Hunting hounds tied to car bumber with text: Washington Senate Bill 6287. Say NO to mandated lion hunts with hounds!

Background Info

Washington sport hunters annually shoot around 100 to 150 lions, but the use of hounds was banned in 1996 by a citizen-sponsored initiative (Initiative-655). The public overwhelmingly supported the legislation which made it illegal for hunters to use bait to attract black bears, or to hunt a black bear, cougar, bobcat or lynx with the use of hounds. Exceptions were only granted for emergency cases when a specific threatening animal needed to be tracked and killed.

Unfortunately, legislation since that time has expanded the loophole and now allows for the use of hounds in special public safety hunts which are designed to indiscriminately kill cats to reduce the overall size of the population in the hopes this will reduce the odds of a conflict. From the year 2000 to 2011, more than 460 cougars were killed under these misguided safety hound hunts. WDFW found this program was not achieving the desired goal of increasing public safety — it was actually making things worse — and the Department stopped issuing the special hound permits in 2011.

Houndsmen refuse to give up their pastime and are now trying to force WDFW to allow hound hunts through Senate Bill 6287.

Washington Cougar Hound Hunting Legislation


Washington state Senators Brian Dansel and Don Benton authored a bill to force the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to allow trophy hunters to use hounds to kill cougars for fun. The bill died in the Senate on February 18th. Thank you for helping us stop this cruel and unnecessary legislation!


February 18, 2014: It's Over! We Killed the Bill!


Senate Bill 6287 failed to pass the Senate by today's deadline. The bill is now effectively dead and Washington's cougars and hounds can sleep a little safer. To everyone who shared this alert and contacted legislators: THANK YOU!


February 4, 2014: SB 6287 Passes Resources Committee


This afternoon the Senate Natural Resources & Parks Committee passed the bill onward, despite demonstrated opposition at last week's hearing. The bill is moving toward the Senate floor where it will be voted upon sometime in the next two weeks (February 18th is the last day).

We are extremely short on time! Please contact your Senator NOW and urge him or her to vote against this terrible bill! For tips on what to say, please scroll down below the video and see the bullet points.


January 20, 2014: Senate Bill 6287 Introduced


Washington state Senators Brian Dansel and Don Benton have coauthored a bill as part of the latest attempt to force the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to allow trophy hunters to use hounds to kill cougars for fun. The bill states special "dangerous wildlife task teams must be developed in each county [...] and a kill season with the aid of dogs must be established," ultimately claiming they will hunt lions to protect the public and increase research on the species. WDFW and the findings of numerous research projects have shown these hunting programs don't work, and they can actually increase cougar-human conflicts.

Photo of lion in tree with snow covered pines in background.

The program is merely a feel-good title for a group of hunters who will use a pack of hounds to track and chase a cougar until it climbs a tree out of exhaustion, and then shoot the cat at close range off a tree branch.

Moreover, WDFW already has the authority to initiate special public safety hunts with the use of hounds, if needed (WAC 232-12-243). But the agency has found instead, by utilizing the latest peer-reviewed science into management decisions, "Cougar conflicts have declined substantially in recent years as the Department continues to emphasize cougar awareness coupled with our agency kill authority of problem cougars at the time of an incident."

Teaching the public about coexistence and only killing the individual cats causing problems has proven to be a more successful policy.

Allowing groups of hound hunters to kill random cougars in rural areas has not yielded any positive results.

Washington sport hunters (without dogs) currently shoot more than 100 lions each year, and WDFW has found this mortality level may already be too high. The cougar population is declining and the excessive killing of adult lions has caused an age shift to younger cats which are more likely to come into conflict with people, pets, and livestock.

The agency has been using published research from Washington State University to revise and lower the state's annual sport hunting quotas so that the cougar population may grow and mature. The last thing we need is a new program to track and kill more cougars, especially cats that have never come into conflict with people.

Senate Bill 6287 is a redundant authorization of public safety hound hunts — WDFW already has this tool at its discretion anytime they determine it appropriate and necessary to use hounds to help kill cougars.

Senate Bill 6287 would also force WDFW to implement a wildlife killing program they know is unsuccessful and potentially dangerous. The legislation is not backed by the Department, scientific research, or the majority of citizens in Washington.

In short: this is a BAD BILL.



Watch the Senate Natural Resources & Parks Committee Discuss the Bill




You Can Help Protect Washington's Cougars!


If you live outside Washington, please forward this page to your Washington friends and consider sharing it on Facebook.




Write a Letter to Your Legislators

If you live in Washington state you can help by writing a short letter to your legislative representatives telling them why you oppose Senate Bill 6287. These letters will be used to demonstrate opposition to the bill and encourage the legislature to kill it.

A few minutes of your time could make a big difference and help Washington's cougars.

If you live in Washington, please contact your legislators and urge them to oppose SB 6287.

Click here to look up your legislators' contact information


Please also send MLF a copy of your letter and cc emails to info@mountainlion.org. Thank you!


In your letter or telephone call, please point out:

  • Senate Bill 6287 is a redundant authorization of public safety hound hunts — WDFW already has this tool at its discretion anytime they determine it appropriate and necessary to use hounds to help kill cougars.
  • Senate Bill 6287 would also force the Department of Fish and Wildlife to implement a wildlife killing program they know is unsuccessful and potentially dangerous. The legislation is not backed by the Department, scientific research, or the majority of citizens in Washington.
  • Washington residents have repeatedly shown we do not support the use of hounds to track, tree, and kill wildlife for fun. It's a cruel and outdated unsportsmanlike hobby that needs to remain illegal.
  • This bill would allow hound hunters to kill cougars that have posed no threat to people, which may actually increase the percentage of problem cougars in our state.
CThumbnail of Comment Form. Click here to open.

Personalized, hard-copy letters (snail mail) have a larger impact than emails or opinions submitted through online comment forms.

But every effort helps.

So if you only have a few minutes to help, please use this form to submit your thoughts on SB 6287:


Washington Legislature - SB 6287 Comment Form



Thank you so very much for taking the time to help protect Washington's cougars!





About the Mountain Lion Foundation

The Mountain Lion Foundation, founded in 1986, is a national nonprofit organization protecting mountain lions and their habitat. The mountain lion is also known as cougar, puma, panther, and catamount.

We believe that mountain lions are in peril. Our nation is on the verge of destroying this apex species upon which whole ecosystems depend. Hunting mountain lions is morally unjustified, and killing lions to prevent conflicts is ineffective and dangerous. There is a critical need to know more about the biology, behavior, and ecology of mountain lions, and governments should base decisions upon truthful science, valid data, and the highest common good. Conserving critical lion habitat is essential.

Together, we can save America's lion.



Send Us Your Comments, and let us know what action you've taken. Thank you!


*Name:  
*Email:  
*Street Address:  
*City:  
*State:  
*Zip Code:  
Phone:
Enter your message:
 

* Required

Please sign
up for our MLF Updates!

  Just check this box and we'll send you regular email updates and breaking news about Saving America's Lion.
  Contact me about volunteer opportunities. Your talents are valued as we work toward Saving America's Lion.
 
Click this box if you would like us to mail you a printed copy of our 11 by 17 poster WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? a graphic depiction of America's mountain lion history (mailing address required).
   

Join us today!

No minimum gift is required to become a member of the Mountain Lion Foundation. Just make the donation you can afford using any of the following methods. Click HERE to make a gift through PayPal, or mail your contribution to Mountain Lion Foundation, P.O. Box 1896, Sacramento, California 95812.




All personal information remains private and will not be shared with any third parties. Required information is collected to allow MLF to best respond to your questions or comments. Click HERE to see our privacy policy.





Donating online is safe and easy!

You can make a tax-deductible donation with your credit card using Paypal's secure server by clicking on one of the links below.



You may also mail your contribution to Mountain Lion Foundation, P.O. Box 1896, Sacramento, California 95812 or call us at 916-442-2666.

Additional options for making a gift are available by clicking HERE.




However you choose to contribute, you help to give mountain lions a voice. Thank you!