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Washington Legislation

Sponsor(s): Sens. Brian Dansel (R-7) and Don Benton (R-17)

S.B.6287: Creating a Program to Hunt Cougars with Dogs

Born Free USA position: Oppose

Update: This bill died in the Senate in March 2014.

Bill description: This bill would authorize the Department of Fish & Wildlife to recommend rules to establish a five-year pilot program to pursue or kill cougars with the aid of dogs in select counties. Dangerous wildlife task teams would be developed in each of these counties to help establish a pursuit season and a kill season.

Background: There is no evidence to indicate that hunting large mammals reduces human conflicts with these species. Public education and humane non-lethal deterrents have proven effective in reducing conflicts, and there already exists the ability to remove individual animals that don’t respond to deterrents or who appear to pose a threat to human safety.

Culling populations is actually ineffective. When population levels suddenly drop, the increase in resources available to the remaining members allows them to reproduce more quickly, thereby returning the population to its original size.

Additionally, hounding is a brutal practice:

  • It is well known that chased animals can endure a tremendous amount of stress when pursued by packs of dogs in the activity known as “hounding.” Hounding may separate mothers from their young, leaving them orphaned or even caught and torn up by the dogs.
  • The dogs themselves are also placed at extreme risk in each time they are pitted against a wild terrified animal. Injured dogs are no longer considered “useful,” and are often abandoned by the hunter.
  • Hounding also undermines the hunting principle of “fair chase.” A fair sport involves two individuals on equal grounds. It is hard to argue that an animal pursued by a radio collared pack of dogs and a hunter is on equal footing.
  • Read the full text here.

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