HOUSE COMMITTEE ON

AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES

 

 

March 20, 2003   Hearing Room D

1:00 PM  Tapes 43 - 46

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. Jeff Kropf, Chair

Rep. George Gilman, Vice-Chair

Rep. Terry Beyer

Rep. Dave Hunt

Rep. Donna Nelson

Rep. Patti Smith

 

MEMBER EXCUSED:            Rep. Kelley Wirth, Vice-Chair

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Ray Kelly, Committee Administrator

David Peffley, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURES HEARD:                     HB 2436 – Public Hearing and Work Session

 

 

These minutes are in compliance with Senate and House Rules.  Only text enclosed in quotation marks reports a speaker’s exact words.  For complete contents, please refer to the tapes.

 

TAPE/#

Speaker

Comments

TAPE 43, A

003

Chair Kropf

Calls the meeting to order at 1:07 and opens a public hearing on          HB 2436.

HB 2436 – PUBLIC HEARING

015

Ray Kelly

Committee Administrator.  Summarizes HB 2436 and gives background information on the 1994 passage of Ballot Measure 18.

042

Senator Bill Fisher

District 1.  Provides testimony in support of HB 2436 and states the importance of this legislation to pass the bill.

062

Jerod Broadfoot

Pac-West Communications; Safari Club International.   Provides a summarized history that ‘Oregonians for Responsible Wildlife Management’ had undergone to get HB 2436 passed.  States that Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has not been effective in managing ODFW since Ballot Measure 18 passed in 1994 and that children are at risk.  Submits written testimony in support of HB 2436 (EXHIBIT A) and (EXHIBIT B).

172

Broadfoot

Continues by giving a background of the animal rights activist’s agenda and requests that the will of Oregonians be protected.

213

Chair Kropf

Asks about the 90 percent elk/calf mortality rate cited in the testimony, and asks where the number came from.

217

Broadfoot

States the data was provided by ODFW from the predation and nutrition study in Northeast Oregon.

222

Chair Kropf

Questions the 11 million dollar figure.

228

Broadfoot

Replies that he got the figures from the Oregon Farm Bureau (OFB).

233

Rep. Wayne Kreiger

District 1.  Testifies in favor of HB 2436 and details the damage that black bears have done to forests and the need to regulate them; states that black bears are responsible for 75 million dollars of damage annually.  States skepticism that a ballot measure is the way to regulate wildlife.

TAPE 44, A

004

Broadfoot

Plays video detailing a cougar attack on the property of Nancy Denig.

029

Nancy Denig

Shares her story of being threatened by a cougar and testifies that cougars should be managed.

067

Chair Kropf

Asks if Denig was there when her son was threatened.

069

Denig

Details the account of the cougar threat and testifies that she personally witnessed the lunge of the cougar.

088

Chair Kropf

Asks what the happened after the neighbor shot the cougar.

094

Denig

Continues the story and states that she called ODFW, who came to inspect.

100

Rep. Smith

Asks Denig for clarification on increased sighting testimony.

105

Denig

Responds.

112

Rep. Smith

Asks if Denig reported her previous sighting.

116

Denig

Responds that she didn’t.

122

Rep. Smith

Gives personal cougar sighting anecdote.

130

Chair Kropf

Asks if anyone was able to determine the age or the health of the cougar.

134

Denig

States the cougar was approximately two years old and unhealthy at only 40 pounds.

138

Rep. Greg Smith

District 57.  Provides testimony in favor of HB 2436.  Shares anecdote about sighting a full-grown cougar during a hike. 

181

Darrel Schute

Details the cougar attack on his grandson, Jacob, and submits graphic photographs of Jacob after the attack in the hospital (EXHIBIT C).

390

Rep. Smith

Wonders if the cougar’s reason for attacking was ever determined.

401

Schute

Answers question and states that hunger is not necessarily an indicator of a cougar attack.

TAPE 43, B

002

Rep. Smith

Asks for when Washington state passed a similar legislation to this one.

006

Schute

Replies that it was in 1996.  Adds the story of an additional cougar sighting in Kettle Falls.

043

Rep. Nelson

Asks about the strength of a cougar.

065

Schute

Replies that a cougar can jump 20 feet vertically and 30 feet horizontally.

070

Rep. Nelson

Asks how an individual can protect oneself against a cougar.

080

Schute

States he is uncertain.  Comments on the use of decoy dogs and firearms.  Continues testimony of cougars in the area and states he is not comfortable in his own yard.

106

Rep. Nelson

Asks how long it takes ODFW officers to get to his home.

110

Schute

States that they have to take care of the problem for themselves and cannot depend on ODFW officers.

125

Rep. Hunt

Asks about the preceding ban on cougar hunting in Washington and its outcome.

130

Schute

Discusses the effectiveness of the legislation in Washington.

171

Chair Kropf

Asks Jacob if he thinks we should change the law to protect other kids.

180

Jacob

Responds yes.

190

Roy Elicker

Deputy Director, ODFW.  Provides testimony that cougar populations have increased and ODFW strives to provide hunting opportunities for bear and cougar in order to control these populations.  Reads written testimony in support of HB 2436 (EXHIBIT D). 

317

Rep. Nelson

Asks Elicker to outline the nature of the escalating damage and the conflicts, which the animals are causing.

325

Steve Denny

Southwest Regional Manager, ODFW.  States that with the passage of Ballot Measure 18 there was a rapid increase in cougar complaints.  State that several factors contribute to black bear complaints. 

372

Rep. Nelson

Asks if ODFW keeps track of the costs incurred regarding cougars and bears complaints.

390

Denny

Details the time constraints involved, as they do not have a cost figure.  

400

Rep. Nelson

Asks why the costs are not documented.

410

Denny

States that the number of complaints received by ODFW make it impossible to track each individual complaint.  Reiterates that the damage costs are tracked.

418

Rep. Nelson

Asks what the cost of damage runs annually.

423

Denny

States he does not have these figures.

441

Elicker

Adds that he believes that OFB has done some work on wildlife damage estimates.  States there is a wildlife advisory task force that is currently working to report on wildlife damage.

TAPE 44, B

001

Rep. Nelson

Asks if the help of dogs and volunteer hunters help ease ODFW’s burden and costs.

003

Denny

States that population would be reduced although not eliminated.

015

Chair Kropf

Asks if bait and dogs are the most effective tools in controlling the populations.

020

Denny

Replies that they are an effective tool.

025

Rep. Hunt

Asks about the conflict between bears and cougars and population increases.  Asks how we could do a better job of dealing with wildlife predation. 

035

Elicker

Replies. And reiterates that bait and dog can help with management.

055

Rep. Hunt

Asks for clarification that cougar populations are increasing rapidly, but bears populations are more stable.

061

Denny

Confirms.

068

Rep. Gilman

Asks if ODFW feel that bear and cougar populations are effectively controlled at this time.

072

Denny

States that the cougar populations are not under control at this time, however bear populations are better managed.

086

Rep. Gilman

Asks about deer and elk numbers, and if they are effected by the increased cougar population.

090

Denny

Replies that deer and elk populations are decreasing.

100

Chair Kropf

Asks for clarification on testimony that since the law passed that the increases of populations have negatively adversely affected the increase in populations.

106

Denny

States that the study is incomplete, having only less than one year of data.

112

Rep. Nelson

Asks if ODFW requests money from the Affix Wildlife Services Division.

117

Denny

States that they have requested eighty to a hundred and twenty thousand general fund dollars for the wildlife services and the ODFW provides them with ninety thousand dollars per biennium of licensed dollars targeted specifically at bear and cougar damages.

121

Rep. Nelson

Asks for clarification that a portion of the funding that is designated for animal plant health inspection program is used for cougar and bear control.

125

Denny

States yes, the ninety thousand dollars is targeted specifically at bear and cougar damages.

128

Rep. Nelson

Asks if the number could be reduced if Ballot Measure 18 were repealed.

131

Denny

States that he does not believe that it could.

162

Rep. Beyer

States concern with combining these two issues (bears & cougars).  States that there is a cougar problem, but is not sure about bears. Asks about the Washington solution.

178

Elicker

States he is unfamiliar with the Washington state management solution.  Offers to report back after further investigation

182

Chair Kropf

Asks about the increase in public safety complaints related to bear and cougar complaints and why Oregon has so many.

190

Denny

Addresses demographic concerns; too many people and too many beasts. States that the cougars are no longer transients, but now live in the rural Oregon areas.

210

Chair Kropf

Asks if the ban on using bait and dogs has contributed to the increase in public safety complaints.

215

Denny

Confirms.

217

Rep. Smith

Asks about the lower elk numbers in Northeast Oregon.

221

Denny

Responds to number of tags.

225

Rep. Smith

Asks if the restriction of the state of Oregon to use the hunting dogs is loss of a significant management tool.

229

Denny

States that it is a significant factor but to what level is yet to be determined.

280

Kelly Peterson

Human Society of the United States.  Provides testimony in opposition to HB 2436.  States that bear baiting is not an effective solution to the problems.  States that House Bill 2436 is not about public safety.  Submits written testimony (EXHIBIT E).

321

James Ince

Southern Douglas County Rancher.  Provides testimony in opposition to HB 2436.  Reads written testimony (EXHIBITS F, G, H).

TAPE 45, A

002

Rep. P. Smith

Asks Peterson if she supported HB 2966.

004

Peterson

States that she supported some provisions within the bill.

012

Chair Kropf

Asks Ince how to reconcile his testimony with that heard earlier today.

024

Ince

States that he really cannot reconcile it, but states that sightings cannot necessarily be equated to damage or hazard.

042

Wayne Endicott

Archery Shop owner, Springfield.  States that there is much concern about this issue in rural Oregon.  Comments on the livestock loss in Douglas county is approximately 10 to 30 thousand dollars a month.

095

Don Poole

Oregon Bow Hunters, Salem.  Offers testimony of his fiancé’s cougar sighting two years ago.

111

George Johnson

Central Oregon.  States there have been two recent incidents in Bend.  Testifies a cougar killed a deer two weeks ago less than 80 feet from the backyard of family with children.

121

Chair Kropf

Inquires if there is a general feeling this is a public safety issue.

124

Endicott

Affirms that it is.

149

Ted Kistner

Wildlife Biologist, Retired Veterinarian.  States that without thinning out, we will have many other concerns, including the transmission of diseases.  Reads written testimony regarding his concerns with the cougar population (EXHIBIT I). 

205

Jim Welsh

Lobbyist, Oregon State Grange.  States there is a problem and provides testimony in support of HB 2436 (EXHIBIT J). 

250

Tom Ushmey

Director, Oregon Family Farm Association. Testifies in favor of HB 2436 and comments on personal experiences with cougar sightings and stock loss.

319

Don Haney

Testifies in support of HB 2436.  States his ranch hand recently had a stare down with a cougar that had just killed a deer on the property.  States concern that his children catch the bus to school before sunrise in the winter. 

363

Garland Teich

Oregon Hunters Association Member.  Testifies in support of HB 2436.

TAPE 46, A

005

Eldon Deardorff

Richland, OR.  Testifies in support of HB 2436, sighting the decrease of the elk population as attributable to cougar.  Also cites a report that states that cougar damage has increased greatly since 1991.

128

Teich

Reaffirms that hounds are necessary as bait and attests to the cost-effectiveness of cougar hunting.

131

Deardorff

Adds that if the older animals are removed, the younger animals will be less inclined to come into human areas.

151

Don Shaller

Oregon Hunters, Portland.  Provides written testimony in support of HB 2436 (EXHIBIT K).

170

Paul Coil

Executive, Shooting Sports Company.  Testifies to the danger of cougars and states his concern for safety.

202

Steve Mathers

President, Oregon Guides and Packers Association.  States concern for safety and for lost revenue.

219

Bob Botta

Executive Director, National Foundation for Wildlife.  Provides testimony in support of HB 2436.

243

Rod Clawitter

Oregon United Sporting Dog Association.  Provides testimony with a focus on black bears in Oregon.  States that statistics show that black bears kill more humans than cougars, by 4 to 1.  Provides written testimony (EXHIBIT L).

326

David Walker

Tillamook Oregon Hunters Association.  States support for HB 2436.

356

Rod Harder

Provides written testimony on HB 2436 (EXHIBIT M)

380

Katie Fast

Oregon Cattleman’s Association.  Provides testimony on HB 2436. 

387

Jerald Myra

Provides written testimony on HB 2436 (EXHIBIT N).

390

Greg Addington

Oregon Farm Bureau.  Provides testimony on HB 2436 (EXHIBIT O).

TAPE 45, B

004

Broadfoot

Notes that he has not been contacted from the Governor’s office. 

010

Chair Kropf

Asks if there has been a personal request to meet with the Governor.

012

Broadfoot

States that the feedback from the Governor’s office has been that there was no purpose to do so.

013

Chair Kropf

Re-states the inability of the proponents to meet with the Governor regarding this bill.

015

Rep. Nelson

Alludes to Jim Myron’s testimony, states there is no information regarding pain to citizens, nor damage to crops and other natural resources.  Comments on the need to put the issue before the Governor.

030

Chair Kropf

Reads Jim Myron’s testimony (EXHIBIT P).

138

Chair Kropf

Closes a public hearing on HB 2436 and opens a work session on      HB 2436

The following prepared testimony is submitted for the record without public testimony for HB 2436.

 

Jerry Ray

Submits written testimony (EXHIBIT Q).

 

Al Elkins

Submits written testimony (EXHIBIT R).

HB 2436 - WORK SESSION

045

Rep. Nelson

MOTION:  Moves HB 2436 to the floor with a DO PASS recommendation.

049

Rep. Hunt

Admits the cougar problem is a safety issue, but questions the method of repealing Measure 18 as the best way to proceed.  States a desire to support a minority report.

060

Rep. P. Smith

States an aversion to voting against the will of the people, however due to the testimony and evidence provided, will be voting in support of the bill.

064

Rep. Beyer

States an agreement with Rep. Hunt.  Announces that she will also support a minority report.

072

Rep. Nelson

Says that safety is of absolute importance and strongly supports         HB 2436.

 

 

VOTE:  5-2

AYE:            5 - Rep. P. Smith, Rep. Nelson, Rep. Beyer, Rep. Gilman, Rep. Kropf

NAY:            2 - Rep. Hunt, Rep. Beyer

EXCUSED:  1 - Rep. Wirth

 

 

(This bill gets reconsidered on March 25.)

105

Chair Kropf

The motion Carries.

REP. KROPF will lead discussion on the floor.

108

Rep. Hunt

Serves notice of an intent to file a minority report.

119

Rep. Beyer

Serves notice of an intent to file a minority report.

123

Chair Kropf

Closes the work session on HB 2436 and adjourns the committee at 4:09 pm.

 

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

A – HB 2436, written testimony,  Jerod Broadfoot, 35 pp.

B – HB 2436, written testimony,  Jerod Broadfoot, 10 pp.

C – HB 2436, written testimony,  Darrel Schute, 6 pp.

D – HB 2436, written testimony,  Roy Elicker, 5 pp.

E – HB 2436, written testimony,  Kelly Peterson, 2 pp.

F – HB 2436, written testimony,  James Ince, 2 pp.

G – HB 2436, written testimony,  James Ince, 1 p.

H – HB 2436, written testimony,  James Ince, 1 p.

I – HB 2436, written testimony,  Ted Kistner, 1 p.

J – HB 2436, written testimony,   Jim Welsh, 1 p.

K – HB 2436, written testimony,  Don Schaller, 1p.

L – HB 2436, written testimony, Rod Klawitter, pp.

M – HB 2436, written testimony,  Rod Harder, 1 p.

N - HB 2436, written testimony, Jerald Myra, 3 pp.

O – HB 2436, written testimony,  Greg Addington 1 p.

P – HB 2436, written testimony,   Jim Myron, 1 p.

Q – HB 2436, written testimony, Jerry Ray, 1 p.

R – HB 2436, written testimony, Al Elkins, 2 pp.