Stop GPS Hound Hunting of Deer in California
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Hound hunting of deer is what hunters may label it, but having a pack of hounds run a deer to the ground can hardly be called ethical hunting. The lives of targeted and non-targeted wildlife are disrupted and uprooted when a pack of hounds comes crashing though the brush near their secluded resting places. They flee in fear, become exposed, and are chased—often only to be mauled or killed by the hounds.
Currently, houndsmen may use radio telemetry collars to track the whereabouts of their hounds after they release them in the wild. However, the California Fish and Game Commission is considering an amendment to Mammal Hunting Code of Regulation 265 to allow GPS collars on hounds while hunting deer, pigs and for training. Houndsmen claim GPS collars will allow faster "finding" of lost dogs and allow faster intervention (when hounds maul/kill other animals or are attacked themselves or are trespassing on property where they are not welcome) than the radio collars. GPS collars may help retrieve lost hounds, but if houndsmen have so little control over roaming hounds with radio telemetry, why should they be allowed to release even more hounds to disrupt wildlife species and cause havoc in wildlife habitat? Either they have control of their dogs or they don't. If they cannot control them, then letting more loose in the wild is only going to make existing unacceptable, negative hound impacts even worse. A GPS collar on a hound in dense forested lands, miles from the houndsmen owner or handler, is not going to help wildlife, which should be the commission’s primary mission.
Also, for the unscrupulous houndsmen (there are hours of sickening video online that show the seamy side of this often dog-abusive activity), a GPS collar will tell where bears, bobcats, mountain lions, and other wildlife may be trapped in trees. Why give potential poachers an advantage?
Please politely ask the California Fish and Game Commission to (1) deny any changes to Mammal Hunting regulation 265 that currently prohibits the use of GPS collars on hounds for training, deer and/or pig hunting. And (2) ask them to join the 39 other enlightened states in the U.S. that completely ban deer hunting with hounds. Deer can run fast but only for relatively short distances. A pack of hounds can easily overtake them and the results are never pretty. Instead of encouraging this madness, it's time to put a halt to it.
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