Coyote Protection Against “Killing Competitions” Is Being Considered In Oregon

Coyote Protection: A bill to prohibit “killing competitions” for coyotes is now being considered in Oregon. Comments are being accepted on a plan to prevent coyote-killing contests in Oregon. It could take action on the suggestion as soon as this week.

As part of a larger effort to petition the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is at the forefront of the charge. The petition calls for a halt to coyote slaughter competitions across the state.

Coyote Protection Against “Killing Competitions”

Petition to Ban Coyote Killing Contests in Oregon is one of the subjects on the agenda for the Commission’s December meeting this coming Friday.

As stated by HSUS: “A coyote killing contest is a cruel and disgusting event in which contestants compete for cash and awards by seeing who can kill the greatest, largest, or lowest number of coyotes in a given amount of time. In Oregon, during the course of the previous four years, there have been more than ten coyote-killing contests, resulting in the deaths of more than 1,000 animals.

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In the Harney County Classic Coyote, held in southeastern Oregon over the course of two days in January 2021, 272 coyotes were killed by hunters for the chance to earn cash and prizes. Similarly, in January 2020, 252 coyotes were killed in a sweepstake with victors receiving almost $70,000 in cash and gifts.”

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) maintains data on the legal taking of various species of flora and fauna. According to ODFW data, between 326 and 525 “fur takers” have registered to capture coyotes annually over the previous decade.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) clarifies that coyotes are not considered protected animals in the state in its proposed rules announced on June 17, 2022, for Oregon mammals for taking.

Coyote Protection Against Killing Competitions
Coyote Protection Against Killing Competitions

This is what it says: “Badger, coyote, nutria, Virginia opossum, spotted skunk, striped skunk, and weasels are not considered furbearers, but are instead categorized as unprotected animals for the purposes of these furbearer restrictions. On private property, predatory animals like coyotes and nutria are typically considered a nuisance.

During years of high pelt prices, eastern Oregon coyotes are greatly sought after, yet there are no restricted seasons or bag limitations for unprotected species. For animals that aren’t legally protected, the total harvest is usually deemed low and isn’t at levels likely to harm populations. Regulations protecting non-threatened animals will not be altered.”

As of this year, HSUS, “recorded a coyote-killing competition in southeast Oregon in which participants vied for cash and prizes by killing the most number of coyotes. Many studies, including those that were just referenced in Oregon Small Farm News, a publication affiliated with Oregon State University, show that killing coyotes in large numbers has no positive effect on minimizing problems with livestock or pets, or on boosting game species. A rise in both coyote populations and problems with cattle has been linked to the practice of targeted culling.”

In an effort to prevent coyote-killing competitions, HSUS cites the former chair of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. “Killing huge numbers of predators as part of an organized tournament is inconsistent with science-based wildlife management and opposed to the principles of sportsmanship and fair pursuit,” said Mike Finley, a former head of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. Coyote killing contests “diminish the reputation of hunters and women and tarnish Oregon’s outdoor tradition.”

Kelly Peterson, who heads up the Oregon chapter of the Humane Society of the United States, says, “The State of Oregon has the solemn duty to protect the wildlife that is held and managed in the public trust for the benefit and enjoyment of all Oregonians, and to engage in the wanton waste of a native wildlife species as part of a contest is an abdication of this duty. Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife Commission is urged to act promptly and ethically by our group to endorse this proposed legislation.”

The Humane Society of the United States, the Center for Responsible Science, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, Predator Defense, the Oregon Humane Society, Northeast Oregon Ecosystems, Humane Voters Oregon, the National Wolfwatcher Coalition, the Animal Welfare Institute, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, Project Coyote, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust are all signatories to the petition.

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According to a 2019 HSUS poll, the majority of Oregon residents in all five Congressional districts, including those in both urban and rural regions, favor outlawing coyote killing contests. Oregon residents are encouraged to write to the Fish and Wildlife Commission at to voice their approval of a ban on coyote killing contests.

On Friday, December 16, 2022, in Portland, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will deliberate on a petition asking for new regulations to ban coyote hunting contests throughout the state. Either the petition will be denied by the Commission or it will be accepted and rulemaking processes will begin. The Commission says it wants to hear from people about “whether solutions exist for accomplishing the rule’s substantive purposes in a way that avoids the negative economic impact on enterprises.”

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