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. 

Hounding

  • It is a cruel, unfair, and violent way to "hunt."

  • Packs of radio collared hounds are let loose to pursue coyotes, bears, bobcats and other wild animals. The hounds' owners are often miles away in their trucks. They have no control over their marauding animals.

  • Hounds are allowed to maul the cornered, injured wild animal as a reward. The hounds themselves sustain injuries.

  • The hounds violate landowner rights and cause conflicts with landowners.

  • Hounds present a danger to people and their pets as evidenced in October 2019 when bear hounds attacked a couple and their dog who were hiking VT public land.

  • The hound training season starts on June 1st for most species and runs right through September. This causes mother animals to be separated from their young and places young animals in danger of being killed. 

 

 

Bear hounding

  • Hounding orphans cubs; those under a year old will likely die from slow starvation and predation. Hunters frequently fail to check for the presence of dependent young in a nearby tree, which could alert them that they are pursuing a mother bear. Biologists have also found that hunters misidentify the gender of approximately one-third of treed bears. And in some pursuits, hounds confront bears while they are on the ground; in the melee, hunters may not take the time to try to determine the bear’s gender before shooting.

  • Especially during hot weather, pursuit stresses both hounds and bears. Bears who have been chased for a prolonged period can experience severe physical stress due to their thick fur and fat layer, which they build to survive during hibernation. Overheated bears can die and pregnant bears can lose embryos.

  • Altercations with hounds can result in injuries or death to bears, particularly cubs. In turn, hounds mauled by bears can suffer broken bones, punctured lungs or other serious injuries. Hounds may chase bears into roadways, where oncoming vehicles could strike either animal. Hounds are frequently dumped at municipal animal shelters or left in the woods if they do not perform adequately.

  • Because hounds track bears across large spaces, they invariably pursue and stress non-target animals including deer, moose, small mammals and birds.

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PO Box 3024 

Stowe, VT 05672

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