Last week, the Oregon legislature passed HB 3636 which is now awaiting the Governor's signature. At first glance the bill didn't look too onerous. It required that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife provide an option on all hunting related applications for voluntary contributions in support of county predatory animal control programs. It even allowed the Department to recover some of the costs attributed to enacting this change. However, this is as far in straightforwardness that HB 3636 goes.
First, HB 3636's authors used a savvy marketing technique and titled the new state fund used to collect and distribute these contributions the Wildlife Conservation Fund. Pretty name; it lulls the public into thinking the fund will be used to conserve wildlife. This couldn't be further from the truth.
According to HB 3636's language:
"Moneys in the fund are continuously appropriated to the State Department of Fish and Wildlife to be paid to counties as provided in section 1 of this 2011 act."
In other words, Oregon's new Wildlife Conservation Fund only funds wildlife eradication programs.
Second, and far worse, HB 3636 adds cougars, black bears, gray wolves, and that all encompassing category "fur-bearing mammals" to the official list of predatory animals; a category which previously only included small rodents and crop-damaging birds.
If signed into law, HB 3636 will, under existing section code 610.105, overturn many of Measure 18's wildlife protection provisions and allow anyone who thinks a cougar is on their property (even if the cougar hasn't caused any harm or threatened anyone) to poison, trap or kill said cougar.
In a last ditched effort to stop this miscarriage of justice, Oregon cougar advocates, including the Mountain Lion Foundation, are urging Oregon residents to contact Governor Kitzhaber and demand that he uphold Measure 18 and veto HB 3636.
Governor John Kitzhaber
To see the text of HB 3636, as well as a selection of relevant predatory animal control laws click on the following link.
http://mountainlion.org/States/HB 3636 - Oregon's New Predatory Animal Control Law.pdf