One policy change the new year will ring in the end of an age-old tradition, at least in California. On January 1, a new law goes into effect banning the use of hounds to hunt bears or bobcats. The Humane Society of the U.S. pushed the legislation.
They call using hounds to track and tree bears for hunters a cruel and unethical practice. Of the 32 states which allow bear hunting, 17 of them permit the use of hounds.
Holly Heyser recently went on bear hunt with hounds, one of the last before the law takes effect. She teaches journalism at California State University in Sacramento, and blogs about hunting at the Fair Chase Hunting blog.