2011 VT LEG 260678.1A

1 H.89


3 Introduced by Representatives Donahue of Northfield (By Request) and Grad

4 of Moretown (By Request)

5 Referred to Committee on

6 Date:

7 Subject: Fish and wildlife; hunting black bear with dogs

8 Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to prohibit the hunting of black bear

9 with dogs. The bill would repeal existing statutory authority to hunt black bear

10 with dogs. The bill would also repeal the authority of the commissioner of fish

11 and wildlife to issue permits and collect permit fees for hunting black bear with

12 dogs. In addition, the bill would repeal the authority of a person to train dogs

13 to hunt black bear. The bill would take effect in July of 2011.

14 An act relating to banning the hunting of black bear with dogs

15 It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:


January 2011 
The Vermont Bearhound Association and Vermont State Rifle and Pistol Association would like to alert you that there are 3 bills before the Vermont House that are of interest to Vermont Sportsmen and Sportswomen. These bills are:H.89; H.10; H.83
Vermont Bearhound Association Position on H.89 of the 2011-2012 Legislative Session

The recent return of the Vermont Legislature has resulted in the re-introduction of H.89, a bill that requires serious opposition by the Vermont shooting and hunting community.
H.89, named as "An Act Relating to Banning the Hunting of Black Bear with Dogs" singles out one long-established hunting tradition as being evil.
The bill has the following problems:

Every person who uses a dog to hunt should be able to anticipate what the next logical step to H.89 would be if this seriously flawed legislation is enacted into law. It is clearly foreseeable that the same line of reasoning that suggests that Hunting Bear with Dogs is evil will have no difficulty in leaping to the conclusion that hunting any other game species with dogs is also evil, including such things as rabbit hunting and bird hunting.
Any individual who is active with the training of dogs to hunt bear could no longer pursue this aspect of their livelihood, not even to train dogs for use in bear hunting in other states or other countries.
As many farmers in this state will tell you, Black Bears produce a large amount of damage to crops such as corn. A single black bear can devastate large swaths of corn in a single evening, causing a direct loss of income to a profession already severely challenged to be profitable. When a Black Bear is hunted with dogs, the dogs do not kill the bear, they pursue the bear until the bear is "treed". Even when treed, the bear is not always killed or even harmed. A hunter can only take one bear a season, and if the treed bear is a cub or a female, the hunter may simply take his dogs and leave the bear alone.  A TRUE ACT OF CATCH AND RELEASE!  In numerous cases where a bear is not shot as a result of being treed by Bear Hounds - it has been seen that these bears have a noted reluctance to return to the area where they were chased from - leaving the crops alone.
Bears are usually a deep woods animal, and in the past years the bear population in Vermont is rising slightly. Beyond this, and because this deep woods habitat is forever being encroached upon by humans who seek quiet country living, bear interactions with humans are also increasing. When the bear population in a certain area needs to be thinned, the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife will often turn to a bear hunter to resolve the problem, and the best way to hunt bear is with dogs.  Vt. Fish & Wildlife uses hunters with dogs to curb bear nuisance complaints by running off the bear and keeping the bear wild.
This Bill was brought forward by Donahue (R - Northfield) and Grad (D - Moretown). Both have indicated that they do not support this bill, and both indicate that they moved this bill forward because they were requested to: By Only One Constituent. While the concept of submitting bills "By Request" allows a single person a voice in the legislature, it is at best, irresponsible for a Representative to submit a bill that they themselves do not support, and doing so does not absolve them from accountability.

In summary, this legislation appears to have no other purpose than to remove a long-standing tradition, for no other reason than it has no appeal to one individual. This type of thought process can just as easily be used with the hunting of other game species with dogs, as it can be used against hunting or fishing, and this bill must be opposed.

Note: Representative Donahue (R - Northfield), one of the co-sponsors of this bill, has stated that she does not support this bill, and that she and Grad (D - Moretown) offered this bill at the request of a SINGLE constituent. It was admitted that no "research" was done prior to submitting this other than a brief conversation with F&W officials to let them know it was coming. While Vermonters may be comforted that a single individual can offer a suggestion for a bill such that this suggestion turns into reality, the fact that no research was done prior to submittal is absolutely absurd, and has resulted in needlessly raising the anger and angst of thousands upon thousands of Vermont Sportsmen and Sportswomen.

To Voice your opposition to this bill, call the Sergeant of Arms at:

800 322-5616 (in state);

802-828-2228 (out of state) 

Ask to leave a message for Chair Deen and Speaker Smith and also Rep. Donahue and Rep. Grad:    

SAY    "NO to H.89".


Rep Donahue:  adonahue@leg.state.vt.us


Rep Grad:  mgrad@leg.state.vt.us



Fish & Wildlife Committee, Chair Deen:  ddeen@leg.state.vt.us 



Speaker Chap Smith:  speaker@leg.state.vt.us  



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