Sprenger, hunters ‘blind’ to solutions


There are times when our preconceived notions blind us to solutions for problems that appear right before us. The recent town hall on cougars is a case in point.

Coming into that meeting with the preconceived notion that letting all hunters hunt cougars with dogs is the only way to control their growing population and preserve citizen safety has blinded Rep. Sherrie Sprenger to several other solutions that were presented at that very meeting.

A Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman noted that the number of volunteers for Fish and Wildlife specialty teams that can legally use dogs to hunt cougars has fallen greatly in the last few years.

Why not contact hound huntsmen about this opportunity rather than change the law so that every hunter can start using dogs if each county decides so?

The young hound huntsman from Grants Pass at that meeting seemed to know nothing about that volunteer opportunity!

A large number of volunteer teams around the state would both solve the cougar population problem and allow hound huntsmen with the greatest skills to protect citizens, pets and livestock.

Several other solutions were presented at the meeting, including use of trained guard dogs and humane trapping of cougars. Some of those who proposed these methods were given barely enough time to speak.

Rep. Sprenger is reportedly “ecstatic” about the outcome of the meeting. If that feeling is determined by the number of reports of fear and animal deaths made, so that Rep. Sprenger can use those in Salem to try, yet again, to get her bill passed through the Senate, I can understand her response.

But that sense of success will be hollow indeed if it means another two years of failure (after seven already, per Rep. Sprenger herself, The New Era, Oct. 17, 2018) trying to get the same bill passed through the Senate.

And, for those worried about funding for volunteer teams or alternative methods, all of them could be funded with the almost $1 million the state would save taxpayers if they stopped purchasing M-44 cyanide devices that are ineffective and even more dangerous than the predators they fail to control. (Dollar figure taken from Sept. 13, 2018 letter from Rep. Peter DeFazio to Gov. Kate Brown. Copy available upon request.) 

If we are really concerned about public safety, then every avenue of cougar control should be explored. New information should bring us new ideas, not new ways to support old ideas that haven’t solved the problem!

Reneé Windsor-White

Democratic Candidate for House District 17