Last year, we joined a coalition of 15 state and national organizations in filing a petition with the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to prohibit coyote-killing contests in which participants compete to kill as many coyotes as possible for cash and prizes.
While the Commission denied the proposal due to questions on some finer points of the language, the Commission acknowledged the thousands of comments that came in from Oregonians across the state in support of the petition - the most they’ve received on a single issue, ever! The Commission also expressed overwhelming opposition to cruel and wasteful wildlife killing contests and voted 6-1 to direct the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) staff to develop administrative rules to ban wildlife killing contests to the extent of its authority.
ODFW has worked over the past several months, in consultation with its legal counsel, to draft proposed rules that it believes fit within its legal authority. Specifically, the proposed rules would ban killing contests that target any mammal not otherwise protected by the wildlife laws, subject only to a law allowing landowners to control "predatory" animals on their own property. That should result in a complete ban on wildlife killing contests on public land and significant restrictions, at least, on private land. (We will work with other groups to help close any loopholes and ensure that the new rules are enforced to the fullest extent possible on both public and private land.)
The Fish and Wildlife Commission will vote on the proposed administrative rules at its meeting Friday, September 15. There is already a hefty campaign being waged in opposition from ranching interests, contest participants, and others. So please continue to fight to protect Oregon’s wildlife by sending an email to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission at ODFW.COMMISSION@ODFW.OREGON.GOV urging the Commission to adopt ODFW’s proposed administrative rules to prohibit wildlife killing contests in Oregon.
Send in your comments no later than Friday, September 8, to ensure the Commission sees them before the vote. It's best to use your own words, but here are somes suggested talking points:
Wildlife killing contests, which are counter-productive to science-based wildlife management principles, offer cash prizes and/or guns for the winner who kills the most, the largest, or the smallest animals over one or two days. Participants lure coyotes and other wildlife in for an easy kill using high-tech electronic calling devices that mimic the sounds of prey or even pups in distress.
Oregon's wildlife belongs to all its citizens and allowing a small group of individuals to engage in wanton waste of a wildlife species as part of a contest is an abdication of the state’s solemn duty to protect the public’s wildlife, which are held and managed for the benefit and enjoyment of all Oregonians.
A 2019 poll by the respected, bipartisan Remington Research Group found that a strong majority of Oregonians, in all of the state’s congressional districts, support public policy to ban wildlife killing contests.
Science does not support indiscriminate, largescale, mass killing of coyotes as an effective means of reducing coyote populations, minimizing conflicts with pets or livestock, or increasing numbers of game species. It can even lead to an increase in coyote numbers by disrupting stable family packs and increasing their rate of reproduction.
Eight states, including five in the west—Washington, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado—as well as Maryland, Vermont and Massachusetts have banned wildlife killing contests, primarily through their state wildlife commissions.
Wildlife killing contests are a violation of the state’s solemn duty to protect wildlife for the benefit of all Oregonians.
Wildlife killing contests are grossly out of step with the principles of fair chase, modern science-based wildlife management, and Oregon’s conservation values.
Wildlife killing contests are cruel and undermine responsible sportsmanship, good stewardship, and respect for the public’s wildlife.
Thank you for helping us advocate for animals in Oregon!