Hunting with Hounds or Hounding

In Vermont it is legal to use hounds to hunt bobcats, foxes, bears, coyotes, raccoons and other animals. Hounding involves hunters and guides using packs of powerful, radio-collared hounds to pursue wildlife until the exhausted, frightened wild animal seeks refuge in a tree –  if they are able to climb – or turns to fight the hounds. Once the animal is treed, s/he is an easy target for the "hunter." Animals like coyotes and foxes who are unable to climb, are chased to exhaustion until the cornered animal is ultimately descended upon by the hounds. See photos that were posted by one Vermont coyote hound hunter {warning: they are graphic.} This cruel activity is nothing less than legalized animal fighting and is endorsed by Vermont Fish & Wildlife.

Hounding is not only an obvious danger to the targeted animals, but the hounds also chase, injure, and in some cases, kill non-targeted wildlife including fawns and moose calves. 

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The "hunters" have no control over their marauding dogs and are often miles away in their trucks with their GPS devices. You can read more about this in VTDIGGER  here.  Hounding results in injuries or death to not only the wild animal, but to the hounds themselves. Most people, including many sportsmen, feel that hounding is unethical and not “fair chase” hunting as it gives too much advantage to the hunter. Multiple armed hunters and six powerful hounds against one wild animal-–hardly a fair pursuit.

 

While there are official hunting seasons that include the use of hounds for these animals (except for coyotes where there's an open season), the hound "training" season occurs during times of the year when wildlife are birthing or nursing their young. Hounding is not only an obvious danger to the targeted animals, but the hounds also chase, injure, and in some cases, kill non-targeted wildlife including fawns and moose calves. 

Since the hounders are often miles away in their trucks tracking the hounds on handheld GPS devices, they have no control over their animals.

The hound "training" seasons are as follows:

  • Bear:  Permit Required — June 1 to September 15, sunrise to sunset 

  • Raccoon:  June 1 through the day before the opening day of raccoon hunting season, any time of day or night

  • Fox and Bobcat:  June 1 to March 15, except during regular deer season. Keep in mind that bobcats birth their young early June!

 

Hounding violates Vermonters' constitutional right to protect their property. Frenzied hounds cannot read "POSTED" signs and therefore place people and their pets, livestock and property at risk. See news clip here where hounds in pursuit of an injured coyote damaged property in Craftsbury and here.  Since the hounders are often miles away in their trucks tracking the hounds on handheld GPS devices, they have no control over their animals. In October 2019, a bear hound in pursuit of a bear attacked an older couple that were hiking and their puppy. You can read more about that here. 

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