A California Sierra Club chapter wants Golden State bear-hunting rules changed because they’re concerned about the proliferation of doggie doo in national forests. No, I am not making that up.
From this story in the Visalia Times-Delta:
_The start of Tulare County’s bear-hunting season Saturday has some concerned that other, endangered animals could be at risk. For now, hunters are limited to one dog to track black bears. After deer season ends Oct. 24, however, they’ll be able to use teams of hunting dogs. Earlier this month, Richard Garcia, an executive member of the Kern-Kaweah Chapter of the Sierra Club, asked the Tulare County Board of Supervisors to support his group’s efforts to persuade the California Fish and Game Commission to change bear-hunting rules in the state. They want hunters to keep their dogs on leashes at all times and to remove their dogs’ feces from hunting areas.
__Dogs and their feces, which can spread disease, threaten such animals as the Pacific fisher, American marten and California wolverine ˜ all members of the weasel-ferret family ˜ and the Sierra Nevada red fox, Garcia said. “The problem is, we have some animals in our local national forest that are on the brink of extinction,” he told supervisors. The southern Sierra foothills, including Sequoia National Forest and Tulare County’s Balch Park east of Porterville, are traditional habitats for the threatened animals, he said. Garcia’s group has members in Tulare, Kings and Kern counties. Currently, he said, Kings-Kaweah is the only Sierra Club chapter working on the hunting-law change.
Garcia stressed that he’s not trying to force an end to bear hunting in the state. Dog owners in Tulare County parks are required to keep their animals leashed. In the national forests, dogs must be leashed at campgrounds and either on leashes or under their master’s voice control on trails. The exception: Licensed hunters can let their dogs run free to chase bears and some other game, according to the California Department of Fish and Game. No hunting is allowed in the national parks. The supervisors have not taken any action on Garcia’s request. According to Richard Golightly, a wildlife biologist at Humboldt State University, fecal matter from dogs has not been demonstrated to be a problem in the wild._
I’ll now surrender the floor for comments…