On August 27th, the California Senate voted to pass SB 1221, legislation that would make it illegal to hunt bears and bobcats with the aid of dogs in the state. California Governor Jerry Brown now has until the end of September to either sign of veto the measure.
Throughout the legislative process, sportsmen from all walks of life came to Sacramento to express their concerns with this legislation that supersedes the authority of the California Fish and Game Commission to regulate hound hunting based on scientific evidence provided by professional wildlife managers. Despite these efforts by California sportsmen and women, the bill continued to make its way through the legislature thanks to the efforts of a handful of legislators who went out of their way to keep SB 1221 alive by using a series of procedural maneuvers including holding a special hearing to vote the bill out of committee without allowing for testimony from those who opposed it.
Initially, the California Department of Finance placed a $400,000 annual price tag associated with anticipated lost revenue to the Department of Fish and Game on the bill. To offset these costs, the bill sponsor agreed to amendments which require any hunter pursuing mammals, not just bobcats or bears, to participate in a newly created Hound Tag Program administered by California Fish and Game. If the bill is signed into law, sportsmen who choose to pursue any mammal will likely be required to pay a new fee to cover the costs of the program, obtain a coded license tag for their dog and be responsible for placing a microchip identifier under their dog’s skin.
If you are interested in protecting the rights of California sportsmen and women who pursue game with the aid of hunting dogs, please contact CSF Western States Manager Andy Treharne via email. If you would like to contact California Governor Jerry Brown directly, please use the contact information below to encourage him to veto SB 1221.
Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?