SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- The Oregon House has approved a bill that would open the door for some sport hunting of cougars with hounds for the first time since voters banned the practice in 1994.

The House approved the bill Wednesday on a 45-14 vote, sending it to the Senate. The bill would create a pilot program that would return dogs to the woods on cougar hunts, but only in counties whose governing bodies request it.

Republican state Rep. Sherrie Sprenger (SPRING-er) of Scio says an abundance of cougars is threatening people, livestock and other wildlife. She says hunting with dogs is the best way for wildlife managers to control the population.

Opponents say there is no scientific evidence to support the use of hounds in controlling cougar populations.

Copyright 2011 The AP.

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