sleeping bear

Victory! Bill To Ban Hunting With Hounds Passes Committee!

April 25th, 2012 by Webmaster


In California, hounds are used for hunting black bears and bobcats. This inhumane practice is called “hounding” and uses packs of radio-collared dogs to chase down frightened bears and bobcats, sometimes for many miles, until the animal nears exhaustion and is forced up a tree. When the dogs stop running, the trophy hunter knows that they have an animal cornered. A tracking device then locates the hounds and the hunter will shoot the bear or bobcat out of the tree. 

SB 1221, a bill that would ban hound hunting in California, passed the Senate Natural Resources Committee on April 24. The vote was split right down the political divide with five democrats voting “aye” and three republicans voting “no”. The California state capitol was overrun with cammo and cowboy hats on one side, animal advocates on the other. Each side was able to make statements, and at the end of the hearing, the score was bears and bobcats 1, hunters 0.

Thanks to the hundreds of IDA members in California who contacted the Natural Resources Committee about this bill, and those who showed up at the hearing in Sacramento! It worked! Please respond just as strongly when we contact you again about this bill soon. The bill now heads to the Appropriations Committee. There are a few more steps – this battle isn’t quite won yet.

IDA’s Hope Bohanec spoke at the hearing on behalf of IDA’s California members, encouraging the committee to ban the cruel practice of hunting with hounds. Many people find hounding inhumane and even some hunters consider it unsportsmanlike. A 2011 survey by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, Inc. revealed that 83 percent of California voters oppose the practice of bear hounding.

Fourteen states do not allow hunting bears with hounds including Montana, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Oregon and Washington. Hounds are vulnerable to injury and death in hunting accidents from guns, vehicles and the prey they are pursuing. Some of the hounds are treated inhumanely, including being abandoned in the field, and others suffer abuse from neglect and lack of veterinary care. Many of the dogs are abandoned at animal shelters, exacerbating the drain on shelter resources.

IDA would like to thank State Senator Ted Lieu for introducing this bill that would ban hound hunting of bears and bobcats in the state of California. We also thank the five yes votes — Senators Fran Pavley, Christine Kehoe, Alex Padilla, Noreen Evans and Lois Wolk. Please click here to find their contact information and thank them for their support of SB 1221. IDA will keep you updated on this important legislation as it moves through the legislature.

To support our work please click here.