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Sweet Home, Oregon
February 22, 2012     The New Era Paper
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February 22, 2012

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I-- I t t, , r. - February 22, 2012 SPORTS Page 15 m Cougars From page 1 Wildlife, said that although the num- bers of cougars reported to have been killed in Linn County have not in- creased significantly in recent years, "there's definitely been an increase in sightings." "The statistics don't always show what the situation is on the ground," she said. "I've been here since 2003. I might have gotten a call once a week about a cougar sighting. Now I'm on the phone three or four times a week." Brian Wolfer, another ODFW bi- ologist, who works out of the Spring- field office, said he hasn't seen a "big change" in cougar populations on the eastern portion of the Willamette Valley, though he said numbers in the Coast Range seem to be up. "Within the Cascades. we've got cougars throughout the available habitat." he said. "I don't think that's changed. We had livestock damage five years ago and we've got live- stock damage now." Ron Henthorne. a private pred- ator-control trapper who specializes in coyotes and cougars, said he be- lieves problems caused by the cats are increasing. "There's an awful lot of damage caused by them," he said. He blamed Measure 18, passed in 1994, for changes in the cats' be- havior. Measure 18 banned the use of hounds to hunt cougars. "They're losing their fear of people," he said. "In the several generations since Measure 18 was passed, the cats are starting to lose their fear of people. They used to be chased by dogs. "I think it would be better to run them with dogs, but that's not an op- tion with the way the rules are right now." New legislation passed in 2007 by the Oregon Legislature allows deputized hunters to use hounds in designated counties to reduce cou- gars. However. Henthorne said. the law isn't very effective in most cases because it limits the use of hounds to the property on which livestock kill- ing occurred. He said that the longer it takes him to get a trap set after a kill. chances of catching the guilty cougar are minimized. "'People need to check their ani- mal s. "" Rep. Sherrie Sprenger (R-Scio) has re:introduced legislation she in- troduced last year, which would es- tablish a pilot cougar management plan modeled after a successful pro- gram implemented in Washington State. House Bill 4119 received a pub- lic hearing last week in the House Committee on Agriculture and Natu- ral Resources. It would allow coun- ties that want to participate to imple- ment a pilot project overseen by the ODFW) which allows the hunting of cougars with dogs. The bill is the same concept as HB 2337, the bill she advocated for in the last session. The bill passed the House of Representatives in 2011 with overwhelming bipartisan support, yet failed to be heard in the Senate committee to which it was re- ferred. Sprenger said she continues to advocate for this issue as a result of the resounding concerns from her district about their increasing cou- gar conflicts, livestock and animal loss. "There is no need for taxpayers to be paying for the ODFW to har- vest cougars when we have citizens already willing to do so at no cost." she said. "This is a responsible plan to give communities a tool to deal with growing conflicts. I ,inn I I I I Other I Kills Human Safety Killed Causes Total , I I 2004 1 0 15  2005. 1 4 6 0 . _ 11 " ' 2006 1 2 10 0 t3 i ! 2007' 0 2 8 0 At last week's public hearing, Kevin Strong, business manager for the Sweet Home School District, recounted the many cougar sight- ings around schools and school bus stops that have been getting more frequent. Also among those testifying in support of the bill were the Associa- tion of Oregon Counties and the Ore- gon Hunters Association. House Bill 4119 passed 6-1 after the hearing. The bill next goes to the Ways and Means committee and then must re- ceive a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate Chambers. Both Henthorne and Wolfer said that decreasing populations of black- tailed deer, due to a variety of fac- tors, have probably forced cougars down from the mountains. "The blacktail deer population has been affected by hair loss and loss of habitat up high in the moun- tains because the Forest Service is not cutting any more," Henthome said. "So many things affect the cou- gar population." He said he believes cougars are more active at this time of the year because this is the peak season for mating, so males are out looking for females. "They start moving an awful lot and a lot of damage occurs this time of year," he said. "They're getting out of their normal range, looking for mates." % fl Connie Blair Connie Blair. 69. of Leba- non volunteers at Twin Oaks Rehab with crafts, games and conversation. She volunteers because it makes her life more satisfy- ( ing, she said. "I feel I get morea warmth and love than I give to others. "I come to Twin Oaks Re- hab Center because of the warmth and love the staff gives the residents. So many of our infirm have no one or have been forgotten.'" She enjoys sewing, crochet, knitting and crafts. Y 20092008 0 6 6 2 14 I &'i+.:'4,,,E,m. 0 4 8 1 13 , 2010 0 8 8 4 20 ', .t .-;;+ ', 2011 1 17 5 0 23 ',   ,4" I " 1 , rce'. n De#artment of at l I  1 L i i i m M i i i n u i m i i nl i m n i i mm in i in u i a i m i i i m if i  i ms i ulm mmu ii i Eagles From page 14 golden eagles live in the area." Patton said this year's event will focus on golden eagles, includ- ing opportunities to volunteer for upcoming field work and informa- tion about the first year of the Gold- en Eagle Nest Monitoring Program in Oregon from Frank Isaacs of the Oregon Eagle Foundation. The Round Butte Overlook Park visitor center, 10 miles west of Madras. will be the starting point for visitors 10a.m. - 4p.m. Satur- day and 10a.m. 3p.m. Sunday. A yurt village will feature ex- hibits, displays, and presentations by regional birds-of-prey experts. Organized eagle viewing sessions will be available both days for visi- tors at the Overlook Park and at lo- cations within The Cove Palisades State Park PGE biologists will provide an update on the status of Lake Billy Chinook's significant bald and golden eagle population and dis- cuss continuing research studies. "'Eagle Watch has something for the whole family," said PGE Park Operations Manager Tony Dentel. 2012 Chalet Takena 2265EX 08 CHEVROLET HHR Panel PW PLAir Greal Delivery Wagon Stock#M0"f9 $9,843 ;17,328 ;17,638 "The Real Deal" ;'RIMASIN6 MOTORS NEW ON LOT PHOTO COMING SOON