Newsletter - Animal Writes sm
10 September 2000 Issue

From [email protected]

In 1996, Washington State citizens passed Initiative 655 by a landslide 63% vote. 1-655 banned the unfair practices of bear baiting and hound hunting of bears, cougars and bobcats. Just two years later, Washington State legislators began a concerted effort to weaken or overturn 1-655 and during the 2000 legislative session they passed SSB 5001 - a bill that severely undermines I-655. SSB 5001 essentially reinstates hound hunting of cougars for sport. It allows the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to issue permits for hound hunters to randomly hunt cougar populations in areas where there are perceived problems.

The proposed rules for implementation of SSB 5001 include: hunt areas and kill quotas will be decided one year in advance; hunters can keep the hide of any cougar killed; professional guide services and an unlimited number of "observers" can participate in each hunt; hunt boundaries can extend up to 22 miles beyond any "problem" area; and 68 cougars will be killed the first year

The WDFW is calling these hunts "public safety cougar removals" but in fact, this plan has all the elements of a trophy hunt. This ill-conceived scheme will do nothing to alleviate the WDFW's perceived "cougar problems". Prominent cougar biologists unequivocally state that cougar hunting, with or without hounds, does not decrease the chances of human-cougar encounters.

WHAT YOU CAN DO (If you live in Washington State)
1. Attend the Fish and Wildlife Commission Hearing. The Commission will take public comments on the WDFW's proposal. An overwhelming number of 1-655 supporters from across the state MUST attend the meeting. Car pools will be arranged. Saturday, September 16, Red Lion Hotel, 1225 N. Wenatchee Avenue, Wenatchee, Washington

2. Contact Governor Gary Locke immediately at:
The Honorable Gary Locke
Office of the Governor
Legislative Building
P0 Box 40002, Olympia, WA 98504-0002
email: [email protected]
phone: 360-753-6780 or fax: 360-753-4110
Let him know that the WDFW's proposed implementation of SSB 5001
blatantly violates the intent of the bill as well as citizens' 1-655.

Important: Send a copy of your letter to the Fish & Wildlife Commission,
600 Capitol Way N, Olympia, WA 98501 by Sept 8.

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