Echoes of Oregon History Learning Guide
Animal Bounty Bill, 1849
Transcript of original document:
To be entitled an act to provide for the destruction of certain wild animals therein mentioned
Sec. 1 Be it enacted by the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Oregon; that there shall be paid out of the county treasury of the proper county on the order of the county commissioners to any person who shall at any regular or special session of the county court of any county in this territory, present to said court, the scalp of any panther, tiger, cougar, lynx, wild-cat, large-wolf or prairie wolf and declare under oath, that the animal from which the said scalp was taken was killed in the said county; when the same is presented, the following premiums shall be awarded viz; for each panther, the sum of three dollars; for each tiger, the sum of three dollars; for each cougar, the sum of three dollars; for each lynx, the sum of three dollars; for each wild-cat, the sum of one dollar; for each large-wolf, the sum of three dollars; and for each prairie-wolf, the sum of one dollar and fifty cents.
Sect 2. This act to be in force and take effect from and after its passage. Passed Sept. 10th, 1849 William Porter, Clerk H. R.
Wild animals were seen as a constant threat to settlers and their livestock in Oregon. Wolves, bears, wildcats, and even wild cattle and hogs could cause alarm. This bill establishes a system of bounties, by which hunters can be paid by the county in return for presenting evidence of killing a predator. It lists panthers, tigers, cougars, lynxes, wild-cats, large-wolves, and prairie wolves, and establishes a premium for the scalp of each. The bill did not pass.
For Further Discussion
1. What is the object of this proposed legislation?
2. What do you think the results would be if the bill passed?
3. What are the attitudes of the authors of the bill to predators? Are attitudes the same today?