A House lawmaker is leading a renewed effort to stop a Senate measure that would extend a pilot program that allows the hunting of cougars with hounds, but he's facing a hard challenge.
In 1996, voters approved with 63 percent of the vote a statewide initiative banning the use of hounds in cougar-hunting. In 2004, lawmakers created a pilot program allowing such a practice.
The Senate bill would extend the hunting program by another five years. It was approved 37-11 by senators and now awaits a House vote.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife says the use of dogs in tracking and killing cougars makes for better population management because hunters get enough time to identify the sex and age of the cat.
But Democratic Rep. Hans Dunshee of Snohomish says the department's assessment needs to be peer reviewed.