times during the winter. Here’s a link to the CA DFG page on bear biology

    Fire suppression is being recognized as having an adverse affect on long-term wildlife management in CA, so to compare the CalFire’s wildfire budget to the budget shortfall proposed by the ban, is not a good representation of the facts. Biologists would like to have responsible fire management, instead of blanket fire suppression throughout the state. Many of the habitats in California (including the central Sierras) have evolved with a natural fire regime that humans have repressed. Here is an article about our declining deer herds relationship with fire suppression in CA.
    Other shortfalls, as I mentioned in the original blog post, are the economic value to communities that have hound hunting. The dog and truck purchases, petrol and dog food, vet bills that houndsmen pay typically go into small communities. The burden on shelters when houndmen cannot use their dogs and turn them over will be sad, but a reality. I would not do this, my dog is part of my family, as I am sure a lot of hounds are.

    As to your general opinions of ‘sportsmanlike’ conduct, I can only say we will have to agree to disagree, and that is okay. My experiences are different than yours, and I respect your opinon. As someone who hunts with shotgun, rifle and compound bow, I have been called ‘not a real bowhunter’ by my brother and dad, who use ‘naked’ bows (recurve, longbows, bows without cams, sights, rests etc). I have not been bear hunting with dogs, but I would like to. I have a biologist friend who hunted that was against it until she (yes SHE) tried it. When I asked her about it, she said she had a newfound respect for houndsmen. It is not ‘fish in a barrel.’ It was the hardest hunting she had ever done. As someone who hunts with a dog, I can say that it is an experience that is unrivaled, and is hard to explain. I learn to communicate with my dog on a different level, and we are working in tandem towards a common goal. It is one of the most beautiful and humbling experiences I have had. Some would argue that upland hunting with dogs is unsportsmanlike because you are using the dog’s innate skill to augment your own. I would argue that the breeds of dogs used for hunting have been created over hundreds of years and to not let the dog do what is in their nature to do, is cruel. At any rate, the true impetus behind SB 1221 is not to just end hounding, but to pave the way to end all hunting in CA. Because once this passes, hunting birds and deer with dogs will be next, then hunting in general. And that is the point. Death by a thousand cuts. All based on emotion and a fringe group’s well-funded agenda. Not on science.

    Here is some more reading for you on this subject:

    Does Aversive Conditioning Reduce Human—Black Bear Conflict?
    Rachel L. Mazur
    The Journal of Wildlife Management , Vol. 74, No. 1 (Jan., 2010), pp. 48-54

    Evaluation of Deterrent Techniques and Dogs to Alter Behavior of “Nuisance” Black Bears
    Jon P. Beckmann, Carl W. Lackey and Joel Berger
    Wildlife Society Bulletin , Vol. 32, No. 4 (Winter, 2004), pp. 1141-1146

    Black Bear Damage to Redwood Reproduction
    Fred A. Glover
    The Journal of Wildlife Management , Vol. 19, No. 4 (Oct., 1955), pp. 437-443

    Factors Contributing to Effectiveness of Black Bear Transplants
    Katherine L. McArthur
    The Journal of Wildlife Management , Vol. 45, No. 1 (Jan., 1981), pp. 102-110

    Brown Bear Habituation to People: Safety, Risks, and Benefits
    Stephen Herrero, Tom Smith, Terry D. DeBruyn, Kerry Gunther and Colleen A. Matt
    Wildlife Society Bulletin , Vol. 33, No. 1 (Spring, 2005), pp. 362-373

    Relationship of Hunting Technique and Hunter Selectivity to Composition of Black Bear Harvest
    John A. Litvaitis and Douglas M. Kane
    Wildlife Society Bulletin , Vol. 22, No. 4 (Winter, 1994), pp. 604-606

    Harvest as a Component of Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Grizzly Bear Management
    Bruce J. Mincher
    Wildlife Society Bulletin , Vol. 30, No. 4 (Winter, 2002), pp. 1287-1292


  1. [...] Hunters are up in arms and have been protesting at public gatherings. Josh Brones is among those leading the defense of the sport. As the president of the California Houndsmen for Conservation, Brones says that hound hunting does not usually involve killing the bear and, what’s more, brings to life an ancient and natural drama between black bears and canine predators. During an interview, Brones said hound hunting is rather like a game of “hike-and-seek.” In these pursuits, the bear leads the hounds through the woods, often for many miles, before climbing a tree. The houndsman, slower but just as dogged as his hounds, eventually arrives, shoots some shaky video of the bear to post on YouTube and finally departs. Hunters sometimes call this activity catch-and-release—and even many wildlife researchers rely on it. [...]

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