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Cougar/Bear Bills Scheduled for Hearings April 2

Cougar & Bear Management Bills Scheduled for Hearings!!

(not sure if links work so here is direct link to posting:
http://oregonoutdoorcouncil.org/ooc-...uled-be-there/)


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 please copy our talking points below into your email and then use the list of members and their email addresses at the bottom of this post. 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!!


Dear Representative,


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 – [email protected]
Rep. Sal Esquivel, Vice Chair - [email protected]
Rep. Caddy McKeown, Vice Chair – [email protected]
Rep. Brian Clem – [email protected]
Rep. Wayne Krieger - [email protected]
Rep. Jeff Reardon – [email protected]
Rep. Jim Thompson – [email protected]
Rep. Ben Unger – [email protected]
Rep. Gail Whitsett – [email protected]
 
Support for the bills HB 2624 & HB 3395 was overwhelming and only four people showed up to oppose the bills (Humane Society, Sierra Club, Cougar Protection). There were so many sportsmen and women there to support the bills they are going to have another hearing to get everyone in to testify. OOC President Stan Steele and past President Wayne Endicott testified as well as our partners at OHA, RMEF, OR Chapter of FNAWS, Leupold, OR State Granges, OR Farm Bureau, OR Cattlemen and more! Rep. Wayne Krieger stated that “the Oregon Outdoor Council is the strongest organization representing natural resource interests in Oregon.” This is a testament to our partners, their unwavering support, and all of our members!!


It is imperative that you keep emailing the members of the committee especially Rep. Reardon and Unger to politely ask for their support!
Remind them that:

  • The ODFW will still retain control and implement harvest quota’s on cougars/bears regardless of how the animals are hunted or pursued.
  • Allowing the ODFW to utilize sportsmen and women to use dogs/bait will help gather more scientific data that will assist in refining population models for cougars and bears.
  • Over 19 years of scientific data has proven, as ODFW testified today, that predation from cougars is the leading cause for calf and fawn mortality in Oregon.
  • Contrary to the testimony of the anti-hunters, sportsmen and women are NOT poachers and have spent millions of dollars and volunteer hours protecting wildlife from poaching.

Email the committee members by clicking on their emails below: (You can use this link click here to visit our email campaign version and when you click on their name it should bring up an email ready to go)

Rep. Brad Witt, Chair[email protected]
Rep. Sal Esquivel, Vice Chair - [email protected]
Rep. Caddy McKeown, Vice Chair[email protected]
Rep. Brian Clem[email protected]
Rep. Wayne Krieger - [email protected]
Rep. Jeff Reardon[email protected]
Rep. Jim Thompson[email protected]
Rep. Ben Unger[email protected]
Rep. Gail Whitsett[email protected]

Sample email below, please use your own words and be very polite...make it your email!

Dear Representative,

During the public hearings on HB 2624 and 3395 there was overwhelming support for both bills. Only four people, anti-hunting interests, showed up in opposition. You were unfortunately provided some false information by those people that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife was able to correct.

I want to share with you that dogs are currently being used for cougar and bear removal, but it is costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ron Anglin, ODFW Wildlife Administrator, testified that they would like to be able to do more scientific work to refine their population data on cougars, but that it was cost prohibitive. The solution to this is clear. By passing HB 2624 and allowing voters to have a voice you are protecting the will of the people and for the counties that do opt out the ODFW can adopt rules that will help them in their scientific data collection.

Please keep in mind that:

The ODFW will still retain control and implement harvest quota’s on cougars/bears regardless of how the animals are hunted or pursued.

Allowing the ODFW to utilize sportsmen and women to use dogs/bait will help gather more scientific data that will assist in refining population models for cougars and bears.

Over 19 years of scientific data has proven, as ODFW testified today, that predation from cougars/bears is the leading cause for calf and fawn mortality in Oregon.

Contrary to the testimony of the anti-hunters, sportsmen and women are NOT poachers and have spent millions of dollars and volunteer hours protecting wildlife from poaching.

Please support both of these very important bills.
 


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