Yesterday, the 16th, the Oregonian ran a headline editorial regarding a recent effort in the legislature to modify the hound hunting ban, which would allow individual counties to make that decision for themselves (born of the ever-increasing dichotomy between the Willamette Valley political bent, and that of more rural regions in the state). Here is my rebuttal: I went long (over the 150 word limit for letters to the editor, but also posted it at The Stump /Oregon live). The Oregonian comes down on the correct side of the Cougar hunting issue (“Cougar Hunting With Dogs”, April 16th), supporting allowance of individual counties to decide. But in so doing, the Oregonian also perpetuates misunderstandings and misinformation about Cougar (and Bear) hunting with hounds. Perhaps inadvertently, in the perpetuation of such, the Oregonian exposes the very root of the current problem. In references contained in the editorial, the Oregonian would have the average reader (of probably equal experience hunting with hounds as that held by the editorial staff) believe that the activity of pursuit of Cougars with dogs is easy, of little effort, and not a “ hard-earned technique” (such as hunting deer or elk). This belief is understandable from someone with absolutely no experience. However, not only is it completely false, to perpetuate in literature ANY belief founded on lack of experience as truth is shoddy journalism. Cougars and Bears, by their very nature and behavior and habits cannot be successfully managed using the same “techniques” as employed toward the ungulates. Upon treeing of a Cougar or Bear, hound hunters regularly employ a process of gender and age determination, and VERY often choose not to kill (this perpetuates the species, and perpetuates the activity). In truth, the pursuit of Cougars (and Bears) with hounds is one of the MOST arduous outdoor activities in which one could choose to engage. Anyone with even one hunt under their belt would be a convert to this truth. It is not a sport for the old, infirm, or even slightly out of shape. Chasing a pack of dogs through the timber and canyons with no thought to trails or roads or convenient access is a sport for young and strong individuals of nearly limitless physical endurance. As a hunter who has been dropped without a guide 100 miles above the Arctic Circle in pursuit of Sheep, and dropped without a guide in the vast expanses of the Mulchatna tundra for Caribou, and having packed in on horseback 24 miles into the Bob Marshall Wilderness of Montana for Elk, I can confidently say that hound hunting equals or surpasses all those physical challenges. And it is in this mistaken belief of ease marketed by the Oregonian: “…yee-haw hunting by lazy guys with dogs,…” that we find the very source of our current problems with Cougars and Bears as they interact with our ever-increasing encroachment on their habitat coupled with their ever-decreasing fear of Man and places he inhabits. Cougars and Bears without fear of Man very soon become problem Cougars and Bears, requiring that they be dispatched and disposed of in a very ignoble fashion little better than our swatting of a fly on the kitchen window. Witness California’s experience: with a total ban on Cougar hunting, the state (at taxpayer expense, I might add) kills more Cougars per year now than were killed by hunters BEFORE the ban (and the hunters, in license fees, PAID the state!). Although I am a strong supporter of the initiative process in this state, the ban on hound hunting is a prime example of how a misinformed and emotional populace can make a decision that is not only wrong for the state, but wrong for magnificent animals deserving more from us. Emotional conclusions drawn from little or no experience should play no part in wildlife policy. Perpetuating those emotional conclusions in print is a public disservice. Wildlife management should be left to the scientists that are best at it. To do any less is to disrespect not only the individual species of Cougars and Bears, but the valuable resource of all our wildlife, nearly unmatched in the world.