New California Law Bans Hunting with Dogs

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Beginning Jan. 1 it became illegal to use packs of dogs to chase, corner, and ultimately shoot down bears and bobcats in California. Backers of the law say it's not only unfair to the hunted animals but also potentially dangerous and borderline abusive to the dogs.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 1221 into law in September, banning the use of hounds to hunt bears and bobcats, the Huffington Post reported. The practice involves unleashing packs of trained dogs to track down, chase, and tree bears. Once cornered, hunters can then shoot the animals.

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Seventeen states still permit the use of dogs to hunt bears, while 15 ban hunting hounds. In the remaining 18 states, it is illegal to hunt bears at all. In California, bear hunting season was closed early when the allotted number of licensed kills - 1,700 - was reached. Preliminary data puts the number of those kills tracked by dogs at less than half.

It is a sport with a long, robust history, and hunting enthusiasts argue that the new ban impedes on a legacy of tradition. They claim they much prefer the chase aspect of the hunt, and that bears and bobcats are often released.

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The Humane Society of the United States believes otherwise, and supporters of the bill maintain that it is intended to protect not only California's bear and bobcat populations, but the hunting dogs as well. Using a pack of dogs to run down another animal can be seen as unfair, and once a bear or bobcat is in a tree, it's not a shot a hunter is likely to miss. What's more, in confrontations between dogs and game, dogs are often mauled or thoroughly exhausted by the hunt. When it comes to hound hunting, it seems that all animals involved face unnecessary risk and abuse.

The sport is similar to English fox hunting, which was banned in different parts of the United Kingdom starting in 2002.

Do you agree with the ban? Tell us why or why not in the comments below.

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Ryan Smith

hey author, stop giving us your personal opinion:
"bear hunting season was closed early when the allotted number of licensed kills - 1,700 - was reached"
Blatant lie. 5,000 bears are to be taken everywhere to keep a healthy population. Only 1,700 were taken. Enjoy!

February 04 2014 at 8:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan Smith

You guys need to get a life. You interfere with hunting traditions simply because you do not like what we do. We don't tell you how to conduct your lives why should you ours? Jerry Brown's feeble reign will fall soon and all of his foolish political rubbish. Bear populations are pushing passed the carrying capacity, and I for one cannot wait till these anti's get attacked, mauled and left bleeding in the woods when the populations boom. You guys have no sense of sustainability. I'm going to shoot extra animals this year inspite of you all. You disgust me you cowards. Taking away from our heritage. Yours too. Your ancestors lived off the land and so do I. I choose to hunt, you choose McDonalds. Your path only makes you a fat, useless, corporation bunny

February 04 2014 at 8:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ryan Smith

Jerry Brown will get his soon enough. Stop intervening with other lifestyles just because you don't participate in them. I'm killing more animals this year, all in your anti's honor.

February 04 2014 at 8:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
etinamax

Stop the use of dogs to hunt innocent animals, it is inhumane. I agree with the ban.

January 09 2013 at 8:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Donald

The humans and the animals can get just as much pleasure just hiking in the wilds. Take a camera, harder to get a good picture than a dead animal with a gun.

January 08 2013 at 11:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eric

I do not feel one way or the other about it. I will say the pics you have on the article are all of bird hunting dogs except one bloodhound that would not be used for this kind of hunting. People often forget that most dog breeds were once specifically bred for hunting.

January 08 2013 at 6:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
terrie

I dont think it is hunting when they person just stands there and let the dog do the work. If they want to hunt then let them get out there the old fashion way. Hunting with dogs is not a sport. Alot of dogs are left out there to starve if they dont find there way home.I know I seen it with my own eyes.

January 08 2013 at 4:07 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
atsistsi1

I feel sorry for the Bears my Dad stop hunting them he said when you shoot a bear they cry like a human. He said it made him sick .I don't think you should kill anything unless you are in need of food. People should not kill anything unless you are going to eat it. My sister son killed a bird with a bebe gun. She made him pluck it an gut it an cook it an eat it. It was a lesson to him you only kill what you eat. Some people hunt with pit bulls. You would not believe what they do to the animal it is just sad.

January 08 2013 at 2:20 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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