Photo of treed bear and bobcat. Text: Shooting animals out of trees is not sport, oppose AB 2205. Photos by Chase Dekker and Joint Base Lewis McChord, creative commons.
Photo of bobcat sitting on rock.
Photo of CA flag with dead bear and hunter, text: California Shame. Courtesy Bear Flag Museum.


In 2012, Governor Brown signed SB 1221 into law which banned the use of hounds when hunting bears or bobcats in California. No longer could hunters release packs of unsupervised dogs into wilderness areas to chase bears or bobcats — often for hours and over miles of terrain — so a hunter could arrive at his leisure, take aim and shoot the exhausted animal out of a tree. A handful of frustrated hunters want to use their dogs again and introduced Assembly Bill 2205 to undercut the recent ban. Thankfully, this bill failed to pass the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee and is officially dead!


AB 2205 died in the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee on Tuesday, April 29. Thanks to your letters, phone calls and emails, Assemblymembers Bocanegra, Fong, Gatto, Gomez, Gonzalez, Rendon, Rodriguez, and Yamada opposed the bill. These eight noes outnumbered the five ayes (Assemblymembers Allen, Bigelow, Dahle, Beth Gaines, and Patterson).

On behalf of the Mountain Lion Foundation and all of California's wildlife, THANK YOU to everyone who took action to help defeat this terrible bill!

ORIGINAL ALERT: No Animal Should be Sport Hunted with Hounds

Though not legislation that pertains directly to mountain lions, MLF has joined with fellow wildlife advocates to oppose Assembly Member Donnelly's AB 2205 — the latest attempt to allow the use of hounds when sport hunting bears and bobcats in California.

Hounding is an inhumane and outdated blood sport. Shooting an exhausted and frightened animal out of a tree is unethical hunting and it has no place in modern wildlife management or recreation. Hounding has been banned in two-thirds of the United States. It is unconscionable as well as embarrassing that California (which in so many ways is on the forefront of proper natural resource management) would even consider reinstating the practice.

Photo of hounds in back of open pickup truck.

Using hounds violates all claims of "fair chase" and ultimately does not protect sows and cubs.

Through our efforts to protect mountain lions from sport hunting in the United States, the Foundation has conducted extensive research on the statement that allowing the use of hounds makes hunters more selective: letting females and juveniles go and only shooting trophy-sized adult males. However, a review of 30 years of records from game managers throughout the western United States found that although technically feasible, most hunters could not tell the size and sex of an animal up a tree. In both black bear and bobcat species, males look virtually identical to females.

Furthermore, of the hunters who claimed to be selective and said they would let smaller and female animals go free, less than 30 percent actually did so. Hounding an animal is sometimes an all day event: following the hounds for hours on end, over rugged terrain, until they finally wear out the bear or bobcat and it seeks refuge up a tree. After the excitement and exhaustion (and hefty expense if a professional guide was used), more than 70 percent of hunters shoot the first animal they tree, regardless of age, size, or sex.

Letting a bear go after being hounded and treed is still cruel.

Late summer and fall is when bears are trying to rapidly put on weight in preparation for hibernating. Being chased numerous times during these months, sometimes up to twelve hours a day, not only adds undue stress to the animal but it burns critical calories the bear needs to survive the winter. Even though no shots may be fired, the practice of catch-and-release hounding can still be a slow and painful death sentence, or force desperate and hungry bears to enter urban areas to compensate their natural diet with an easy meal from dumpsters, rural homes, campgrounds, and the like.

Bears that have been chased out of their natural territories are more likely to come into conflict with people and be killed under our state's public safety policies. Hence an increase in nuisance bear reports may be due to over exploitation of the species in their natural areas by houndsmen, and should not be twisted into an excuse to kill or harass even more bears and exacerbate the problem.

Hound hunting guides make good money and are a very vocal group. But make no mistake, this is an archaic and cruel practice for both wild animals and domestic dogs that needs to remain banned in our state.

Californians have already exterminated the Grizzly, which remains proudly displayed on our state flag; the least we can do is treat our last remaining bear species humanely and ensure its survival on California's wildlands.

Proper wildlife management and preservation are very important to Californians. Thank you for upholding these values in the past and we hope you'll continue to do so by urging your representatives to vote NO on Assembly Bill 2205.

Help Protect California's Wildlife

If you live outside California, please forward this page to your California friends and consider sharing it on Facebook.

Write a Letter to the Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee - Before March 14th

If you live in California you can help by writing a short letter to the WP&W Committee telling them to oppose AB 2205. These letters will help kill the bill before it moves any further through the legislature.

Photo of young black bear in tree.

A few minutes of your time could make a big difference for California's bears and bobcats.

Send before March 14th and address your letter to:

Assemblymember Anthony Rendon
Assembly Water, Parks & Wildlife Committee
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA 95814

FAX: (916) 319-2196

Please also send MLF a copy of your letter. PO Box 1896, Sacramento CA 95812 or email it to Thank you!

In your letter, please point out:

  • Hounding has been banned in two-thirds of the United States.
  • It is unconscionable and embarrassing that California would even consider reinstating the practice.
  • Bears that have been chased out of their natural territories are more likely to come into conflict with people and be killed under our state's public safety policies.
  • This is an archaic and cruel practice for both wild animals and domestic dogs that needs to remain banned in our state.

Thank you so very much for taking the time to help protect California's bears and bobcats!

About the Mountain Lion Foundation

The Mountain Lion Foundation, founded in 1986, is a national nonprofit organization protecting mountain lions and their habitat. The mountain lion is also known as cougar, puma, panther, and catamount.

We believe that mountain lions are in peril. Our nation is on the verge of destroying this apex species upon which whole ecosystems depend. Hunting mountain lions is morally unjustified, and killing lions to prevent conflicts is ineffective and dangerous. There is a critical need to know more about the biology, behavior, and ecology of mountain lions, and governments should base decisions upon truthful science, valid data, and the highest common good. Conserving critical lion habitat is essential.

Together, we can save America's lion.

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