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Oregon Deer Decline, Cougar, Hounds & HSUS

Discussion in 'Turf and Surf Hunting and Fishing' started by Quigley_Sharps, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Deer Decline, Cougar, Hounds & HSUS
    <HR style="COLOR: #ffffff; BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffffff" SIZE=1><!-- / icon and title --><!-- message -->The first item is that the hound hunting ban on cougar and bear that is in place now in Oregon is the result of a campaign of misinformation and deliberate falsehoods about hound hunting on the part of the HSUS in the 1994 election. Their description of hound hunting practices is so inaccurate it would be laughable if the results weren't so tragic. There are bad apples in any human endeavor, but to paint all people in that endeavor with the same brush is dishonest. Typical hound hunters do not starve their dogs, nor abandon them in the woods at the end of the hunting season. They do not use locating collars to leisurely drive to the treed game once the hounds have done their work. They do not want their hounds in close contact, or fighting with the game that is pursued. They do not purposely wound animals so the dogs can fight them. All of these things were claimed to be standard practices in hound hunting by HSUS during the election. Indeed you can find those same lies promoted on their websites today.

    The big lie, told often enough and loudly enough, becomes widely accepted as the truth. The reality is that my dogs, and those of the people I know lead the life of pampered athletes. Instead of the 25 cents per pound grocery store food most dogs get, with 14% protein and 8% fat content, my dogs get a 68 cents per pound premium food with 34% protein and 24% fat content. They live in a heated, insulated kennel with electricity and running water. They are members of the family with human contact, exercise, and free roaming time every day. A dog in which I have invested countless hours of training, and thousands of dollars in purchase price and veterinary care is not about to be abandoned in the woods when hunting season is over, nor am I unnecessarily going to risk its safety by letting it fight a big game animal. My dogs are outfitted with locating collars when they are in the woods precisely because they are so valuable to me. A good hound can be heard baying for a couple of miles under good conditions, but when the dogs get out of earshot the only way to find them is with a tracking collar. I knew one friend who took a week off from work to find his lost hound. Hound hunting for lions is all about being there with the hounds as they work out a trail, and track down and tree a lion. If I am allowed to take one lion per season, why would I sit in a truck and wait for the dogs to tree and then leisurely walk in and shoot it? Where is there any enjoyment in that? In that example my whole hunting season is over in a few minutes. No, I follow the dogs. I catch up with them at the tree. I determine that this cat is not the one I want because it is a lactating female, a young tom, or because I just don't want to end my season yet. I put leashes on the dogs and leave after taking some spectacular pictures. I go find another lion track and do it all over again. The dogs are not abused. They are doing what they were designed to do, what they love to do, what they do according to instinct. The lion is not abused. It gains some healthy respect for human beings and dogs, and lives to run and climb another day. No hunter I know deliberately acts unethically, or intentionally breaks laws. If I knew of such people I would turn them in myself. No ethical hunter purposely wounds game, or wastes it. Every sport has rules that make it enjoyable and are essential to it. Hunting is no different.

    As for the lion situation in Oregon, in 1994 there were about 3000 lions in the state, hound hunting was legal, predation of livestock was tolerable, and there were plenty of deer and elk. Since the hound hunting ban the lion population has grown at a rate of 5% each year, doubling to approximately 6000 lions in 2006. Oregon's land area is 97,000 square miles. About 5% of Oregon's land is urbanized and unsuitable at all for habitat. That means that of the other 95% of the land, each of the 6000 lions in Oregon has about 15 square miles of territory. That includes the 1/3 of the state that comprises the dense western evergreen forests resembling California, and the 2/3 of the state that is the eastern high desert which greatly resembles western Texas. According to the Mountain Lion Foundation, "The American lion is very territorial and their home areas can range from 25 square miles in Idaho and California to 1000 square miles in western Texas." At a population of 6000 lions there is only about half the needed habitat to go around in Oregon, even if we assume that every non-urbanized acre is the best possible habitat. Since lions are so territorial, is it any wonder that the immature, young cats are being pushed onto the least suitable habitat; your back yard, with the least suitable food supply; your poodle or your sheep? Is it any wonder that the deer and elk herd recruitment is very low, and that these herds are dwindling measurably since 1994? According to a research paper by Bickner at UNC, the average number of deer kills per year per cougar in a healthy cougar population is about 33 to 35. This means that presently lions in Oregon are taking about 210,000 deer per year, about 105,000 more than in 1994. From the ODFW website: "In 1979, the Department estimated the statewide black-tailed deer population at 452,000. Population estimates during the next 10 years, based on computer modeling, varied between 400,000 and 500,000. In 2004 [10 years into the lion population increase due to banned hound hunting], the black-tailed deer population estimate for Oregon was 320,000." That is a 25% decline in 10 years. That extra 105,000 deer kills starts to look pretty significant.

    Given the pressure from deer and elk hunters to do something, ODFW opened up the season on lions to nearly year round and issued lion tags automatically with every hunting license. This was a dismal failure on two counts. Number one, the success rate for these opportunistic lion hunters is about 1%. Number two, these kills tend to be indiscriminate, with lactating females and yearling cubs being taken as often as any other lion. A deer hunter who happens upon a cougar does not have time to inspect it to see if it is a suitable specimen. Unable to deal with the problem by that means, ODFW then decided to contract with the federal government to hire bounty hunters to hunt and trap 3000 lions and return the population to historical levels. While somewhat successful, this strategy also has its flaws. Number one, the vast majority of these kills are with snares. Snares are indiscriminate. They catch and kill anything and everything that happens along, including female lions with nursing cubs, pregnant females, deer, raccoons, wolves, coyotes, dogs, etc. Number two, when dogs are used by federal agents, how is that different from sport hunters using dogs when it comes to being humane, etc? The only difference here is that it costs the state money to contract for an activity that sport hunters used to pay for the privilege of performing. Does the state government have money to throw away?

    I have been a hunter, a trapper, a professional fishing guide, and a farmer off and on for most of my 60+ years on the planet. I'm not a wildlife biologist, but I have decades of practical experience and first hand observation. I'm also a college graduate and my profession is data analysis. As you can see from the above, if you've waded in this far, this is a very complex and complicated issue. The truth lies somewhere in reams of research studies and lists of numbers. For HSUS to win the day with 30 second sound bites reinforcing the big lie, all it takes is money, and they get plenty of that from the folks who don't realize who HSUS really is. It's tempting to say, "Well, I don't like hound hunting anyway." But realize that once they've disposed of hound hunters nation-wide, their next target will be bird hunters and their dogs, then all hunting, then dogs in general, then livestock in general.

    "We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States ... We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state.Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of Humane Society of the US (HSUS), formerly of Friends of Animals and Fund for Animals, Full Cry Magazine, October 1, 1990.

    "We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding. . One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding." Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of Humane Society of the US, formerly of Friends of Animals and Fund for Animals, Animal People, May, 1993

    "My goal is the abolition of all animal agriculture." JP Goodwin, employed at the Humane Society of the US, formerly at Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade, as quoted on AR-Views, an animal rights Internet discussion group in 1996.

    Learn more: http://activistcash.com/organization...-united-states
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