Bill seeks to restore hound hunting

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

A bill in the California Legislature could make hunting bears and bobcats with dogs legal again.

Assembly Bill 2205 proposes putting the decision to allow the hunting tactic in the hands of local jurisdictions, like counties. The practice, called "hound hunting," has been illegal in California since 2012, when the Legislature passed a bill to ban it.

The decision was controversial in Tuolumne County at the time, as bear hunting is a popular activity in the Central Sierra Nevada region.

The proposal currently in the Assembly's Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee would prohibit the use of hounds to hunt bears unless a board of supervisors of a county recommends the practice in a particular county. According to language in the bill, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife would submit a report every three years to the state's Fish and Game Commission on the state's bear population.

According to the office of Assemblyman Frank Bigelow, R-O'neals, the bill is scheduled to come before the parks committee on April 29. Bigelow's chief of staff, Kirk Kimmelshue, said Bigelow and his office would not comment on the bill Monday. Bigelow sits on the Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee.

For the complete story, see the April 22, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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