Rep. Sherrie Sprenger: Cougar crisis has easy solution

Lawmaker profile:  Rep. Sherri Sprenger
By Taxpayer Association of Oregon

Rep. Sherry Sprenger is optimistic that her bill to control Oregon’s exploding cougar population by allowing private individuals to hunt cougars with dogs could pass both the House and the Senate during the February session. Rep. Sprenger will also meet today with Governor Kitzhaber to hear and address his concerns with the measure.   The state currently spends taxpayer dollars to hunt cougars with dogs but prohibits private citizens from doing so. According to Sprenger, “Why would we spend taxpayer dollars to hunt cougars when we have individuals lining up for the privilege?”

HB 4119 establishes a pilot program enabling the Department of Fish & Wildlife to issue related hunting tags to private citizens in a given county if that county government determines it has a cougar problem. Sprenger said that the state already has a cougar management plan in place. Her bill simply gives the Department of Fish and Wildlife another common sense tool to succeed in managing Oregon’s cougar population.

Sprenger successfully navigated an identical bill through the House last session, garnering the support of 16 Democrats and 45 total votes. The bipartisan measure died in a Senate committee.
“At the start of this session, I told my constituents that I would introduce the bill again to keep the momentum going—and there is a lot of momentum on this issue—but I didn’t think it would pass. Now, I believe there is a greater chance of it passing through the House and the Senate than I previously thought.”