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March 22, 2012

Hounding Fact Sheet

The Humane Society of the United States

Hounding is inhumane and unsporting.

Hounding involves fitting dogs with equipment such as high-tech radio collars and GPS devices that allow the hunter to monitor the dogs' movement remotely. Wildlife typically hunted using packs of hounds include animals such as bears, deer, mountain lions, raccoons, and bobcats. The dogs are released to chase the frightened wild animal for perhaps miles, across all types of terrain and even across private property. The dogs pursue the wild animal to the point of exhaustion until the animal climbs a tree to escape the baying hounds.

Hounding violates traditional hunting ethics and gives all hunting a bad image.

Hunters often profess a strict adherence to rules of fair chase. But there is nothing fair about a pack of trained hounds wearing radio collars running down a wild animal, or shooting exhausted wild animals off tree limbs.

Hound hunters often use packs of more than 20 dogs to pursue bears, cougars, or other wildlife. Bears, for instance, are very poor distance runners and often may tire and be attack by dogs before the pack trees the bear.

Hounding adversely impacts other animals, private property rights and animal shelters.

Hounds also may chase, harass, injure, and kill "non-target" animals like other wildlife, pets, and farm animals. It is not uncommon for the hunt to take an unpredictable course and resulting in the hounds becoming a nuisance on public and private lands.

The life of a hunting dog is seldom idyllic. Viewed more as hunting equipment than a beloved member of the family, hunting dogs may be neglected, living in pens or tethered outdoors. They sometimes receive no exercise or attention when they are not released to pursue wildlife.  Dogs who fail to perform adequately may be abandoned. Hunting dogs can become lost in the chase and are sometimes never recovered.

Many abandoned dogs are taken in to local animal shelters. Shelters can be overburdened with abandoned hunting dogs, particularly in rural areas during and at the end of the hunting season. Hounds are often more difficult and expensive to find homes for. They tend to arrive at shelters in poor condition, covered in ticks and fleas. Some arrive with mange. Many are emaciated or test positive for heartworm.

Hounding "chase-only" seasons: wanton, reckless, and harmful.

Sometimes states allow "chase only" seasons when wildlife may be pursued with dogs, but not killed.  During "chase-only" hunts, the target wildlife may still be killed by packs of dogs or suffer severe injuries while trying to escape.  These seasons often take place in the spring and summer when mothers may become permanently separated from their young, who can perish as a result.

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