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A Call to Action: CA Battle Over Hunting With Hounds Heats Up

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May 02, 2012

A Call to Action: CA Battle Over Hunting With Hounds Heats Up

by Chad Love

Gundog owners are used to low-grade attacks on our way of life. Not even the loony fringe believes outright bans on hunting dog ownership can work. Yet, there are any number of ways that anti-hunting and anti-pet ownership forces can nickel and dime us with laws that, on the surface seem fairly benign or even well-intentioned. I mean, who isn’t against puppy mills, irresponsible dog owners and animal cruelty, right?

So these groups trot out, mostly on the local level but increasingly on the state level as well, proposed legislation like spay and neuter requirements, dog limit requirements, "kennel licensing" requirements, breeding restrictions, etc., that would make owning, breeding, training, and hunting with dogs as difficult and expensive as possible.

But gundog owners in California need to sit up and take notice on a piece of legislation. The battle over hunting bears and bobcats with hounds is heating up in the Golden State, with round one going to the anti-hunters. But this is much more than just another piece of anti-hunting legislation. Hunting dog owners in California - all hunting dog owners, not just houndsmen, need to fight this. 

From this story in the Mount Shasta News:

Hundreds on both sides of the hound hunting debate testified before the state senate’s Natural Resources Committee in Sacramento last week before a bill that would ban the practice was moved forward to the appropriations committee. The vote was 5-3 to approve the legislation, which would make it illegal to use hounds while hunting bear and bobcats in the state of California.

Sounds grim for Golden State houndsmen, but the legislation, known as SB 1221, still has a ways to go before it can be signed into law. It now goes to the state senate appropriations committee, then if passed goes on to the full senate floor, then to the state assembly and the governor's office. If California sportsmen can get mobilized, maybe they can halt its passage. If not, then all hunting for bears and bobcats with hounds will be outlawed, and then what? Emboldened, will they come next for our beagles? Coursing hounds? Coon hounds? Working terriers?

If you live in California and you own a hunting dog - any kind of hunting dog - then you need to start calling your elected representatives, making placards, sending letters, whatever it takes. The right you save may be your own...

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from JStark916 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Chad, thanks for bringing this to folks' attention. I disagree with you on the way we've gotten here, politically, but the issue needs to be fought.

We can make all the snide comments about the People's Republic of Kalifornia (just don't look at the "made in" tags on our clothes), but the main reason why bills like this make it so far in California is because hunters have allowed ourselves to be pulled into the extreme minority political camp here. I know many, many Californian Democrats who want to learn how to hunt and would hunt if given the opportunity. But I've also seen the hunting nonprofit groups use kneejerk political tactics to "mobilize" what they feel is their base, rather then working on education and inclusiveness.

This bill won't be passed by a bunch of anti-pet owners; it will be passed by a group of people who have zero connection to hunting and working dogs as a human tradition that predates agriculture. Many of our representatives have been raised in too sterile and unnatural an environment (I'm reminded of Aldo Leopold's comment about the boy whose hair doesn't stand on end upon first seeing a deer). We, as hunters, are to blame for this. We are the keepers of these traditions; when we fail to pass them along or keep the fires of our moral questions burning, then we lose the whole race.

Hunting isn't about abortion, it isn't about foreign policy; heck, it isn't even about the 2nd Amendment. Hunting cuts to the core of many people's desire to protect and connect with the environment. It connects us to the wild and teaches responsibility for life and death in a unique way. When we let our notions about how our economy should work interfere with our ability to talk to our fellow Americans about the freedom, power, beauty and responsibilities that come from hunting, then we lose this fight.

Californian hunters, please call your representatives and tell them that you support hounds hunting for more than just pigs. But don't yell at them; instead, graciously invite them out to hunt.

Thanks again, Chad.

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from spentcartridge wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

I think a lot of people, dog owners included, underestimate the power of a single phone call, email or letter to their representative. Any elected official will tell you how much impact these simple expressions of opinion have on the way they vote. Absent any constituent feedback, they vote the way they personally want to, which isn't always bad but do you really want to take that chance?

Most constituents never, ever contact their elected officials. Can you recall the last time you did? That means even a handful of calls or emails voicing a position on an issue carry a tremendous amount of weight, especially if the representative doesn't have a strong feeling one way or another about an issue.

It will take all of two minutes to call or email your rep. The only downside is not being able to take your dog hunting..

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Sorry, but I won't bite on the "any gun dog legislation will lead to the end of the world" argument. Go ahead and slam me with all the minuses you want. It's my opinion and that should be of some value even if you don't agree.

I'm not a fan of running animals with dogs. Never hae been. I try to distress the critters I hunt as little as possible while I'm hunting them. Running them for miles with dogs is about the most distressful kind of hunting one could possibly dream up! Sorry, but the animal lovers and pet fanatics can have at this one. More power to em.

In fact, I was really surprised bear hunting with dogs hadn't been banned in that state a long time ago. It's been illegal to chase bears with dogs in Montana and Idaho since before I started hunting and I can tell you, that is a very long time ago! Bobcats? I bet there aren't a handful of folks in the whole state of California who bother with getting bobcats that way. Cripes, their pelts are worth a small fortune these days. One of the few fur bearing critters whose pelts traditionally hold at very high values. Lynx are bringing $250 - $600 up here now and bobcat is a LOT prettier. What person in his right mind would want to risk having a bobcat's $$$$ pelt torn to pieces by dogs? It is a waste and I don't think that's justified. I say take them with killer traps or traditional hunting or leave em alone. And, yes, it is VERY easy to set bobcat killer traps so that dogs can't get caught in them. I don't hold with baiting bears either but in many environments it's about the only other effective way of getting rid of them and keeping their numbers in check. However, no distress involved in that. Bear walks in to the bait and next step is into heaven. He never knows what hit em. Can't get any more humane than that! Bears shot over bait also have to be a HELLUVA lot better eating than something that's been heated up and chased all over the place, sometimes for hours.

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from JStark916 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Ontario Honker, I respect your position, but I must say that you played into just the issue Chad is talking about here.

You can't trap in California anymore; it was one of the "low hanging fruit" that anti-hunters used as a wedge issue. You can't hunt over bait in California, either.

In California, we don't have predators that run big game anymore, they were all killed off. Grizzlies and wolves are gone, as are the huge herds of our endemic tule elk and pronghorn. Grizzlies and wolves would push even black bears and mountain lions. Our wild places are far more static and unnatural than they used to be.

In California, there was one more top-level predator that has interacted with its habitats for over twelve thousand years. People. And now we are all that is left of these big predators.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

More power to them!!??? OH, I guess it hasn't dawned on you that what you do with Pearl and Opal and all the dogs you write about is something the antis think is just as wicked and would stop when and if they get a chance. To the antis, there is no difference between the bears and cats houndsmen chase and the pheasants YOU chase, never mind the waterfowl you deceive with decoys. I believe your '' more power to them'' comment is a damned disgrace and an insult to all the hunting/trapping/fishing community that would come to your defense if your method of hunting and killing was under attack.

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from 007 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Here we go again. "I don't approve of hound hunting so we'll band together and throw the houndsmen under the bus, just don't interfere with ____________ (fill in the blank with whatever appeals to you)". If we continue down that road, pretty soon it won't matter because we will have allowed the antis to overrun us. Sad..............

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from rock rat wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Some thoughtful words my Jstark on the first comment. You Californians need to make your tent a little larger so that you have more hunters in it. Even though someone might not hunt bears with dogs if they are a hunter there is a greater chance that they would look at the issue with a neutral view. You need to look at the bigger picture of all hunting and work hard on every single issue that comes up. Look at the harm to the deer population from cats. We need to support all kinds of hunting.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Well, to the best of my knowledge bobcats do virtually no damage to a healthy deer population. MIGHT bring down a sick one but I think even that would be a long shot. A bobcat would be very, very lucky to find an unattended fawn (fawns have no odor) and no doe worth passing on its genes would stand down to a lone bobcat (unlike coyotes, bobcats hunt solo). So, don't try to make a justificationn based on the deer-killing evils of bobcats when one isn't there. That's the kind of stuff that hurts our cause.

In many western states the bear population is well controlled without hound hunting. And, as I pointed out, the ban on hunting them with dogs goes way back long before PETA and the other nut job nature freaks had any credibility. Hound hunting bears was banned in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming way back when those states were controlled by hunters, cattlemen, and farmers. Hound hunting is not necessary to keep the bear population in check - as Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming have proven - and continuing it where it's not needed only gives hunting a bad image. I DESPARATELY want to improve that image. Doing so will only help the survival of hunting. Keeping the sport "dirty" (UNNECESSARILY unethical) will only hurt its chances for survival. Imagine how much credibility hunting in California would gain if the hunter lobby there stepped up and said, "Ya know, it's just not right to distress the animals unnecessarily while we're hunting them. Let's get rid of this." Wow would that knock the thunder out of the antis! Killing is never inhumane if it's done properly. Death is part of nature. But I just don't see anything humane in scaring the living crap out of an animal long term before it is dispatched. If you guys could wrap your head around compromising on issues like this, you'll find hunting will gain a LOT in the long run.

JStark, I don't know where you get your information. Of course trapping is allowed in California! Took all of fifteen seconds to find their regulations on line. I see there's a Prop 4 in the works to ban it which could be kinda scary. That proposition business is totally scary in any event. California needs to give the gawdam legislation that created the proposition mechanism a blindfold and cigarette or the most populous state in the union will never be anything but the state of perpetual anarchy - and financial ruin. You can't run a church meeting that way, let alone one of the most powerful and impacting governments in the world. It's government by and for the media circus.

And, yes, baiting is not allowed in California. If the bear population ever has a chance to get out of control (and, given the huge number of hunters in the field there, that seems extremely unlikely), then maybe they might want to reconsider allowing baiting on a temporary basis, as Wyoming has done in the past. But for a very, very long time now Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming have got along just fine controlling their bear numbers without either baiting or hound hunting. I'm sure California will also do just fine if it follows suit.

Ithaca, my dogs usually chase pheasants a few feet, not a few miles. Apples and oranges. Once my Brittany pup gets back in the field this fall, the birds are likely to get "chased" a whole lot less. She is turning into a marvelous pointing dog. Bringing geese into my decoys does not distress them. And undue DISTRESS is the issue here. Again, apples and oranges. The example of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming as good hunting states without hounds is, on the other hand, apples and apples.

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from bassman06 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

If someone is trying to get to terriers and coonhounds, they'll think twice after meeting the animals that our dogs dig or tree. My parents love terriers, both working and pet terriers and I love coonhounds. I'd do what would needed to be done because they do the same for us! Dogs are a man's best friend, especially mine because they won't judge me like people do. Dogs may not be people but they sure have the personality.

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from Bismuth wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Ontario, you're way off. Idaho allows both baiting and hunting with hounds. In fact, the two pursuits account for the majority of the overall harvest each year. The fact of the matter is that in some areas, hunting with dogs is an incredibly important ingredient in big game management. Sorry, but there's not much weight in your argument if you can't even get your facts straight.

That said, i'll take hunting with dogs over sitting over bait any day. It's physical, it's exciting, and it takes much more work, love and attention to train a hunting hound than it does to put out sugar treats and corn syrup , take a nap at the top of a ladder, and wait for something to come for dinner.

But that's neither here nor there. At the end of the day, we all sit at the same table, and whether you agree with hound hunting or not, we are all hunters and stronger in numbers, so support & encourage the Cali dog handlers in this fight--you might need their help someday when the anti crowd targets your niche.

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from JStark916 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Ontario honker, I apologize about the trapping, I was misinformed. I just remember the Prop. 4 being passed and most folks I knew who trapped just not doing it anymore. It turns out that recreational trappers can still trap, they just can't use leg-hold traps, body-gripping traps, or in many places, Conibear-type traps.

As I implied earlier, California cannot be compared to the other states you mention because we do not have the large game animals and large predators moving about as they should here. Bears are a problem, just as blacktail deer, pigs, and turkeys are problems, where they cannot be hunted by people (and are not hunted by other major predators). Ask the Tahoe Basin or Yosemite Valley about bear populations and "problems".

People have used dogs in California to hunt for, literally, thousands of years (human habitation in California has been found to about 12-15k years).

I have never hunted with hounds in my life, and I don't plan to any time soon. I also know that there are some real yayhoos out there who do horrible things with dogs and wild animals. However, I also know that there are folks out there who care about hounds, who appreciate and love bears, and who use hounds to hunt bears. Hunting is already heavily regulated, and black bears are doing remarkably well in our State of 36 million people, even with hounds hunting them.

And if you are concerned about the ethics of fear (a valid concern), then I hope you ground sluice all your pheasants behind your Brittany, pull her from runners, and do not flush them from cover. It is easily arguable that there is no difference in fear between seconds (or more likely, minutes) for a bird or minutes for a bear. Birds brains are so tiny and so in-the-moment that the overriding fear of those seconds may very well be far worse than a bear that is in a tree, thinking it is safe. Please just stalk your birds, and don't scare them into flight, if you want to be consistent in your philosophy (and I promise I mean no disrespect).

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Bismuth, perhaps I'm wrong but to the best of my knowledge running bears with hounds wasn't legal when I lived in Idaho twenty years ago. My relatives all still live there (I was born in Emmett) and they haven't mentioned any significant change - and that would seem to be a pretty significant change. I lived near Plummer and I would think I would have heard something about bear hounds if any of it was being done much since there was a lot of bear hunting in that country. I hit the woods pretty hard and though I didn't hunt bears, I would have thought I would have known about it if someone was hunting them with dogs in that country. If it was legal then, it wasn't very popular. Baiting deer and elk was illegal. I presumed baiting bears was too. Just never heard of anyone doing it. If it is legal I am sure it would account for the majority of bears killed. Idaho has quite a history associated with sheep ranching and I expect this might account for an out-of-date tradition of baiting and running bears with dogs. Black bears can be much harder on the sheep business than coyotes. That tradition is, however, pretty much ancient history as most of the sheep country is fast getting filled up with condos and ski resorts. As far as I know all three states still allow cougar hunting with hounds but that's about the only way they can be hunted. It is or was a fairly popular pastime with the hound crowd. Knew a lot of guys doing that. I don't care for it but it's the only real way to get the big cats - and they need to be got.

Baiting bears is legal here and though I don't hunt that way, I don't have a problem with those who do. We have a super abundance of black bear and the flat brushy nature of this country makes it almost impossible to get them any other way (except with dogs and for whatever reason I cannot fathom, that's not legal though it is legal to chase moose with hounds - and please don't ask me to make any kind of logical sense of the MNR's big game management here! Mission impossible!)

JStark, I worked at Yosemite so I am familiar with their bear situation. It is a totally artificial problem because the environment of any National Park is totally artificial. For the most part National Park Service resource management is an unnatural freak show that has no bearing on anything happening outside the parks in the real world. Apples and oranges.

Sorry, but I don't see how the size variation of different animals/birds can somehow alter their perspective of fear/distress per unit of time. Having trouble figuring that one out. No disrespect intended. I'm not saying my flushing dogs don't cause the birds some distress. But in comparison to chasing bears with hounds, the distress factor is, comparatively speaking, negligable. The comparison can be as little as a split second of distress compared to as much as hours of it running from hounds (few can run a bear down in "minutes"). I have never heard of any scientific evidence linking smaller brain size to a magnification of fear. And while pheasants are used to being pursued by foxes, cats, coyotes, raptors, etc., black bears generally speaking, and especially in California, are not used to being chased by anything. I have to presume that any pheasant my dog hunts up is going to be a lot more habituated to being pursued and therefore less stressed than a California black bear pursued by hounds would be. I can't get into their heads to know for sure but that seems to be a logical conclusion, don't you think?

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from RES1956 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Holy crap, Batman,,,,,,

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from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

OH, your apples to apples comparison matters not a wit. If you read my sentence again you will see it starts:''To the antis''. They think what you do (regardless of your defense) is just as evil, and yet you wish them more power.

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from 007 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

As long as we're cleaning house of undesirable elements, let's also throw inline muzzle loaders and cross bows in with hunting big game with hounds since I own neither and don't really approve of them; primitive weapons shouldn't have a scope or fire sabots and pistol bullets, and too many folks use a crossbow illegally in the general archery season. There, that was easy and it doesn't effect my flintlock or compound bow. Come on, folks, get a grip here!!! It's not a matter of what's necessary for control, it's a matter of one man's preference where legal. Folks, we need to be supportive of each other's interests as long as they're legal and quit this holier-than-thou crap before it's too late.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Ithaca, I won't fight them on THIS issue. More "power to em" ON THIS ISSUE. Again, I'd like to the see the hunter lobby stand up and steal their thunder rather than get behind supporting a losing cause that from a basic ethical standpoint probably should lose anyway.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

It's the silent majority sitting on the fence that will carry the day in California. Taking the side of something that is obsolete and unnecessarily stressful is not going to get that majority on side with the hunting lobby. Not now, and more importantly, not in the future. We need to stand up and prove that we can help improve this sport/cultural ethic/environmental tool and keep it in step with the times.

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from 007 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Honker, what is "in step with the times". Seems to me that tends to mean allowing the anti-hunter to dictate what is acceptable or not, when most of them have never set foot off the pavement.

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from JStark916 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Ontario honker, I appreciate the tone you are taking with me, and I hope to maintain it here.

First, NPS management practices have changed dramatically from even 20 years ago, so I wouldn't throw them under the bus.

Second, the animal distinction I was making was not one of size, but of ability to think.

But, if you want to compare apples to apples in the stress realm, consider the impacts of long-term stress on humans: it does not habituate us to it, it kills us younger and causes us to behave unnaturally. Farm-raised animals that are raised in high-stress situations also suffer more, just like humans. This is well documented. A farm-raised pheasant is not "habituated" to being hunted, it is exhibiting the same symptoms of long-term stress by acting very much out of character.

Black bears in grizzly territory are most definitely pushed around. In California, for example, there were no black bears on the Central Coast, because there were so many California golden bears. The number of black bears, and their unnatural behaviors (not moving through the forests, but sticking to particular places and breeding there in larger numbers) are seen where they aren't hunted as they would have been, prehistorically (in California that means 150 years ago), for thousands of years by bears, wolves, and people. It would be unnatural for black bears to be at the top of the California food chain. Dogs are supposed to be there, with humans by their side.

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from HOUNDED wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

In regards to the proposed sb 1221, it is in the best interest that we all ban together. The attack is currently on us hound hunters because we are the most colorful target. If you think that you are not next you are being foolish. The HSUS is leading the the way in the fight, it is in ther mission statement to end all hunting of mammals and the use of any working dog. I was at the capitol on the 24th, they were asked to refrain from talking about any other forms of hunting that did not pertain to the current bill. They're hoping that we don't ban together it makes it a lot easier for them to win. (Honker, They specificly brought up the use of decoys and bird dogs that would be the next on the chopping block.)

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

I'm not worried about any silly battles over decoys and retrievers. The silent majority can always be counted on to see the logic behind hunting as a viable tool for environmental management. At least as long as hunting IS a viable tool for game management. When it becomes reserved for the "pleasure of the few" then I see its viability becoming questionable. The current problematic snow goose population explosion, for example, is largely due to loss of habitat - FOR PUBLIC HUNTERS. I see the management of the moose resource up here also abused and misused with impunity, all for the sake of $$$. It's tough to argue the utility of hunting and fishing as a resource management tool when this crap goes on. Instead of cleaning our own house and addressing these vital issues, we're blindly battling enviro-kooks over non-issues like this ... and losing the war in the long run. I see reforming attitudes about running down game with dogs WHERE IT'S NOT NECESSARY as a step in the right direction. Bear hunting with dogs might have some utility in the swamps of Alabama or the rain forest of Washington (though I would prefer to see bears shot over bait there instead) but having lived and worked all up and down California, I just don't see running bears with dogs is necessary as an adquate harvesting technique in that environment. It would do "our cause" much more good to throw in the bad bone once in a while. Hunters would look a lot less like the fanatical radical bunny huggers if we show some common sense instead of reacting with blind paranoia all the time. Which of the two "nut jobs" do you think the fence-sitting silent majority will line up behind if "nuts" are all it appears they have to choose from? I think it will not be the side of the fence that kills stuff.

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from 007 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Honker, with this "Sophie's Choice" mentality of yours, who of the "silent majority" do you expect to speak out on your behalf when it's your turn to be the sacrificial lamb for the greater good of the sport? If you honestly think that throwing one of us to the lions from time to time will keep the antis off of you, you are sadly delusional, my friend.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

007, we all know the bunny huggers are not going to go away. And we also have to accept that we're not going to win against them 100% of the time. We have seen that. I say let's pick our battles. I really don't see us winning on this one anyway because it's going to be pretty hard to defend. Very hard. How do you put a good spin on dogs running down bears? That'll be a challenge. On the other hand, I don't have any trouble putting a good spin on goose hunting. The damn things are an environmental blight right now. As I said, it's not that hard to even put a good spin on shooting bears over bait. Not terribly sporting but it's effective at keeping the numbers down and it's usually overwith quickly.

I'm interested to see how the state's wildlife management has responded?

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from 007 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

In the Virginias, it is illegal to bait bear. Two friends of mine lost a combined estimated $10K in sheep to coyotes and bears a couple of years ago so to them it is necessary to control the bear population with the available tools, and it this case those tools have four legs. Also, you need to remember that not every bear treed is taken, we take more pictures than we do bear rugs. Also, ours is an old tradition that is fiercely guarded and cherished, just like goose hunting undoubtedly is to some. Looks to me like it would be much better to work with those folks (us) instead of alienating them and letting them become a political scapegoat.

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from Pray- hunt-work wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

I'll give a similie to apples to apples Honker. You, me and the rest of the hunters on this page should be apples to apples. Although we seem more apples to oranges at times, that is because we refuse to band together. At some point our mommies may step up and give us the old " if you can't all share I'm gonna take all your toys away!!" the sad realisim here is, if our "toys" are taken away by the anti's than we won't be getting them back. Maybe it's more humane to some to see a hound that was breed over 200 years to do a working job be locked in Grammies house defending the couch, or worse yet, maybe we should just start having hounds altogether put down. Because that would be more humane than running a bear up a tree?

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from 007 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Pray-Hunt-Work, I really like your alias there, and might I add "amen" and well put!

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from HOUNDED wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

If we lose this battle in California, it will only give them a stonger foot hold. It should be obvious by now that unless we fight back they will only keep stripping our rights away. My arguement is not about ecnomics, game mangement or any other excuse. It's more to the point; this is how I love to hunt, this is how I spend countless hours with my family. What right do they have to take is away, NONE. I pay my taxes to keep Fish & Game employed to regulate and enforce the laws. I infringe on no one elses rights. Half the time where I go no other soul would have ther courage to follow. I only ask my fellow men/women/hunters/outdorsmen for support as I would support them in there time of need.

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from Pray- hunt-work wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Thank you 007. O-H, pick our battles? Were not dealing with our spouses on this one. We won't Wake up in the morning and have a different outlook on the bunny hugging lawmakers rulings. I say if we think our chances are slim than it's all the more reason to stand up taller and make our voices louder. I respect your opinion on the "distress" of a hounded animal. However were running predators, not song birds. I think that a coyote chewing the hind-end out of a live deer may be just a little more distressing than my dogs running and barking behind it. I understand that you're a very intelligent man and I only wish to share your knowledge as I have very little. But I'm gonna rely on common sense on this one and say that God gave me and my hounds the ability to run the animals which he provided for me and should He convict me to feel differently, than I'll check on the left wing side of the ballot, right along side of you.

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from hounddogs5 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

I would like to let Ontario Honker know that the anti's are already attacking pheasant hunting in CA. they want to make it illegal to hunt pen raised birds so no birds no hunting clubs, check out Califonia Outdoor Heritage Alliance for more info. The Anti's do not care how it is done they want all Hunting banned in CA. When SB 1221 was on the Senate floor for a Vote it was not going well so Senator Lieu took a picture of a bobcat being stretched by a pack of hounds supplied by HSUS supposedly in CA but the dogs we all wearing GPS collars which are illegal in CA but the Senators do not know this, and it had the right effect it got the votes and the pictures came from a Texas hunting site and the Cat had been knocked out of the tree to the hounds which is illegal in CA. So we are fighting the lies of the Anti's. We are Bear Hunters with our hounds and pheasant hunters with our GWP we eat our bear and pheasants and my husband use to duck hunt too. Hunting and our dogs are a big part of our lives we have California Hunting Licenses and my husband has a Nevada Hunting license and Montana Hunting and Fishing license so he can hunt with our son & daughter and the grandkids all hunters and fishermen. Join us at the Capitol on June 26th or call your Assembly Member to oppose SB1221 we need to keep our right to hunt by any ethical means the Anti's are alive and well in CA and out to ban all hunting.

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from hounddogs5 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

I would like to let Ontario Honker know that the anti's are already attacking pheasant hunting in CA. they want to make it illegal to hunt pen raised birds so no birds no hunting clubs, check out Califonia Outdoor Heritage Alliance for more info. The Anti's do not care how it is done they want all Hunting banned in CA. When SB 1221 was on the Senate floor for a Vote it was not going well so Senator Lieu took a picture of a bobcat being stretched by a pack of hounds supplied by HSUS supposedly in CA but the dogs we all wearing GPS collars which are illegal in CA but the Senators do not know this, and it had the right effect it got the votes and the pictures came from a Texas hunting site and the Cat had been knocked out of the tree to the hounds which is illegal in CA. So we are fighting the lies of the Anti's. We are Bear Hunters with our hounds and pheasant hunters with our GWP we eat our bear and pheasants and my husband use to duck hunt too. Hunting and our dogs are a big part of our lives we have California Hunting Licenses and my husband has a Nevada Hunting license and Montana Hunting and Fishing license so he can hunt with our son & daughter and the grandkids all hunters and fishermen. Join us at the Capitol on June 26th or call your Assembly Member to oppose SB1221 we need to keep our right to hunt by any ethical means the Anti's are alive and well in CA and out to ban all hunting.

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from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

More power to them!!??? OH, I guess it hasn't dawned on you that what you do with Pearl and Opal and all the dogs you write about is something the antis think is just as wicked and would stop when and if they get a chance. To the antis, there is no difference between the bears and cats houndsmen chase and the pheasants YOU chase, never mind the waterfowl you deceive with decoys. I believe your '' more power to them'' comment is a damned disgrace and an insult to all the hunting/trapping/fishing community that would come to your defense if your method of hunting and killing was under attack.

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from JStark916 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Chad, thanks for bringing this to folks' attention. I disagree with you on the way we've gotten here, politically, but the issue needs to be fought.

We can make all the snide comments about the People's Republic of Kalifornia (just don't look at the "made in" tags on our clothes), but the main reason why bills like this make it so far in California is because hunters have allowed ourselves to be pulled into the extreme minority political camp here. I know many, many Californian Democrats who want to learn how to hunt and would hunt if given the opportunity. But I've also seen the hunting nonprofit groups use kneejerk political tactics to "mobilize" what they feel is their base, rather then working on education and inclusiveness.

This bill won't be passed by a bunch of anti-pet owners; it will be passed by a group of people who have zero connection to hunting and working dogs as a human tradition that predates agriculture. Many of our representatives have been raised in too sterile and unnatural an environment (I'm reminded of Aldo Leopold's comment about the boy whose hair doesn't stand on end upon first seeing a deer). We, as hunters, are to blame for this. We are the keepers of these traditions; when we fail to pass them along or keep the fires of our moral questions burning, then we lose the whole race.

Hunting isn't about abortion, it isn't about foreign policy; heck, it isn't even about the 2nd Amendment. Hunting cuts to the core of many people's desire to protect and connect with the environment. It connects us to the wild and teaches responsibility for life and death in a unique way. When we let our notions about how our economy should work interfere with our ability to talk to our fellow Americans about the freedom, power, beauty and responsibilities that come from hunting, then we lose this fight.

Californian hunters, please call your representatives and tell them that you support hounds hunting for more than just pigs. But don't yell at them; instead, graciously invite them out to hunt.

Thanks again, Chad.

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from spentcartridge wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

I think a lot of people, dog owners included, underestimate the power of a single phone call, email or letter to their representative. Any elected official will tell you how much impact these simple expressions of opinion have on the way they vote. Absent any constituent feedback, they vote the way they personally want to, which isn't always bad but do you really want to take that chance?

Most constituents never, ever contact their elected officials. Can you recall the last time you did? That means even a handful of calls or emails voicing a position on an issue carry a tremendous amount of weight, especially if the representative doesn't have a strong feeling one way or another about an issue.

It will take all of two minutes to call or email your rep. The only downside is not being able to take your dog hunting..

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from JStark916 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Ontario Honker, I respect your position, but I must say that you played into just the issue Chad is talking about here.

You can't trap in California anymore; it was one of the "low hanging fruit" that anti-hunters used as a wedge issue. You can't hunt over bait in California, either.

In California, we don't have predators that run big game anymore, they were all killed off. Grizzlies and wolves are gone, as are the huge herds of our endemic tule elk and pronghorn. Grizzlies and wolves would push even black bears and mountain lions. Our wild places are far more static and unnatural than they used to be.

In California, there was one more top-level predator that has interacted with its habitats for over twelve thousand years. People. And now we are all that is left of these big predators.

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from 007 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Here we go again. "I don't approve of hound hunting so we'll band together and throw the houndsmen under the bus, just don't interfere with ____________ (fill in the blank with whatever appeals to you)". If we continue down that road, pretty soon it won't matter because we will have allowed the antis to overrun us. Sad..............

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from rock rat wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Some thoughtful words my Jstark on the first comment. You Californians need to make your tent a little larger so that you have more hunters in it. Even though someone might not hunt bears with dogs if they are a hunter there is a greater chance that they would look at the issue with a neutral view. You need to look at the bigger picture of all hunting and work hard on every single issue that comes up. Look at the harm to the deer population from cats. We need to support all kinds of hunting.

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from HOUNDED wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

In regards to the proposed sb 1221, it is in the best interest that we all ban together. The attack is currently on us hound hunters because we are the most colorful target. If you think that you are not next you are being foolish. The HSUS is leading the the way in the fight, it is in ther mission statement to end all hunting of mammals and the use of any working dog. I was at the capitol on the 24th, they were asked to refrain from talking about any other forms of hunting that did not pertain to the current bill. They're hoping that we don't ban together it makes it a lot easier for them to win. (Honker, They specificly brought up the use of decoys and bird dogs that would be the next on the chopping block.)

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from HOUNDED wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

If we lose this battle in California, it will only give them a stonger foot hold. It should be obvious by now that unless we fight back they will only keep stripping our rights away. My arguement is not about ecnomics, game mangement or any other excuse. It's more to the point; this is how I love to hunt, this is how I spend countless hours with my family. What right do they have to take is away, NONE. I pay my taxes to keep Fish & Game employed to regulate and enforce the laws. I infringe on no one elses rights. Half the time where I go no other soul would have ther courage to follow. I only ask my fellow men/women/hunters/outdorsmen for support as I would support them in there time of need.

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from Bismuth wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Ontario, you're way off. Idaho allows both baiting and hunting with hounds. In fact, the two pursuits account for the majority of the overall harvest each year. The fact of the matter is that in some areas, hunting with dogs is an incredibly important ingredient in big game management. Sorry, but there's not much weight in your argument if you can't even get your facts straight.

That said, i'll take hunting with dogs over sitting over bait any day. It's physical, it's exciting, and it takes much more work, love and attention to train a hunting hound than it does to put out sugar treats and corn syrup , take a nap at the top of a ladder, and wait for something to come for dinner.

But that's neither here nor there. At the end of the day, we all sit at the same table, and whether you agree with hound hunting or not, we are all hunters and stronger in numbers, so support & encourage the Cali dog handlers in this fight--you might need their help someday when the anti crowd targets your niche.

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from 007 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

As long as we're cleaning house of undesirable elements, let's also throw inline muzzle loaders and cross bows in with hunting big game with hounds since I own neither and don't really approve of them; primitive weapons shouldn't have a scope or fire sabots and pistol bullets, and too many folks use a crossbow illegally in the general archery season. There, that was easy and it doesn't effect my flintlock or compound bow. Come on, folks, get a grip here!!! It's not a matter of what's necessary for control, it's a matter of one man's preference where legal. Folks, we need to be supportive of each other's interests as long as they're legal and quit this holier-than-thou crap before it's too late.

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from 007 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Honker, what is "in step with the times". Seems to me that tends to mean allowing the anti-hunter to dictate what is acceptable or not, when most of them have never set foot off the pavement.

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from Pray- hunt-work wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

I'll give a similie to apples to apples Honker. You, me and the rest of the hunters on this page should be apples to apples. Although we seem more apples to oranges at times, that is because we refuse to band together. At some point our mommies may step up and give us the old " if you can't all share I'm gonna take all your toys away!!" the sad realisim here is, if our "toys" are taken away by the anti's than we won't be getting them back. Maybe it's more humane to some to see a hound that was breed over 200 years to do a working job be locked in Grammies house defending the couch, or worse yet, maybe we should just start having hounds altogether put down. Because that would be more humane than running a bear up a tree?

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from Pray- hunt-work wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Thank you 007. O-H, pick our battles? Were not dealing with our spouses on this one. We won't Wake up in the morning and have a different outlook on the bunny hugging lawmakers rulings. I say if we think our chances are slim than it's all the more reason to stand up taller and make our voices louder. I respect your opinion on the "distress" of a hounded animal. However were running predators, not song birds. I think that a coyote chewing the hind-end out of a live deer may be just a little more distressing than my dogs running and barking behind it. I understand that you're a very intelligent man and I only wish to share your knowledge as I have very little. But I'm gonna rely on common sense on this one and say that God gave me and my hounds the ability to run the animals which he provided for me and should He convict me to feel differently, than I'll check on the left wing side of the ballot, right along side of you.

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from bassman06 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

If someone is trying to get to terriers and coonhounds, they'll think twice after meeting the animals that our dogs dig or tree. My parents love terriers, both working and pet terriers and I love coonhounds. I'd do what would needed to be done because they do the same for us! Dogs are a man's best friend, especially mine because they won't judge me like people do. Dogs may not be people but they sure have the personality.

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from JStark916 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Ontario honker, I apologize about the trapping, I was misinformed. I just remember the Prop. 4 being passed and most folks I knew who trapped just not doing it anymore. It turns out that recreational trappers can still trap, they just can't use leg-hold traps, body-gripping traps, or in many places, Conibear-type traps.

As I implied earlier, California cannot be compared to the other states you mention because we do not have the large game animals and large predators moving about as they should here. Bears are a problem, just as blacktail deer, pigs, and turkeys are problems, where they cannot be hunted by people (and are not hunted by other major predators). Ask the Tahoe Basin or Yosemite Valley about bear populations and "problems".

People have used dogs in California to hunt for, literally, thousands of years (human habitation in California has been found to about 12-15k years).

I have never hunted with hounds in my life, and I don't plan to any time soon. I also know that there are some real yayhoos out there who do horrible things with dogs and wild animals. However, I also know that there are folks out there who care about hounds, who appreciate and love bears, and who use hounds to hunt bears. Hunting is already heavily regulated, and black bears are doing remarkably well in our State of 36 million people, even with hounds hunting them.

And if you are concerned about the ethics of fear (a valid concern), then I hope you ground sluice all your pheasants behind your Brittany, pull her from runners, and do not flush them from cover. It is easily arguable that there is no difference in fear between seconds (or more likely, minutes) for a bird or minutes for a bear. Birds brains are so tiny and so in-the-moment that the overriding fear of those seconds may very well be far worse than a bear that is in a tree, thinking it is safe. Please just stalk your birds, and don't scare them into flight, if you want to be consistent in your philosophy (and I promise I mean no disrespect).

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from RES1956 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Holy crap, Batman,,,,,,

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from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

OH, your apples to apples comparison matters not a wit. If you read my sentence again you will see it starts:''To the antis''. They think what you do (regardless of your defense) is just as evil, and yet you wish them more power.

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from JStark916 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Ontario honker, I appreciate the tone you are taking with me, and I hope to maintain it here.

First, NPS management practices have changed dramatically from even 20 years ago, so I wouldn't throw them under the bus.

Second, the animal distinction I was making was not one of size, but of ability to think.

But, if you want to compare apples to apples in the stress realm, consider the impacts of long-term stress on humans: it does not habituate us to it, it kills us younger and causes us to behave unnaturally. Farm-raised animals that are raised in high-stress situations also suffer more, just like humans. This is well documented. A farm-raised pheasant is not "habituated" to being hunted, it is exhibiting the same symptoms of long-term stress by acting very much out of character.

Black bears in grizzly territory are most definitely pushed around. In California, for example, there were no black bears on the Central Coast, because there were so many California golden bears. The number of black bears, and their unnatural behaviors (not moving through the forests, but sticking to particular places and breeding there in larger numbers) are seen where they aren't hunted as they would have been, prehistorically (in California that means 150 years ago), for thousands of years by bears, wolves, and people. It would be unnatural for black bears to be at the top of the California food chain. Dogs are supposed to be there, with humans by their side.

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from 007 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Honker, with this "Sophie's Choice" mentality of yours, who of the "silent majority" do you expect to speak out on your behalf when it's your turn to be the sacrificial lamb for the greater good of the sport? If you honestly think that throwing one of us to the lions from time to time will keep the antis off of you, you are sadly delusional, my friend.

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from 007 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

In the Virginias, it is illegal to bait bear. Two friends of mine lost a combined estimated $10K in sheep to coyotes and bears a couple of years ago so to them it is necessary to control the bear population with the available tools, and it this case those tools have four legs. Also, you need to remember that not every bear treed is taken, we take more pictures than we do bear rugs. Also, ours is an old tradition that is fiercely guarded and cherished, just like goose hunting undoubtedly is to some. Looks to me like it would be much better to work with those folks (us) instead of alienating them and letting them become a political scapegoat.

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from 007 wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Pray-Hunt-Work, I really like your alias there, and might I add "amen" and well put!

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from hounddogs5 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

I would like to let Ontario Honker know that the anti's are already attacking pheasant hunting in CA. they want to make it illegal to hunt pen raised birds so no birds no hunting clubs, check out Califonia Outdoor Heritage Alliance for more info. The Anti's do not care how it is done they want all Hunting banned in CA. When SB 1221 was on the Senate floor for a Vote it was not going well so Senator Lieu took a picture of a bobcat being stretched by a pack of hounds supplied by HSUS supposedly in CA but the dogs we all wearing GPS collars which are illegal in CA but the Senators do not know this, and it had the right effect it got the votes and the pictures came from a Texas hunting site and the Cat had been knocked out of the tree to the hounds which is illegal in CA. So we are fighting the lies of the Anti's. We are Bear Hunters with our hounds and pheasant hunters with our GWP we eat our bear and pheasants and my husband use to duck hunt too. Hunting and our dogs are a big part of our lives we have California Hunting Licenses and my husband has a Nevada Hunting license and Montana Hunting and Fishing license so he can hunt with our son & daughter and the grandkids all hunters and fishermen. Join us at the Capitol on June 26th or call your Assembly Member to oppose SB1221 we need to keep our right to hunt by any ethical means the Anti's are alive and well in CA and out to ban all hunting.

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from hounddogs5 wrote 1 year 44 weeks ago

I would like to let Ontario Honker know that the anti's are already attacking pheasant hunting in CA. they want to make it illegal to hunt pen raised birds so no birds no hunting clubs, check out Califonia Outdoor Heritage Alliance for more info. The Anti's do not care how it is done they want all Hunting banned in CA. When SB 1221 was on the Senate floor for a Vote it was not going well so Senator Lieu took a picture of a bobcat being stretched by a pack of hounds supplied by HSUS supposedly in CA but the dogs we all wearing GPS collars which are illegal in CA but the Senators do not know this, and it had the right effect it got the votes and the pictures came from a Texas hunting site and the Cat had been knocked out of the tree to the hounds which is illegal in CA. So we are fighting the lies of the Anti's. We are Bear Hunters with our hounds and pheasant hunters with our GWP we eat our bear and pheasants and my husband use to duck hunt too. Hunting and our dogs are a big part of our lives we have California Hunting Licenses and my husband has a Nevada Hunting license and Montana Hunting and Fishing license so he can hunt with our son & daughter and the grandkids all hunters and fishermen. Join us at the Capitol on June 26th or call your Assembly Member to oppose SB1221 we need to keep our right to hunt by any ethical means the Anti's are alive and well in CA and out to ban all hunting.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Bismuth, perhaps I'm wrong but to the best of my knowledge running bears with hounds wasn't legal when I lived in Idaho twenty years ago. My relatives all still live there (I was born in Emmett) and they haven't mentioned any significant change - and that would seem to be a pretty significant change. I lived near Plummer and I would think I would have heard something about bear hounds if any of it was being done much since there was a lot of bear hunting in that country. I hit the woods pretty hard and though I didn't hunt bears, I would have thought I would have known about it if someone was hunting them with dogs in that country. If it was legal then, it wasn't very popular. Baiting deer and elk was illegal. I presumed baiting bears was too. Just never heard of anyone doing it. If it is legal I am sure it would account for the majority of bears killed. Idaho has quite a history associated with sheep ranching and I expect this might account for an out-of-date tradition of baiting and running bears with dogs. Black bears can be much harder on the sheep business than coyotes. That tradition is, however, pretty much ancient history as most of the sheep country is fast getting filled up with condos and ski resorts. As far as I know all three states still allow cougar hunting with hounds but that's about the only way they can be hunted. It is or was a fairly popular pastime with the hound crowd. Knew a lot of guys doing that. I don't care for it but it's the only real way to get the big cats - and they need to be got.

Baiting bears is legal here and though I don't hunt that way, I don't have a problem with those who do. We have a super abundance of black bear and the flat brushy nature of this country makes it almost impossible to get them any other way (except with dogs and for whatever reason I cannot fathom, that's not legal though it is legal to chase moose with hounds - and please don't ask me to make any kind of logical sense of the MNR's big game management here! Mission impossible!)

JStark, I worked at Yosemite so I am familiar with their bear situation. It is a totally artificial problem because the environment of any National Park is totally artificial. For the most part National Park Service resource management is an unnatural freak show that has no bearing on anything happening outside the parks in the real world. Apples and oranges.

Sorry, but I don't see how the size variation of different animals/birds can somehow alter their perspective of fear/distress per unit of time. Having trouble figuring that one out. No disrespect intended. I'm not saying my flushing dogs don't cause the birds some distress. But in comparison to chasing bears with hounds, the distress factor is, comparatively speaking, negligable. The comparison can be as little as a split second of distress compared to as much as hours of it running from hounds (few can run a bear down in "minutes"). I have never heard of any scientific evidence linking smaller brain size to a magnification of fear. And while pheasants are used to being pursued by foxes, cats, coyotes, raptors, etc., black bears generally speaking, and especially in California, are not used to being chased by anything. I have to presume that any pheasant my dog hunts up is going to be a lot more habituated to being pursued and therefore less stressed than a California black bear pursued by hounds would be. I can't get into their heads to know for sure but that seems to be a logical conclusion, don't you think?

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Ithaca, I won't fight them on THIS issue. More "power to em" ON THIS ISSUE. Again, I'd like to the see the hunter lobby stand up and steal their thunder rather than get behind supporting a losing cause that from a basic ethical standpoint probably should lose anyway.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

I'm not worried about any silly battles over decoys and retrievers. The silent majority can always be counted on to see the logic behind hunting as a viable tool for environmental management. At least as long as hunting IS a viable tool for game management. When it becomes reserved for the "pleasure of the few" then I see its viability becoming questionable. The current problematic snow goose population explosion, for example, is largely due to loss of habitat - FOR PUBLIC HUNTERS. I see the management of the moose resource up here also abused and misused with impunity, all for the sake of $$$. It's tough to argue the utility of hunting and fishing as a resource management tool when this crap goes on. Instead of cleaning our own house and addressing these vital issues, we're blindly battling enviro-kooks over non-issues like this ... and losing the war in the long run. I see reforming attitudes about running down game with dogs WHERE IT'S NOT NECESSARY as a step in the right direction. Bear hunting with dogs might have some utility in the swamps of Alabama or the rain forest of Washington (though I would prefer to see bears shot over bait there instead) but having lived and worked all up and down California, I just don't see running bears with dogs is necessary as an adquate harvesting technique in that environment. It would do "our cause" much more good to throw in the bad bone once in a while. Hunters would look a lot less like the fanatical radical bunny huggers if we show some common sense instead of reacting with blind paranoia all the time. Which of the two "nut jobs" do you think the fence-sitting silent majority will line up behind if "nuts" are all it appears they have to choose from? I think it will not be the side of the fence that kills stuff.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

007, we all know the bunny huggers are not going to go away. And we also have to accept that we're not going to win against them 100% of the time. We have seen that. I say let's pick our battles. I really don't see us winning on this one anyway because it's going to be pretty hard to defend. Very hard. How do you put a good spin on dogs running down bears? That'll be a challenge. On the other hand, I don't have any trouble putting a good spin on goose hunting. The damn things are an environmental blight right now. As I said, it's not that hard to even put a good spin on shooting bears over bait. Not terribly sporting but it's effective at keeping the numbers down and it's usually overwith quickly.

I'm interested to see how the state's wildlife management has responded?

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

It's the silent majority sitting on the fence that will carry the day in California. Taking the side of something that is obsolete and unnecessarily stressful is not going to get that majority on side with the hunting lobby. Not now, and more importantly, not in the future. We need to stand up and prove that we can help improve this sport/cultural ethic/environmental tool and keep it in step with the times.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 49 weeks ago

Well, to the best of my knowledge bobcats do virtually no damage to a healthy deer population. MIGHT bring down a sick one but I think even that would be a long shot. A bobcat would be very, very lucky to find an unattended fawn (fawns have no odor) and no doe worth passing on its genes would stand down to a lone bobcat (unlike coyotes, bobcats hunt solo). So, don't try to make a justificationn based on the deer-killing evils of bobcats when one isn't there. That's the kind of stuff that hurts our cause.

In many western states the bear population is well controlled without hound hunting. And, as I pointed out, the ban on hunting them with dogs goes way back long before PETA and the other nut job nature freaks had any credibility. Hound hunting bears was banned in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming way back when those states were controlled by hunters, cattlemen, and farmers. Hound hunting is not necessary to keep the bear population in check - as Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming have proven - and continuing it where it's not needed only gives hunting a bad image. I DESPARATELY want to improve that image. Doing so will only help the survival of hunting. Keeping the sport "dirty" (UNNECESSARILY unethical) will only hurt its chances for survival. Imagine how much credibility hunting in California would gain if the hunter lobby there stepped up and said, "Ya know, it's just not right to distress the animals unnecessarily while we're hunting them. Let's get rid of this." Wow would that knock the thunder out of the antis! Killing is never inhumane if it's done properly. Death is part of nature. But I just don't see anything humane in scaring the living crap out of an animal long term before it is dispatched. If you guys could wrap your head around compromising on issues like this, you'll find hunting will gain a LOT in the long run.

JStark, I don't know where you get your information. Of course trapping is allowed in California! Took all of fifteen seconds to find their regulations on line. I see there's a Prop 4 in the works to ban it which could be kinda scary. That proposition business is totally scary in any event. California needs to give the gawdam legislation that created the proposition mechanism a blindfold and cigarette or the most populous state in the union will never be anything but the state of perpetual anarchy - and financial ruin. You can't run a church meeting that way, let alone one of the most powerful and impacting governments in the world. It's government by and for the media circus.

And, yes, baiting is not allowed in California. If the bear population ever has a chance to get out of control (and, given the huge number of hunters in the field there, that seems extremely unlikely), then maybe they might want to reconsider allowing baiting on a temporary basis, as Wyoming has done in the past. But for a very, very long time now Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming have got along just fine controlling their bear numbers without either baiting or hound hunting. I'm sure California will also do just fine if it follows suit.

Ithaca, my dogs usually chase pheasants a few feet, not a few miles. Apples and oranges. Once my Brittany pup gets back in the field this fall, the birds are likely to get "chased" a whole lot less. She is turning into a marvelous pointing dog. Bringing geese into my decoys does not distress them. And undue DISTRESS is the issue here. Again, apples and oranges. The example of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming as good hunting states without hounds is, on the other hand, apples and apples.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Sorry, but I won't bite on the "any gun dog legislation will lead to the end of the world" argument. Go ahead and slam me with all the minuses you want. It's my opinion and that should be of some value even if you don't agree.

I'm not a fan of running animals with dogs. Never hae been. I try to distress the critters I hunt as little as possible while I'm hunting them. Running them for miles with dogs is about the most distressful kind of hunting one could possibly dream up! Sorry, but the animal lovers and pet fanatics can have at this one. More power to em.

In fact, I was really surprised bear hunting with dogs hadn't been banned in that state a long time ago. It's been illegal to chase bears with dogs in Montana and Idaho since before I started hunting and I can tell you, that is a very long time ago! Bobcats? I bet there aren't a handful of folks in the whole state of California who bother with getting bobcats that way. Cripes, their pelts are worth a small fortune these days. One of the few fur bearing critters whose pelts traditionally hold at very high values. Lynx are bringing $250 - $600 up here now and bobcat is a LOT prettier. What person in his right mind would want to risk having a bobcat's $$$$ pelt torn to pieces by dogs? It is a waste and I don't think that's justified. I say take them with killer traps or traditional hunting or leave em alone. And, yes, it is VERY easy to set bobcat killer traps so that dogs can't get caught in them. I don't hold with baiting bears either but in many environments it's about the only other effective way of getting rid of them and keeping their numbers in check. However, no distress involved in that. Bear walks in to the bait and next step is into heaven. He never knows what hit em. Can't get any more humane than that! Bears shot over bait also have to be a HELLUVA lot better eating than something that's been heated up and chased all over the place, sometimes for hours.

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