Letter to the editor: There’s more to the story about hounding being outlawed
October 2, 2012
The Tribune’s report regarding Governor Brown signing Senate bill 1221 banning the use of dogs in hunting of bears and bobcats fell short in two critical areas.
The report quoted both a hunter and California Department of Fish and Game biologist Marc Kenyon claiming that hunting was a viable management tool both for controlling wildlife populations and human/bear interface problems. Scientific research shows the opposite, as was noted by Dr. Rick Hopkins in a letter to bill sponsor Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance. Hopkins stated “To argue that hunting is needed for population management is an overly simplistic argument about natural systems – one that is in conflict with both predation theory and evidence.” Numerous studies in the United States have demonstrated a linear correlation between the amount a predator is hunted and the incidents of human/predator conflict.
Additionally the reporter’s focus on the minimal economic loss to DFG misses the larger point. The institution of wildlife management in the United States is based on the Public Trust Doctrine, the principle that wildlife resources on public lands are entrusted to the government to be maintained and managed for the benefit of the public. To maintain legitimacy, the decision-making system of a democratic institution must take into account the concerns and interests of all citizens. Scientific polls conducted by the Humane Society of the United States showed that 83 percent of California residents opposed hound hunting of bears and bobcats. Therefore, in order to maintain legitimacy and relevance in modern society, the state legislature and other governmental institutions must consider and incorporate the values of all public stakeholders in its decision-making processes.
For the Tribune’s Nevada readership, this new regulation in California starkly contrasts the actions of the Nevada Wildlife Commission, which in 2011 approved an inaugural bear hunt opposed by 85 percent of Nevadans.
Zephyr Cove, Nev.