CA Senate Bill 1221 Passes First Vote

California DFG, Bear Hunting Magazine

The hearing held yesterday to discuss the California Senate Bill that would ban the use of hounds to hunt bears and bobcats in the state was attended by hundreds on both sides of the debate. SB1221, proposed by California Senator Ted Lieu(D), passed the first committee vote by 5-3 to outlaw the use of hounds. The bill will now go to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

SB1221 gives employees of the California DFG authorization to capture or dispatch a dog "inflicting or immediately threatening to inflict injury" on any bear and also makes it illegal to hound hunt bobcats.

California is one of many states that permits the use of hounds while hunting bear. According to state wildlife officials, California has an estimated black bear population of about 30,000, which has grown from around 10,000 in the 1980s.

The California Fish and Game Commission will vote in May on whether to increase the statewide annual bear hunting quota from 1,700 bears to 2,000 bears. Around 45% of bears were harvested with the use of hounds last year.

Even though SB 1221 cleared the first legislative hurdle, the bill has a long way to go before it becomes law. The next hearing -and opportunity for hunters to voice their opinion - will take place in the next two weeks in the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

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