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Oregon outlaws coyote killing contests

Oregon bans coyote competitions

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Coyote contests could be tabled after the Oregon Senate passed Senate Bill 723 (SB 723) 17 to 12 earlier this week. SB 723 outlaws “coyote hunting contests, competitions, tournaments or derbies for prizes or other inducements,” reports. Hunters who participate in these types of activities would also be required to “forfeit remains of coyotes killed” to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW).

“Nothing in this bill precludes the hunting of coyotes, nor does it create any impediments to farmers and ranchers protecting their livestock from depredation,” said Sen. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland), a sponsor of the bill.

“It simply puts an end to a blood sport – in which prizes are given to those who can produce the greatest number of dead animals, often with premiums given to those who are able to kill the biggest – which many see as deeply antithetical to the values of ethical hunting that this Legislature has fiercely defended for many years.”

Coyote contests—and bounty hunts—have been held in various states as a way to keep the prolific populations under control; however, in Oregon, where a handful of contests have been held recently, that will no longer be the case. Lawmakers became aware of the “blood sport” competitions after a contest was held in 2018 in Harney County; participants competed for prizes and the winner was decided based upon “the cumulative weight of the coyotes’ dead bodies,” according to

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“Oregon’s wildlife is held and managed in the public’s trust and, as such, coyote killing contests violate the spirit and tenets of responsible stewardship, sportsmanship and respect for the public's wildlife,” said Oregon Humane Society Senior State Director Kelly Peterson.

“Motivated by the financial rewards of killing the most or heaviest coyotes, participants are not likely to abide by the rules and values embraced by ethical sportsmen and sportswomen. Therefore, there is a compelling state interest in ending coyote killing contests to prevent animal cruelty, uphold the state’s longstanding hunting tradition of respect for the hunted, and to protect our wildlife from non-science-based, mass killings that are likely to be viewed as barbaric, cruel and wasteful to the majority of Oregonians.”

ODFW does not regulate coyote hunting within the state because they are defined as predatory animals, according to There is no limit on the number of coyotes that can be killed by a single person and they can be killed on private property without a hunting permit (hunters still need permits to hunt them on public land).

“As a state, we should be above promoting blood sports involving any animal,” said Sen. Jeff Golden (D-Rogue Valley), another co-sponsor of the bill. “The sportsmen I know in rural Oregon wouldn’t begin to support slaughtering animals by volume for nothing more than the thrill of the kill and the chance to take home some award for their den wall.”

SB 723 now moves on to the state House for consideration.


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Joseph T. - posted 11 months ago on 06-16-2019 11:38:31 am
Lost River, Idaho

I must completely disagree with Keith K.

Hunters need not hide in the shadows while non-hunters continue to make the rules. Sportsman/Hunters and Outdoorsman need to stand up for our liberties, fight for them, and be MORE in your face. The future generations need to see clearly that men are meat eaters, and skin wearers. We kill, we eat, we skin hides, we sell furs. We trap, we kill some more. That's that men do. If you don't like it then you should hide in the shadows. Not the other way around . Killing animals is normal human behavior, and we need to normalize it in society more and more. It's not the hunters responsibility to carefully practice his skill while not offending others. If what you're doing is moral and righteous there's no hiding that needs to take place. Killing varmints for sport and selling their furs is normal, clean, and decent behavior that's been going on since the beginning of mankind.

Ron O. - posted 1 year ago on 06-06-2019 11:20:38 pm

Take emotion out...Coyote population up or down with the practice of this comp? Is it the practice of it or the result that is in question. Hmmm, fishing derbies, crawdad catching derbies, dove hunting derbies, crab catching derbies, snake hunting derbies, alligator derbies, gar catching derbies, those darn Oregon gators.

Keith K. - posted 1 year ago on 06-06-2019 04:57:02 pm

Killing contests/competitions/derbies for any species should be illegal in all states. If hunting is to survive in the modern world, hunters really need to consider how their behavior and attitudes about hunting in general look to non-hunters. And killing contests look terrible to the general public who mostly are not hunters, and rightfully so. Why would killing contests be ok for a highly intelligent and enigmatic species like the coyote, but not ok for a species like elk?

Drew M. - posted 1 year ago on 06-06-2019 11:41:44 am

Bummer about OR. They did the same thing to us in CA a few years ago. Look out western states as more Californians leave and move into your states the battle will get harder and harder. The writing is already on the wall in CO. High density large population cities will soon be deciding your entire states hunting laws and I honestly have no idea how you can stop it. Give them and inch and they will take you a mile.

Dave G. - posted 1 year ago on 06-06-2019 10:43:54 am
Sacramento, CA

I understand the premise behind this, but I don't like the legislature taking action instead of the Fish and Wildlife agency. If there is a scientific reason for taking away a management tool it should come from ODFW. I have never competed in any contest like this and probably never will, but this will have an impact on the coyote population. This is a similar situation, but not as ridiculous as the Mountain lion hunting ban in CA. You cannot have the North American conservation model working while removing an apex predator from the model. Legislation on wildlife based on emotion is what both of these laws are rooted in. Again I don't even hunt coyotes so no skin in this game, but I don't like emotions driving legislation.