Thursday, April 21, 2011

Oregon Cougar bill passes House

By Hasso Hering, Albany Democrat-Herald

April 20, 2011. The Oregon House Wednesday passed, 45-14, a bill allowing some hunting of cougars with hounds. The bill, HB 2337, now goes to the Senate.

The bill would direct the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to start a pilot program of hunting cougars with dogs in selected management areas. Counties could petition to become part of the pilot program, and Linn County likely would do so.

Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio, who carried the bill on the floor, said it was intended to reduce the number of cougar conflicts in areas where the cats have killed livestock and were killing an unusual number of elk and deer calves.

Speaking on the floor, Sprenger cited the case of a mother and son near Brownsville who last year lost six sheep to confirmed cougar kills. That has an economic impact, she said.

Sprenger said that according to ODFW, the number of cougars had risen from about 3,000 in 1994, when voters banned hunting them with dogs, to an estimated 6,000 now.

The increase has come even though the cougar hunting season now is year-round and hunters who get one can turn around and get another tag.

The only legislator speaking against the bill was Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland. He questioned the validity of research done by the wildlife department, citing one reviewer who said there was no scientific basis for the conclusions in the department’s cougar management plan.

Sprenger said there are no practical nonlethal methods for reducing conflicts between cougars and livestock.

Cougars can’t be fenced out, and no barn is big enough to hold all the sheep on a ranch every night, as she said someone had suggested at a town hall meeting she held last summer.

The bill needed at least 40 votes to advance, though Democratic Rep. Brian Clem of Salem, one of its supporters, said the requirement was absurd.

According to lawyers for the legislature, by removing the crime of cougar hunting with dogs in some cases, the bill comes under the requirements of Measure 11, which set minimum prison sentences, and therefore it needed a two-thirds majority.

Clem said cougars were a hot topic in rural Oregon, though not perhaps in Portland, and passing the bill would help “heal the urban-rural divide.”


  1. Oregonians need to ask two questions regarding their cougar:

    1. If killing 6,762 cougars over a 44-year time period once almost wiped out the cougar population in Oregon, why does ODFW believe
    that killing 7,468 cougars over the past 43+-years of regulated cougar hunt hasn't produced similar results?

    2. If a regionally-close state (Washington) has the same cougar hunting restrictions, as well as analogous cougar hunting policies (without the additional administrative removal plan), and that state's policies and actions have resulted in a

    Of the mandatory tag reporting of killed wildlife, ODFW stated that only 35% are turned in. Which means more cougar are being killed than reported.

    ODFW Cougar Ecology program presented to the public last September 29, 2010 by Dr. Jackson. He stated that Collard cat studies show the impact that humans have on cougar mortality. Only the legal percent of sold tags are counted and not the other human caused deaths as follows:

    ODFW Dr. Jackson’s public comment stats showed 32% of cougar are poached, 27% are killed legally. Poached cougar exceed licensed kills and are not deducted from ODFW’s cougar population count. 27% are killed from conflict, for a total of 86% of cougars killed by humans that are not deducted from ODFW’s cougar population count. Cougars killed by natural causes: 37% from other cougars, 31% from disease, 20% from parasites, and 11% from injury. These are also not deducted.

    Oregon State Police Stats show that more deer, elk and other wildlife including cougar are poached than legally killed. California Fish & Game website under "poaching" states that the Black Market Poaching operation out of Calif is a $100,000,000 annual issue. Oregon is no exception.

    We have killed more cougar after M18 than before M18 due to the fact that ODFW changed their cougar hunting policy. After M18 ODFW increased cougar hunting season on one year, lowered to tag costs, included the tags in a package deal, started a "Public Safety" program with a mandatory kill of 3000 cougar per year.

    So over the last minimum 17 years with poaching exceeding legal kills, the mandatory tag reporting count is off, cougar cubs killed are not included in the population model, the “Public Safety Kills of 3000 per year, that fact that we have a Bill already allowing hounds to hunt cougar for the last 4 years (2971) and all the above mentioned kills of cougar; ODFW cannot hit the cougar quota kill because there are not enough cougar left in Oregon to fill the kill rate.

    Those cougar showing up near humans are there because they were not raised in the wild by their mother. They were raised another way. Check out YouTube for pet domesticated cougar that were taken from the wild as a cub after their mother was shot and raised in captivity. Sad to think of, but all the current cougar Bills 2337, 3636, 3560, & 3013 support this kind of activity and a prolific poaching market that is a $100,000,000 annual operation out of Calif. Recent OR wildlife poached body parts have shown up as far away as Illinois.

    Oregonians need an unbiased outside pier review done on our cougars and the voters need to vote again.  Don't support politicians who support trickery, poor management policy and animal abuse.

  2. The plan as developed by Oregion F&W does not allow the cougar population to drop below 3,000. The plan allows hounds to be used to deal with cougars that are causing human, pet or livestock conflicts.

  3. Well, I am surprised ol' Hasso is still causing trouble up there - you are dying breed, -you are dying out because you exemplify BACKWARD THINKING. Like killing BEARS and Cougars with packs of hounds!

    All rational voters of Oregon will be happy to hear that the stupid KILL COUGARS BILL has officially 'DIED' in the Senate. The voters of Oregon would have been slapped in the face if ultra-reactionary people like Hasso Herring had there way - but, JUSTICE prevails!

  4. According Scott Beckstead, state director for the Humane Society of the United States, said the law already allows game managers to use dogs to eliminate problem cougars.

    If this is the case then the legislation that died in the Senate is about finances. The cougars are already being run by tax payer funded hounds. 2337 would have allowed ODFW to provide tags for a cost that would benefit the budget rather than take from the budget.
    In most areas of Oregon the deer population is in real trouble. Over predation has serious consequences. Our state is struggling to fund the budget. Win, win.