SUMMARY: Adds black bear and cougar to list of penalties for unlawful taking or killing of wildlife, increases other penalty fines, and adds Class A misdemeanor that includes “worry or disturb any wildlife” and Class C felony conviction that includes confiscation of properties.
AMENDMENT A: Adds 180 day mandatory sentence for failure to comply with a citation.
PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY: The adding of black bear and cougar to the list of penalties reduces an individual’s right to protect themself and property. Cougar population has doubled in the last two decades resulting in stalking in urban areas. They are the primary cause for a 30% reduction in deer population keeping the deer and elk population from recovering. Black bear population has exploded to 30,000 and are reported as a threat to hikers and campers. Both animals are also a threat to the homeless, particularly in rural areas.
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY: Increases penalties by an additional $75,500 for the illegal taking of just one of the animals with increased fees. The penalties are stated to recover damages for the unlawful taking or killing. The large increases to $5,000 and $50,000 go beyond recovery of costs. In 2011, it was determined that penalty levels wasn’t the issue for reducing illegal taking or killing, but that courts tend to not impose full force of penalties.
LIMITED GOVERNMENT: The Class A misdemeanor conviction added is the unlawful “taking” of wildlife. Statutory definition of “taking” in ORS 498.006 is very broad to say “no person shall chase, harass, molest, worry or disturb any wildlife except while engaged in lawfully angling for, taking, hunting or trapping such wildlife.”
Class C felony conviction added not only revokes all licenses, but the court can confiscate and forfeit personal property including all guns, vehicles, electronic devices plus other implements used in committing the offense. No allowance is given for a lawful business that may affect others.
In view of the deprivation of deer by couger lowering the number of deer to be harvested by licensed deer hunters I think the Oregon Wildlife Commission should pay hunters for killing cougers thus helping to protect that resource. As for killing a bear I suggest that the penality made a misdemeanor for killing one with one exception. If a bear is killed for body parts leaving the body in the field full forfiture of licnse and hunting privlideges. Regardless of which creature is illegally killed there should be no forfiture of property including homes and automobiles.