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April 25, 2011

California Voters Overwhelmingly Oppose Proposed Bear Hunting Expansion

New poll results indicate more than 80 percent of voters prefer managing bears with non-lethal methods

SACRAMENTO – A statewide survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc. has revealed that three in four, or 74 percent, of California voters oppose expansion of black bear hunting while only 17 percent support it. The survey results were consistent in every geographic region of the state and in every political and gender demographic, with all regions and political affiliations represented.

The poll comes in the run-up to the California Fish and Game Commission vote on whether to increase the statewide annual bear hunting quota by nearly 20 percent – from 1,700 bears to 2,000 bears per year. The HSUS submitted formal comments opposing the proposal, along with expert opinion questioning the legality and scientific foundations upon which the Department of Fish and Game proposal is based. The Commission will vote at its May 4-5 meeting in Ontario.

“This poll demonstrates convincingly that Californians oppose expanding bear hunting in the Golden state,” said Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director for The HSUS. “Current bear hunting practices, especially the inhumane and unsportsmanlike use of dogs to chase and kill bears, are out of step with most Californians’ sentiments toward these charismatic, iconic animals.”

California is one of only 18 states that permit the pursuit of bears with packs of dogs. The poll reveals that 83 percent of California voters oppose allowing packs of dogs to chase and kill bears – with 75 percent of voters saying they would support a statewide ballot measure to end this trophy hunting method that puts bears, dogs and other wildlife in jeopardy of serious harm, suffering and death.

Despite an increase in media coverage of bears showing up in human population areas, like the Lake Tahoe area, Californians voters say the state should prioritize non-lethal methods – like education, abatement, and avoidance – to resolve human conflicts with bears, by a margin of nearly 6 to 1.

The survey of 800 California voters was conducted statewide from April 14 through April 17, 2011. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percent. The questions and results are below.

QUESTION: The state of California recently announced plans to increase bear hunting with the expectation that hundreds of additional bears will be killed annually. Do you support or oppose the expanded hunting of black bears in California?

 

STATE

MEN

WOMEN

DEMS

REPS

IND

SO CAL

SF BAY

REST

SUPPORT

17%

24%

11%

12%

20%

23%

17%

11%

20%

OPPOSE

74%

65%

83%

81%

69%

67%

76%

80%

68%

UNDECIDED

9%

11%

6%

7%

11%

10%

7%

9%

12%

QUESTION: Some trophy hunters use packs of dogs to chase bears until they climb a tree, or until the dogs catch them on the ground. The dogs can be injured or killed during the hunt. Other wildlife is also killed by dogs that run loose in the woods during a bear hunt. Do you support or oppose permitting the use of packs of dogs to chase and kill bears?

 

STATE

MEN

WOMEN

DEMS

REPS

IND

SO CAL

SF BAY

REST

SUPPORT

14%

19%

9%

9%

18%

18%

14%

8%

17%

OPPOSE

83%

76%

89%

89%

77%

80%

83%

89%

79%

UNDECIDED

3%

5%

2%

2%

5%

2%

3%

3%

4%

QUESTION: California is one of only 18 states that permit the trophy hunting of bears with packs of dogs.  Would you support or oppose a ballot measure to prohibit the use of dogs to hunt bears? 

 

STATE

MEN

WOMEN

DEMS

REPS

IND

SO CAL

SF BAY

REST

SUPPORT

75%

65%

85%

83%

67%

70%

75%

84%

70%

OPPOSE

14%

20%

8%

11%

15%

19%

12%

9%

20%

UNDECIDED

11%

15%

7%

6%

18%

11%

13%

7%

10%

QUESTION:  Bears sometimes come into conflict with people. The vast majority of these reported conflicts are nuisance complaints about garbage cans, bird feeders and simple sightings of bears near urban areas. Many states successfully manage bear populations and reduce conflict through non-lethal measures such as public education, trash management, and game officials using rubber pellets and loud noises to frighten bears away, instead of killing them. 

Do you support or oppose California placing priority on policies that promote non-lethal methods to reduce conflicts between bears and people? 

 

STATE

MEN

WOMEN

DEMS

REPS

IND

SO CAL

SF BAY

REST

SUPPORT

81%

75%

86%

87%

75%

78%

82%

85%

77%

OPPOSE

14%

19%

10%

9%

21%

14%

15%

12%

14%

UNDECIDED

5%

6%

4%

4%

4%

8%

3%

3%

9%

-30-

Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching "HumaneTV" in the App Store. 

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org

 

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