California Senate Bill 1221, which would ban the use of hounds for hunting bear and bobcat, if passed would be bad for California and worse for El Dorado County. El Dorado County is one of the premier counties in the state for bear and bobcat hunting. Senate bill 1221 would effectively cut off the tens of thousands of dollars houndsmen spend annually at local merchants as well as putting a large dent in Fish and Game’s already strained budget. Southern California legislators with the full backing of the Humane Society of the United States and its considerable resources are ramrodding this bill through the Legislature heedless of the truth and more importantly the California Environmental Quality Act. There has been no environmental impact report or negative declaration. In their zeal these pro-animal rights legislators and their backers are ignoring state law. They do have a hired gun biologist who says that reducing the annual take of bears by half will have no impact on the environment.
Really? On the average half of California’s annual take of 1,700 bears is done with hounds. California’s already expanding and healthy black bear population will explode. Homeowners in the Tahoe Basin, already under siege, will be overrun. Counties with no history of bear incidents will find themselves with hordes of voracious bruins spreading mayhem and havoc. Inevitably it will lead to a fatal human/bear encounter and we are not talking about the bear being the fatality, at least initially. Just as Proposition 117 directly lead to the first fatal human/lion encounter, Senate Bill 1221 will do the same with bears.
The HSUS propaganda machine is in full swing spreading misleading statistics, half-truths, slanders and outright lies. Hunting with hounds is an American tradition that can be traced directly back to our founding fathers.
I am sure that while our founding fathers were fighting the American Revolution they took some time off to run their beloved packs of foxhounds. Hunting bear and bobcat with hounds is neither cruel or unsporting. It is not contrary to the rules of fair chase. If Senate Bill 1221 passes and is upheld in the inevitable lawsuit that will follow, it will play right into the HSUS’s goal of ending all hunting in America.
So when you never see a pickup truck with a dog box at a local gas station, supermarket, or sporting goods store again and more of California’s economy leaves the state, you can thank Senators Steinberg and Lieu, authors of this decidedly un-American legislation.