Oregon Hunter License and Tag fees will be used to pay agents of the Federal government to kill mountain lions if the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission approves the draft "Cougar Management Plan" on February 9, at the Commission meeting in Salem. Commissioners heard the draft plan on January 5. The draft recognizes the dramatic adverse impact that increasing cougar populations are having on Oregon big game herds and proposes a proactive approach to reducing cougar populations using agents of the USDA APHIS Wildlife Services Division.
This action is being proposed due to the inability of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to control cougar populations as a result of the passage of Measure 18 in 1994. Measure 18 prohibited the use of dogs by sport hunters to hunt cougar and bear. Without this proven management tool, cougar numbers have exploded, resulting in increased attacks on livestock and domestic pets and depleting big game numbers. Cougar populations need to be reduced.
The conflict arises in using license and tag fees to hire federal agents using dogs to kill Oregon’s big game. The "public" has voted to prohibit the use of dogs by hunters. The "public" defeated a ballot measure to overturn Measure 18. The "public" should pay to correct what they have voted to do.
We urge you to contact the Fish and Wildlife Commissioners at (503) 947-6000, and tell them that any increase in the use of hunter dollars to fund the cougar plan is unacceptable and that funding should be obtained from the state’s General Fund. You can view the Plan at www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/cougar/. Comments on the plan may be sent to [email protected]. Deadline for comments is February 8, 2006.