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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Saturday, April 27, 2013

I somethimes think that those who favor biodiversity and an eco-functioning Carnivore suite in every one of our 50 states are literally fighting "aliens" of mass destruction....................Almost like fighting "Terminators" who will twist every law, find every angle and rationalize every decision that is in favor of killing Wolves, Pumas, Griz, Coyoyes, Lynx, Bobcats, etc, etc. etc..............Now the Oregon House of Representatives has passed a bill that allows each county to decide if hunters can use dogs to hunt Pumas,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,this despite the voters in Oregon who decisively passed a law over two decades ago banning this barbaric practice............


Where's the cougar crisis?

House defies voters to pass hunting bill

People are spooked by cougars, and when people are spooked they can do irrational things — as occurred Tuesday in the Oregon House of Representatives, which voted 40-19 in favor of House Bill 2624. The bill would let counties opt out of a law passed by the voters in 1994 and reaffirmed two years later that bans the use of dogs to hunt cougars for sport. HB 2624 responds to a non-existent problem and breaks faith with voters. The Senate should kill the bill.

The bill arises from a fear that Oregon is in the midst of some kind of cougar crisis. It's not, and even if it were, the 1994 law provides the state with all the tools it would need to kill any cougars that were causing problems.

Consider Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio, who during debate on HB 2624 said she gets frequent calls from constituents who have encountered cougars — including a mom in Mill City who spotted one under her minivan. But the bill would not provide that mom with any protection that's not available under current law.

Or Rep. Caddy McKeown, D-Coos Bay, who told her colleagues that she had been stalked by a cougar when she was a child. McKeown was a child in the 1950s, long before Oregonians voted to ban hounding cougars for sport. If anything, the stalking experience offers a warning against returning to the cougar management practices that prevailed before 1994.

An irrational fear prevents people from examining the facts about cougars and the 1994 law. The total number of cougar complaints in Oregon was 276 in 1993. In 2012, after the ban on sport-hunting with dogs had been in effect for nearly two decades, the number of complaints was 287. The level of complaints is about the same, despite the feeling, evident in Tuesday's House vote, that cougars are lurking everywhere.

One reason the 1994 law has not led to an abundance of complaints is that Oregonians did not ban hunting cougars. They banned only one specific type of hunting — and created broad exceptions to that ban. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife issued cougar tags to more than 50,000 hunters last year, and they killed 242 of the cats. That's 50 percent more cougars than hunters killed in 1993, when hunting cougars with packs of dogs was still allowed.
The most effective way to hunt cougars is to use dogs. Wearing collars with radio transmitters, the dogs will tree a cougar and keep it at bay until the hunter arrives. This method is still allowed whenever a cougar causes problems for livestock, other property or humans, or even threatens to cause problems. A cougar can be defined a threat merely by being seen during daylight hours.

A consistent argument for proposals like HB 2624 is that in 1994 urban voters imposed the dog-hunting ban on rural areas, where people, pets and livestock are more likely to encounter cougars. The argument would be more compelling if rural residents weren't permitted to protect themselves and their property against cougars whenever any sort of problem arises. The 1994 law took rural concerns into full account, and the results show that the approach has worked.

After approving HB 2624, perhaps the House will invite counties to opt out of other voter-approved statewide initiatives — say, property tax limitations or tax increases. That would be the precedent established by HB 2624. The Senate should prove itself less easily spooked by a non-existent cougar crisis, and allow HB 2624 to sink into oblivion.

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