BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

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          SB 1221 (Lieu)
          As Amended  August 20, 2012
          Majority vote 

           SENATE VOTE  :22 - 15  
           WATER, PARKS, & WILDLIFE  8 - 4 APPROPRIATIONS      12-5        
          |Ayes:|Huffman, Blumenfield,     |Ayes:|Gatto, Blumenfield,       |
          |     |Campos, Fong, Gatto,      |     |Bradford,                 |
          |     |Hueso, Lara, Yamada       |     |Charles Calderon, Campos, |
          |     |                          |     |Davis, Fuentes, Hall,     |
          |     |                          |     |Hill, Cedillo, Mitchell,  |
          |     |                          |     |Solorio                   |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
          |Nays:|Halderman, Bill           |Nays:|Harkey, Donnelly,         |
          |     |Berryhill,                |     |Nielsen, Norby, Wagner    |
          |     |Beth Gaines, Jones        |     |                          |
          |     |                          |     |                          |
           SUMMARY :  This bill prohibits the use of dogs to pursue bears 
          and bobcats except as permitted by a depredation permit or 
          scientific research permit issued by the Department of Fish and 
          Game (DFG) or where the pursuit occurs by a dog that is guarding 
          crops or livestock.  For remaining hounding activities, the bill 
          would allow, but not require, the California Fish and Game 
          Commission (FGC) to establish a hound tag program.

           EXISTING LAW:

           1)Allows a hunter with a bear tag to use an unlimited number of 
            dogs to pursue a bear during open bear season, once deer 
            season closes.  During deer season dogs are limited to 1 per 

          2)Allows a hunter with a bobcat tag to use dogs to pursue 
            bobcat, which is considered a nongame species.
          3)Prohibits a person from allowing any dog to pursue any big 
            game mammal during closed season on that mammal, any fully 
            protected, rare or endangered mammal at any time, any mammal 


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            in a game refuge or ecological reserve if hunting within that 
            reserve is unlawful and authorizes employees of DFG to capture 
            or dispatch (meaning kill) any uncontrolled dog that is 
            inflicting injury or immediately threatening to inflict injury 
            in violation of these prohibitions.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  According to Assembly Appropriations Committee, 
          this bill could result in potential lost revenues of an unknown 
          amount, likely in the range of $150,000 annually from decreased 
          bear tag sales (special fund) and one-time costs of 
          approximately $25,000 to DFG and the FGC to revise hunting 
          regulations in keeping with this bill (special fund).

          The staff analysis also advises there could be potential costs 
          of an unknown amount, likely in the tens of thousands of 
          dollars, to FGC to develop and implement a hound tag program 
          (special funds) and potential costs of an unknown amount, likely 
          in the tens of thousands of dollars, to DFG issue depredation or 
          research permits that allow the use of dogs to pursue bears or 
          bobcats (special funds).  However, both of these costs should be 
          fully covered by revenues.

           COMMENTS  :  The current practice of using dogs to hunt bear and 
          bobcat consists of setting packs of hounds loose that are 
          specially bred and trained to chase after a fleeing animal while 
          baying and barking to provide its location.  Typically, the dogs 
          are fitted with radio collars so that when they are no longer 
          within the field of vision or hearing of the hunters they can be 
          located remotely.  An animal that is being chased may run for a 
          short distance or cover many miles as it attempts to escape.  In 
          2 separate studies, scientists noted an average chase length of 
          3.2 hours with some chases lasting as long as 12 hours and 
          covering 18 miles.  If the dogs tree the animal during the 
          chase, the hunter or hunters are then able to catch up and shoot 
          it out of the tree or they can abandon it.  
           The use of dogs to hunt bear and bobcat is a recreational 
          pursuit and not a DFG population management tool for either 
          bears or bobcats.  Of the 32 states that allow bear hunting, 18 
          permit the use of dogs and 14 (including Colorado, Oregon, 
          Montana, Washington, and Wyoming) expressly prohibit it.  

           Supporters argue that the use of hounds during the hunting of 
          bears and bobcats is unnecessary and cruel because the hounds 
          can attack the bear or bobcat or it may turn upon the hounds, 


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          resulting in potential injury to both.  Supporters also state 
          that the failure of hound hunters to have physical control over 
          their dogs, which are sometimes many miles away, puts nontarget 
          species, including threatened and endangered species, at 
          collateral risk for injury and disease from exposure to dogs, 
          their urine and feces.  Supporters state that the practice of 
          hunting bears and bobcats with hounds is unsporting, inhumane, 
          and inconsistent with protecting animal welfare, wildlife and 
          natural resources. 

          Opponents of this bill argue that using their dogs to pursue 
          bears and bobcats is a valued tradition and a way of life for 
          them and that their dogs are prized athletes that are well 
          trained and treated.  They also assert that hounding helps with 
          bear and bobcat population management, public safety, and 
          protection of property, livestock, and apiaries.  Opponents 
          argue that the use of dogs is more humane that other types of 
          hunting as it allows for catch and release of animals.  
          Opponents add that the hounding restrictions in this bill will 
          result in lost revenues to DFG and local economies. 

          This legislation does not ban bear or bobcat hunting, only the 
          use of dogs when hunting bear and bobcat.  In addition, the use 
          of dogs to hunt other fur-bearing mammals including raccoons, 
          possum, boars and squirrels would remain unaffected as would the 
          use of dogs for bird hunting.  Consistent with four of the five 
          amendments that were discussed and approved in the Assembly 
          Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee (AWPWC), this bill was 
          amended in the Assembly Appropriations Committee (AAC) to allow 
          the use of hounds to carry out specified depredation permits for 
          bear or bobcat; to allow the use of hounds in support of 
          scientific research on the sustainability and survival of bear 
          or bobcat populations and healthy ecosystems; to exempt dogs 
          that are guarding or protecting their owner's livestock or 
          crops; and to allow, but not require, the FGC to establish a 
          hound tag program.  Notably, the AAC excluded the fifth 
          AWPWC-approved provision that would allow the FGC, on a 4/5 
          vote, and subject to specific requirements, to revisit the ban.  
          See the AWPWC analysis for more detailed information.  


          Analysis Prepared by  :    Tina Cannon Leahy / W., P. & W. / (916) 


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