Why it Matters: In recent years, hunting and fishing tournaments have come under fire by “animal rights” organizations who don’t like the idea of animals being taken for a prize or reward. These groups, such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Project Coyote, have been organizing in numerous states against these tournaments, despite the positive impact tournaments have on local economies and the role that sportsmen play in conservation. The debate over these tournaments has drawn increased attention in Oregon and Nevada, since the nearby states of Arizona, California, Colorado, and New Mexico have taken action to prohibit the practice in recent years.
- On September 15, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Commission will once again consider a statewide ban on all coyote calling contests in the state.
- The ODFW Commission rejected a petition submitted last December by Project Coyote and other anti-hunting organizations to ban all coyote calling contests, but then directed agency staff to undertake rulemaking on the issue within the Commission’s statutory authority.
- The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) is opposed to the proposed rulemaking and is encouraging Oregon residents to contact the ODFW Commission to urge their rejection of the petition. Coyote calling contests provide unique opportunities for sportsmen and women, can potentially aid the agency in meeting wildlife management objectives in localized areas, and also provides vital revenue for the state’s rural economies.
On September 15, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission will once again consider a ban on all coyote contests in the state. This debate comes after the Commission rejected a petition last December by Project Coyote and other anti-hunting organizations to ban all contests, but then directed agency staff to begin rulemaking on said “derbies” within their statutory authority. To accomplish this, the proposed rule would define “derby” in the Oregon Administrative Rules as a “manner of take” that is prohibited.
Hunting tournaments, particularly coyote calling contests, are a tradition in Oregon that provide increased opportunities for Oregon’s sportsmen and sportswomen to participate in the great outdoors, while also contributing to effective wildlife management and supporting local economies. Contrary to the misinformed narrative that often circles the topic of hunting contests, parties to these tournaments are not exempted from following the same honorable wildlife laws and regulations as other sporting pursuits – especially regarding methods of take, hunting hours, and rules pertaining to license requirements.
Furthermore, hunting tournaments may be an effective management tool for specific species, such as coyotes, where localized issues of overabundance may result in increased human-wildlife conflicts and attacks. Short term removal mechanisms, such as tournaments, can provide immediate relief to farmers and ranchers by helping reduce livestock losses due to those varmint species. Numerous accounts of conflicts between coyotes, humans, and their pets have been well-documented in the media, and it stands to reason that the frequency of these occurrences are likely to increase if hunting opportunities are limited.
Tournaments also support local economies through increased expenditures and tourism. Increased tourism associated with hunting tournaments provides vital revenue for Oregon’s rural communities, where participants contribute through the purchase of gas, hotel rooms, supplies and gear, and by dining at area restaurants.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation is opposed to the proposed rulemaking and is encouraging Oregon residents to contact the ODFW Commission to voice their opposition to the agency’s consideration of “Derby Prohibition for Taking Unprotected Mammals”. Comments can be submitted until September 15th at 5:00 pm, and the public hearing will be held in person and virtually on September 15th at 8:00 am. Information on submitting comments or testifying at the hearing can be found here.