HB 2537 Increases damages for unlawful killing of wildlife.

Died in Committee (2015)

HB 2537 increases damages for unlawful taking or killing of wildlife, and adds wildlife to the listing.

The bill is contrary to ORS 498.166 by adding black bear and cougars. Bears and cougars are already regulated as known predators that endangers farms and ranch properties. ORS 498.166 allows for the taking of cougars or bears that pose a threat to human safety. Forbidding defending your own property and personal safety is not right.

Further, the bill assumes that a fisherman can direct fish to prevent catching unclipped or unmarked salmon or steelhead. How absurd.

This bill indirectly puts every wild animal on the “endangered species” list limiting individual freedoms.

Proposed increases in fines is significant and is another effort to raise taxes Oregonians with out an avenue for defense.  Finding someone guilty by possession without evidence of how the animal was taken or intended use is contrary to the laws of the land.

At the end of line thirty-one of the bill the language reads: “the court shall impose a fine that is:”

In 2011 OHA sponsored and passed a similar fine bill with “the court shall” language. Shortly after the bill became law, OHA received phone calls from prosecutors and a judge wanting to know how OHA could have let such a bill pass. They told us that “the court shall” language in any fine or fee bill “ties the hands” of the court. In the next legislative session OHA had the language changed back to “may” in the statutes.

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