Jan 28 2016
California currently prohibits the use of GPS collars and “tree switches” when hound hunting. The February 11, 2016, CA Fish and Game Commission agenda, item 38, will be a discussion of a proposed change to lift the prohibition, supposedly for deer- and pig-hound hunting, and thus allow the use of GPS collars (as opposed to radio telemetry collars now allowed) and tree switches (which can indicate when dogs may have treed a mammal). The claim is that by removing the current ban on GPS collars and tree switches, hounds will be less likely to be lost and intervention will be sooner when warranted.
However, the FGC and CDFW’s primary focus should be on wildlife conservation. A secondary focus on the welfare of hounds is justifiable, but not at the expense of wildlife. (As president of the board of the Humane Society of the Sierra Foothills–a dog rescuer/fosterer/adopter–all dogs and their welfare are dear to my heart.) To be clear, this proposed amendment is only about the collars and not about either the treatment of hounds or the legitimacy of hunting deer with hounds.
Some concerns with this amendment include: “Training” hounds in wildlife habitat creates stressful impacts to numerous species; many dogs, especially in “training,” will cross scent and maul, severely injure or kill non-targeted vulnerable mammals; etc. Hounds will still range miles from the owner or handler, often in rugged topography. Thus, when critical intervention is warranted, it will hardly be immediate or timely. If approved, the amendment may create an unacceptable loophole or “work around” of the law (SB 1221 from 2012) and create situations where treed bears or bobcats may be killed by others who are not actually using hounds to hunt bears or bobcats.
This amendment proposal is titled, “Amend Section 265, Title 14, California Code of Regulations (CCR), Re: Use of Dogs for Pursuit/Take of Mammals or for Dog Training.”
The Initial Study can be found on the CA Fish and Game Commission’s website: http://www.fgc.ca.gov/regulations/2016/
Click on “Mammal 2016-2017” which will take you to: Mammal Hunting
Notice of Proposed Changes in Regulations (PDF) – December 15, 2015
Amend Section 265, Use of Dogs for the Pursuit/Take of Mammals or for Dog Training
Initial Statement of Reasons (PDF) – November 2, 2015
Proposed Regulatory Language (PDF)
To hear the discussion in the September 9, 2015 Wildlife Resource Committee, where this change was presented, go to the mp3 recording of that meeting at, http://www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2015/Sep/WRC_Mtg_2015_0908_Audio_WebFile.mp3 and move the timer scale to approximately 58:33.
To watch the presentation and public comment at the presentation at the FGC meeting on December 10, 2015, go to http://www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2015/ scroll down to December 10, click on, “Video”, then “Linked Agenda,” and go to item 36 to click on the “reel” that should allow watching/listening to the item which is only briefly covered near the end in public comments.
We are opposing the amendment due to its potential negative impacts on all wildlife and especially deer. As currently proposed it has not been thoroughly studied, vetted, nor reviewed. Please share this email as appropriate and thanks for any support you can provide to stop this amendment from proceeding as proposed at the upcoming FGC meeting.