Tuesday, February 28, 2017

CA, Stick to the plan and BAN GPS collars on hounds for mammal hunting!

To:   fgc@fgc.ca.gov,

Subject: Stick to the plan and BAN GPS collars on hounds for mammal hunting!


I ask the commission to abide by its unanimous December 2016 vote to approve the current regulation proposal to once again BAN the use of GPS collars on hounds to hunt mammals.
Houndsmen and women can still use radio telemetry to track their hounds.

With all the electronic advances, including radio telemetry, hunting mammals with hounds does not come close to what “historical” hound hunting was.
Allowing GPS collars will mean more dogs will be released, trained and untrained, and may range many more miles from their handlers.

This will negatively impact both targeted and non-targeted wildlife and/or domestic animals.
(See Public Interest Coalition’s Attachment A, page 6, for many such wildlife impacts, online at
http://www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2017/Feb/02080917docs.aspx ).

Currently, many houndsmen (hounders) simply release dogs into wildlife habitat, ride around in pickups or ATV’s and watch a digital screen as to where the dogs are or whether they’ve caught, cornered, or possibly treed an animal.

This is not “human hunting”—it is cruel unethical “dog hunting” and will be increased with the allowance of GPS collars, especially since most other states do not even allow dog hunting of deer.

Possibly one of the worst negative impacts from using GPS collars is its potential work-around for poaching other wildlife, especially bears!

GPS collared dogs may be released for “training purposes,” and if they tee a bear (illegal to hunt bear with hounds!), GPS coordinates may be passed on to nearby bear hunters (cell phone, texting, radio).

Another gross violation of any semblance of “fair chase” is how GPS collars are used in the only other states (only nine states, all in deep south) that allow deer-hound hunting.
Hounders release their dogs at one end of wildlife habitat, while other hunters wait (known as “stands”) at the other end—sometimes many miles away. GPS collared dogs chase the deer, and as their fear-flight path alters, the GPS coordinates are sent to the “stands,” who then shift their positions to be able to blast away when the totally exhausted deer, with tongues hanging, emerge.
How can anyone consider this to be ethical or fair chase?
On reason hounders claim they want to use GPS collars is to be better able to retrieve their dogs. First, dog retrieval is not a FGC mandate. Some hounders claim that with faster retrieval, there will be less wildlife disruption—even they are admitting that hounds do indeed impact all wildlife. In addition to already-allowed radio telemetry collars, dog retrieval can be better accomplished with solid training before any releasing, and with micro-chips, and/or leashes or tethering.
Another hounder claim is that GPS collars are necessary for dog safety—to be able to intervene when the hounds illegally trespass, get too close to a public road, or become involved in an altercation—fight, mauling, injuries, etc. This “safety” claim is illogical and bogus. When dogs are 2, 3, or many more miles away from their handlers, in rugged terrain, with no roads, there is no way any humans can reach their dogs immediately to intervene. Some GPS collars claim ranges of ten miles or more.
To even release a dog into wildlife habitat is to subject it to health and safety risks and suggests a degree of questionable dog safety concerns that are far less than most dog owners’ care for their dogs’ safety. Even if dog safety were a FGC mandate, GPS collars will do nothing to mitigate dog safety in an emergency situation, yet that’s what’s being bandied about.

Comments on http://www.fgc.ca.gov/meetings/2017/Feb/02080917docs.aspx , to open the pdf file, and scroll down to agenda item 20 (See comment letters from Public Interest Coalition, pg 3; PEACE, pg 8; and Project Bobcat, pg 10—with helpful references). The issue at this time is not to do away with hound hunting of mammals, even though that should be considered by the FGC and/or the CA legislature; but rather the current issue is to not allow GPS collars for hound hunting.


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