Coyote contests bans have been popular across the United States this year. New Mexico passed a ban in April. Nevada tried to pass a ban with penalties equal to manslaughter, but it died in the Senate. Oregon has also introduced a coyote contest ban in the form of Senate Bill 723. That bill passed the Oregon Senate last week by a vote of 17-12.
The bill states it would “[Prohibit] person from organizing, sponsoring, promoting, conducting or participating in contest, competition, tournament or derby that has objective of taking wildlife for prizes or other inducement or for entertainment.” It goes on to say that those involved in a contest could face up to 364 days in jail and $6,250 fine. The full bill can be read here.
“The urban communities feel like the rural communities aren’t fit to make these decisions themselves,” said Sen. Dallas Heard, R-Roseburg. “If you respect another group’s culture, you don’t take action like this.” The bill was largely opposed by rural representatives who said the coyotes are pests that ranchers and farmers were handling the best they could.
“The farmers and ranchers can’t afford to pay any more, so they’re trying to organize some way to save money,” said Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas.
Senators who supported the bill say this has nothing to do with hunting, and everything to do with responsible stewardship. Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Chair Michael Finley wrote a letter stating he supported the bill. “It is well known that coyotes are a highly adaptive species that respond to efforts to exterminate them by increasing their rates of reproduction,” Finely wrote. Supporters say population control should not be a “barbaric” slaughter. Instead, it should be a “careful and selective” process.
The bill will now move onto the House for consideration.
Do you support coyote calling contests?