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Oregon Lawmakers To Vote On Banning Coyote Hunting Contests

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Oregon Senate is set to vote Tuesday on Senate Bill 723, a measure that would ban coyote hunting contests.

Coyotes can be hunted year-round in Oregon, and current regulations do not limit the number of coyotes hunters can kill. The predators are the scourge of ranchers, said Sen. Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario.

“This is not an endangered species," said Bentz. "We have a lot of coyotes.”

Bentz represents a vast swath of eastern Oregon, and he said the hunting contests held each year in his district are an efficient way to reduce the population of the predators. Typically, contestants compete for cash or hunting rifles by killing as many coyotes as possible over a weekend.

Credit Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Supporters of the bill to ban coyote hunting contests say it’s unethical to incentivize killing. Rep. Brad Witt, D-Clatskanie, said the measure would not outlaw hunting coyotes. "But what it does do, it makes killing as a contest--killing of that magnitude, killing for prizes, those things that debase our wildlife, debase fair chase hunting and the value of life, and I would argue, debases our own humanity--that's what it outlaws," he said.

As originally written, Senate Bill 723 would have outlawed hunting contests for any kind of wildlife. The measure was amended to speficially focus on contests involving coyotes.

If approved, the bill would head to the Oregon House for consideration.

Copyright 2019 KLCC

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”