The Sierra Club has filed a letter opposing a California Department of Fish and Game proposal to expand the use of dogs by bear hunters. If approved, the DFG proposal will increase the hounding of bears by dog packs, as well as expand black bear hunting into San Luis Obispo County and other areas of the state.
More specifically, it will remove the current 1,700 season limit of bears harvested and allow an unlimited number of bears to be killed by California hunters during bear season, which usually runs concurrently with deer hunting season.
The Sierra Club has called upon the commission to adopt regulations that require dogs be in the physical control of hunters at all times, as required by the Fish and Game Code.
“We strongly oppose uncontrolled hounding of bears, a practice which results in gruesome injuries to bears and dogs,” states a press release from the Sierra Club.
DFG regulations make it a crime to hunt cubs and mother bears. However, according to the Sierra Club,  the packs of hounds do not always read or follow those rules.
According to the press release, the DFG proposal will allow the use of GPS devices and tip-switches. The tip switches signal the hunters that a bear has been treed. The hunters then follow the GPS signals to the dogs and shoot the bear out of the tree.
The release also states that hounding places dogs, bears, and other forest animals, such as endangered species like the Pacific Fisher, at risk.
The Sierra Club also said that, in their opinion, legitimizing hounding will lead to more poaching.
“The use of dogs to hunt bears is the favored method of bear poachers,” states the press release.