The House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources will hold a public hearing on HB 2050 on April 16. Strong committee support will mean the Bill will be passed on to the House. Comments must be submitted 24 hours in advance of the hearing, so please make sure to send your comments before April 15th.
Please complete the form above (the form has been removed following the close to public comments) to send an email to the House Committee and to the FULL House telling them you oppose HB 2050. Please be polite and courteous. Also consider including some or all of these talking points in your message:
- In 1994, Oregon citizens voted to approve Measure 18, a statewide ban on hound hunting of cougars. This bill would go directly against the will of the Oregon people.
- Despite quota increases (the quota now stands at 970) and astronomical license sales (nearly 50,000 per year), hunter harvest has remained relatively stable in recent years (between 200-300 animals each year). This suggests that the population may not be as robust and fast-growing as some are claiming.
- Cougar complaints are declining (from a high of 1,072 in 1999 to 287 in 2012). This is in large part due to ODFW’s expanded education and outreach efforts. Increased awareness – not increased hunting – is the key to reducing conflict between humans and wildlife.
- Research in nearby Washington State found that high levels of cougar harvest resulted in increased complaints and conflict. As hunters remove older, trophy-sized cougars from the population, these “well behaved” adults are often replaced by inexperienced juveniles who are more prone to conflict with humans. In response to these findings, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has adapted their approach to cougar management.
- Female cougars spend nearly 75% of their lives pregnant or caring for dependent young. Any increase in hunter harvest will bring with it an increase in kitten orphaning, an outcome that neither managers, hunters, or non-consumptive users will find palatable.
- Current best-available science indicates that even extremely high harvest of predators has little long-term benefit for declining ungulate populations (the major culprit remains habitat loss or degradation).
- The proponents of these bills have failed to provide any data that justifies hound hunting. Increased opportunity and participation have not resulted in increased harvest, and conflict has been gradually decreasing. Combined with the lack of empirical data on cougar populations, the need for hound hunting is not supported.