HOUSE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE

AND NATURAL RESOURCES

 

March 24, 2005   Hearing Room: BAKER CITY ARMORY

1:00 P.M.                1740 CAMPBELL ST

          BAKER CITY, OR 97814

Tapes  33 - 36

MEMBERS PRESENT:            Rep. Patti Smith, Chair

Rep. Brian Boquist, Vice-Chair

Rep. Arine Roblan Vice-Chair

Rep. Terry Beyer

Rep. Chuck Burley

Rep. Mac Sumner

 

MEMBER EXCUSED:            Rep. Mark Hass

 

VISITING MEMBER:                 Rep. Tom Butler

 

STAFF PRESENT:                  Patrick Brennan, Committee Administrator

Jania Zeeb, Committee Assistant

 

MEASURES/ISSUES HEARD:        

                                                HB 2759 – Public Hearing and Work Session

                                                HB 2781 – Public Hearing

 

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 33, A

003

Chair P. Smith

Calls the meeting to order at 1:03 p.m. and begins the introduction of committee members.

021

Rep. Tom Butler

House District 60.  Introduces himself.

032

Rep. Burley

House District 54.  Introduces himself and the elected officials in the room.

043

Rep. Roblan

House District 9.  Introduces himself.

058

Rep. Sumner

House District 18.  Introduces himself.

071

Rep. Beyer

House District 12.  Introduces herself.

079

Rep. Boquist

House District 23.  Introduces himself.

092

Chair P. Smith

House District 52.  Introduces herself and the Committee staff.

107

Chair P. Smith

Opens the public hearing on HB 2759 and HB 2781.

HB 2759 and HB 2781 – Public Hearing

109

Patrick Brennan

Committee Administrator.  Summarizes the two bills.  Discusses the -1 amendments for HB 2759 (EXHIBIT A).

141

Chair P. Smith

Asks if estimates have been made of the fiscal impact for the bill.

142

Brennan

Relays the information that was given to him by the Legislative Fiscal office.

162

Chair P. Smith

Expresses her support for HB 2759, and explains why she is in support of the bill.

177

Rep. Sumner

Concurs with Rep. Smith.

181

Brennan

Reads the letter sent by Rep. Dave Hunt in support of HB 2759 (EXHIBIT P).

220

Rep. Butler

House District 60.  Gives an explanation of HB 2781. 

320

Rep. Butler

States that the people in rural Oregon are passionate about the issue because cougars can kill people and affect their livelihood. 

352

Roy Elicker

Deputy Director, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).  Introduces Bruce Eddy,.ODFW Northeast Regional Manager, Dewaine Jackson, ODFW Wildlife Research Project Coordinator, and Lieutenant Randy Scorby, ODFW East Region Lieutenant.  Submits and presents prepared testimony (EXHIBIT B).  Comments on the number of tasks that the department would be responsible for as a result of the bill.

TAPE 34, A

003

Elicker

Comments on the initial reservations that ODFW has regarding the two bills.  States that a clear definition of pursuit season is needed.

017

Ron Anglin

Wildlife Division Administrator, ODFW.  Discusses the concerns the department has with the -1 amendments (EXHIBIT A)

051

Rep. Roblan

Asks if the current studies on elk predation include finding related to the impact of cougars on the elk population.

054

Anglin

Gives information on the Northeast Oregon Study and comments on the results of the study in regard to cougars.

064

Rep. Burley

Inquires about the trend with the number of tags in the northeast region for elk hunting.

066

Anglin

Responds that overall the number has gone down over the past couple years. 

076

Rep. Roblan

Inquires if the department has information on the current population of cougars in the state of Oregon.

081

Anglin

Gives the estimated numbers of how many cougars are in Oregon. 

092

Chair P. Smith

Talks about statistics showing that more cats are being taken in Oregon than in the past.  Asks if the percentage of the total cougar population that is being taken has dropped.

097

Anglin

Responds that in regard to percentages there are less cougars being taken overall than was the case when hunters were allowed to use dogs. 

112

Chair P. Smith

Solicits opinions as to whether Oregon has a cougar problem.

113

Anglin

Responds that in some areas there is a cougar problem.

119

Elicker

Comments on the current harvest of cougars. 

138

Chair P. Smith

Inquires if ODFW agrees that cougars need to be managed.

142

Elicker

Responds that the department feels that they need more information on cougar population to manage the cougars.  Says the department wants a program for better information to allow better management.

152

Rep. Roblan

Inquires if the department has any numbers for what would be considered an appropriate population of cougars for Oregon.

157

Elicker

Responds that he would prefer to talk about more specific numbers with individual members.

165

Jerod Broadfoot

Safari Club International (SCI) “First for Hunters.”  Testifies in support of HB 2759.  Lists the counties that HB 2759 would affect.  Addresses the -1 Amendments (EXHIBIT A).  States the goals of HB 2759. 

258

Broadfoot

States that there has been a reduction of deer and elk tags sold in Oregon and comments on the budget impact on ODFW.  States that the -1 amendments should reduce the fiscal impact for HB 2729, if the cougar tag money is spent of management.

276

Rep. Boquist

Asks if SCI can work with ODFW to have a successful program.

280

Broadfoot

Responds affirmatively.

283

Rep. Burley

States that he does not see where the draft or the amendments call for a general pursuit season.  Asks if Mr. Broadfoot can speak to that.  Questions if the differences can be worked out. 

296

Broadfoot

Comments on the need for a non-lethal pursuit season to mentally condition cougars to fear humans.  States that SCI is willing to work with the department, and comments on the past experience working with the department.

334

Al Elkins

Oregon Hunters Association.  Submits and presents written testimony in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781 (EXHIBIT C).  Testifies in support of both bills and the -1 amendments for HB 2759.  Comments on the importance of what the committee is doing.

395

Steve West

Host, Steve’s Outdoor Adventures Television Show.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781.  Comments on the benefits of a quota system as opposed to a tag system.

TAPE 33, B

036

West

Comments on the dangers of not managing the cougars.  Discusses the situation in California, Utah and Washington.  Gives suggestions to the committee for what should be done. 

064

Rep. Sumner

Inquires if there are any hound hunters in Oregon.

067

West

Responds that there are, though there are fewer than there were in the early 90’s. 

072

Rep. Sumner

Asks if it will take time for hound hunters to acquire dogs again.

074

West

Answers that it takes years to develop a pack of quality hounds.

075

Broadfoot

Comments that it would be helpful to know the governor’s position on the bill and the -1 amendments. 

110

John Schiller

Bay Ranches.  Submits prepared testimony in addressing the problem with cougars, bears and wolves (EXHIBIT D).

123

Mike Hayward

Chairman, Wallowa County Board of Commissioners.  Submits prepared testimony in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781       (EXHIBIT E).  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781.

151

Paul Schwartz

Comments on the benefits of using hounds to hunt cougars.

172

Bill Moore

Rancher, Unity Area.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781.  Submits pictures of a cougar (EXHIBIT Q) and pictures of a dog after a cougar attack (EXHIBIT R).  Relates personal experiences with cougar.

238

John Patterson

Rancher, Baker County and Marion County.  Testifies in support of   HB 2759 and HB 2781.  Discusses his experience with cougars.  Comments on ODFW. 

305

Jan Kerns

Rancher, Baker Valley.  Submits and presents prepared testimony in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781 (EXHIBIT F).  Talks about her personal experiences with cougars.

354

Mitch Butler

Resident, Halfway Oregon.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and        HB 2781.  Relates personal experience with cougars.  Comments on the importance of a pursuit season. 

410

Angie Butler

Resident, Halfway.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781.  Comments on the fear that is involved. 

440

Tom Suitton

Resident, Butte Falls.  Comments on his experiences with cougars and discusses the importance of a pursuit season. 

TAPE 34, B

030

Randy Carter

Northeast Committeeman, Oregon Bow Hunters.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781. 

051

Rob Hill

Wildlife Manager, Plane Valley Ranch.  Testifies in support of          HB 2759 and HB 2781.  Comments on the low number of deer and the danger of having cougars around.

070

Elden Dierdarf

Submits letters in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781 (EXHIBIT G).  Discusses his personal experience with cougars.

115

Howard Martin

President Lower Columbia Chapter, Oregon Hunters Association.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781.  Comments on the problems with cougars in the Astoria area. 

160

Alicia Martin

Resident, Astoria Oregon.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and         HB 2781.

181

Tim O’Leary

Resident, Southern Douglas County.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and expresses preference for the original bill without the amendments. 

203

Chair P. Smith

Comments that the amendments are from the sports industry, not ODFW.

209

O’Leary

States that he supports the bill without the changes ODFW expressed interest in during its testimony. 

216

Terry Clearwater

Southern Oregon Predator Control.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781.  Comments on the current problem with cougars in Southwestern Oregon. 

260

Alicia Martin

Resident, Astoria.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781.

282

Lynn Shumway

Chair, Baker County Natural Resources Advisory Committee.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781.  Discusses the comments from ODFW with the concerns of going over the cougar taking quota.  States that there is no need for concern with going over the quota, given how many cougars there are.  Comments on safety concerns.  Discusses his personal experience with cougars. 

381

Matt Wilson

Resident, Silver Lake.  States that Lake County should be included in the list of counties included in the pilot program.  Discusses the concerns he has with the bill.  States that hound hunting is one of the best tools for the hunting of cougars.   

TAPE 35, A

013

Rachel Wilson

Resident, Silver Lake.  Voices the concerns of Lake County citizens.  Comments on the relationship between the county and ODFW.  Submits prepared testimony in support of hunting cougars with hounds (EXHIBIT H).

065

Chair P. Smith

Asks if Lake County would be one of the counties covered under       HB 2781.

069

Matt Wilson

Answers that it would not.

109

Greg Jones

Malheur County.  Expresses his concerns with HB 2781 and HB 2759.

127

Fred Warder

Chairman, Baker County Board of Commissioners.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781.  Submits prepared testimony in support of both bills (EXHIBIT I).  highlights the economics of hunting season in eastern Oregon.

159

Mike Slinkard

Southeast Committee member, Oregon Bow Hunters.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781.  Discusses how the cougar problem could affect the people from his area. Submits photo of a cougar from Grant County Oregon (EXHIBIT J).

218

Phil Hassinger

Union County Farm Bureau.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 with the  -1 amendments.  Comments on the need for good data and the opportunity that this bill would provide the needed data. 

268

Rod Klawitter

Oregon United Sporting Dog Association.  Tentatively support         HB 2759 as amended.  Talks about the pursuit aspect of HB 2759.  Discusses Ballot Measure 18.

339

Lyn Akers

Baker County, OR.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781.  Discusses his experience with cougars on his farm. 

436

James Foley

National Land Rights League.  Reads an e-mail that was sent to him regarding a cougar attack (EXHIBIT K).

TAPE 36, A

050

Connie Teal

Resident, Portland Oregon.  Testifies in opposition to HB 2759 and   HB 2781. 

084

Laura Ireland Moore

Humane Society of the United States.  Testifies in opposition to        HB 2759 and HB 2781. 

093

Chair P. Smith

Notes that the fact that there are 50 cosponsors for the measures indicates that there is bipartisan support for the bills.

095

Moore

Answers that she thinks the bills were misrepresented in terms of what the study is about.

106

Chair P. Smith

Inquires what study Ms. Moore is referring to.

108

Moore

Responds that she is talking about the pilot study.

117

Catherine Kain

Resident, Eugene Oregon.  Testifies and submits written testimony in opposition to HB 2759 and HB 2781. 

202

John Lamareau

Commissioner, Union County.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781.

217

Dough McColley

Resident, Baker City.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781.  Discusses his experience with cougars. 

270

Donald Oakes

Rancher, Unity Area.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781. Comments on the problem with the deer and elk population in Oregon.

346

Dennis Reynolds

Judge and Chief Executive Officer, Grant County.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781. Expresses the frustration the community has with cougars.  Gives information on his experience with cougars of sightings within John Day Oregon. 

TAPE 35, B

023

Warren Whitnah

Newbridge or Richland Oregon.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781.  Discusses his personal experience with cougars. 

062

Stan Hermens

Rancher, Kimberly Oregon.  Submits and reads prepared testimony in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781 (EXHIBIT M).  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and HB 2781.

106

Brett Brownscombe

Resident, La Grande.  Comments on the problems with elk populations.  Discusses his concerns with HB 2759 and HB 2781.   

186

Duncan  McKenezy

Rancher, Eastern Oregon.  Testifies in support of HB 2759 and         HB 2781.  Gives information about his experience with cougars. 

212

Chair P. Smith

Closes the public hearing on HB 2759 and HB 2781 and opens a work session on HB 2759.

HB 2759 – WORK SESSION

221

Rep. Boquist

MOTION:  Moves to ADOPT HB 2759-1 amendments dated 3/23/05.

225

 

VOTE:  6-0-1

EXCUSED:  1 - Hass

 

Chair P. Smith

Hearing no objection, declares the motion CARRIED.

 

225

Rep. Boquist

MOTION:  Moves HB 2759 to the floor with a DO PASS AS AMENDED recommendation and BE REFERRED to the committee on Ways and Means.

232

Rep. Beyer

Inquires if the reduction of the area covered by HB 2759 is to address a fiscal concern.

246

Ron Anglin

Deputy Director, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).  Responds that it is a fiscal issue. 

257

Rep. Beyer

States that she thinks it is important to get a bill that everyone can work with, but that if there is a fiscal issue then it is fine to sent it to Ways and Means. 

267

Chair P. Smith

Comments that she thinks the fiscal issues are one of the biggest concerns. 

277

Rep. Roblan

States that it is important that something be done this legislative session. 

284

Rep. Burley

Refers to the ODFW recommendations regarding the pilot program (EXHIBIT B).  Asks where in the bill it says that anything will be done outside the listed counties that are part of the study area.

294

Anglin

Refers to the language in line 21 and 22 of the -1 amendments (EXHIBIT A).

313

Jerod Broadfoot

Refers to the -1 amendments Section 1 (1) (EXHIBIT A).  Explains that the language sets the bill up to specific geographical areas.

332

Rep. Burley

Expresses thanks to Mr. Broadfoot for the clarification.

339

Rep. Boquist

Comments that he believes that ODFW has the capacity to handle this.  Relates his experience with cougars.  Comments on the ways people have to currently handle cougars. 

413

Rep. Beyer

Expresses thanks to the people who came to testify.  Comments on the need for hearing from people from both sides of an issue.

439

Rep. Burley

Relates his experience with cougars.  States that he thinks HB 2759 is a good bill. 

TAPE 36, B

013

Rep. Sumner

Comments that cougars are nocturnal animals.  States that HB 2759 is a good start to addressing the issue.

022

Rep. Roblan

States that residents have the same problems in his district and that this is becoming more of a state issue.

031

Chair P. Smith

Comments that it is a complex issue that needs to be addressed before it becomes a public safety issue. 

053

 

VOTE:  6-0-1

AYE:            In a roll call vote, all members present vote Aye.

EXCUSED:  1 - Hass

 

Chair P. Smith

The motion CARRIES.

055

Chair P. Smith

Closes the work session on HB 2759 and adjourns the meeting at 4:30 p.m.

 

EXHIBIT SUMMARY

 

  1. HB 2759, -1 amendments, staff, 3 pp
  2. HB 2759 and HB 2781, prepared testimony, Roy Elicker, 2 pp
  3. HB 2759 and HB 2781, prepared testimony, Al Elkins, 1 p
  4. HB 2759 and HB 2781, prepared testimony, John Schiller, 2 pp
  5. HB 2759 and HB 2781, prepared testimony, Mike Hayward, 4 pp
  6. HB 2759 and HB 2781, prepared testimony, Jan Kerns, 2 pp
  7. HB 2759 and HB 2781, letters, Elden Dierdorf, 6 pp
  8. HB 2759 and HB 2781, prepared testimony, Karmen O’Leary, 4 pp
  9. HB 2759 and HB 2781, prepared testimony, Fred Warner, 1 p
  10. HB 2759 and HB 2781, photo, Mike Slinkard, 1 p
  11. HB 2759, letter and pictures, James Foley, 4 pp
  12. HB 2759 and HB 2781, prepared testimony, Catherine Kohen, 3 pp
  13. HB 2759 and HB 2781, prepared testimony, Stan Hermens, 1 p
  14. HB 2759, prepared testimony, Elaine Smith, 2 pp
  15. HB 2759 and HB 2781, prepared testimony, David Wilson, 1 p
  16. HB 2759 and HB 2781, testimony, Rep. Dave Hunt, 1 p
  17. HB 2759 and HB 2781, photographs, Bill Moore, 1 p
  18. HB 2759 and HB 2781, photographs, Bill Moore, 1 p