MEDFORD, Ore. – A bill that would allow hunters to use dogs to hunt cougars has made its way through the Oregon House.
The bill passed this week and is now moving to the Senate. If approved, it would allow individual counties to opt out of the statewide ban on using dogs to hunt cougars, which first went into effect in 1994.
The president of the Rogue Valley Chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association said he supports the bill, because it would allow hunters to reduce the number of cougar, and bring up the number of deer and elk.
“It allows the counties to have problems to do something about it,” said Ron Sherva. “And the other areas that don’t have a problem, I guess they don’t have to concern themselves.”
But some wildlife groups said the bill promotes inhumane hunting of the predators. The group “Predator Defense,” which works to protect animals like cougars, said the state has repeatedly rejected that type of hunting.
“Siccing packs of dogs on them, running them up trees so that they’re easy targets for hunters,” said Sally Mackler. “(It’s an) unattractive and unethical form of hunting which the majority of Oregonians disapprove of. It’s a simple as that.”
Three previous versions of the bill have been rejected by the Oregon Senate in recent sessions.