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
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
P0 Box 40002, Olympia, WA 98504-0002
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 &
600 Capitol Way N, Olympia, WA 98501 by Sept 8.
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