By Zach Widner, Northwest States Senior Manager
On February 28, the Oregon Senate Committee on Judiciary held a hearing on a bill that, as amended, would ban individuals from participating in, hosting, or sponsoring coyote hunting contests in the state.
The bill, Senate Bill 723, if passed with the proposed amendments, would prohibit any person, company, non-profit, or other entity from “organizing, sponsoring, promoting, conducting, or participating in a contest, competition, tournament or derby in Oregon that has the objective of taking coyotes for prizes or other inducement or for the purpose of entertainment.” The original version of the bill would have banned any type of wildlife contest in the state, even though any such contest is already required to comply with all state hunting and angling regulations.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and many other sportsmen and women have voiced opposition to the bill via comments or in-person testimony. As CSF noted in a letter to the Committee, “Legal and well-regulated hunting and angling keep public fish and wildlife populations healthy, facilitate habitat management and conservation, generate revenue for public agencies and private businesses, and support jobs, and Senate Bill 723 would represent an effort to upend that effective management structure.”
As also noted in CSF’s letter, efforts to limit or eliminate specific forms of hunting and angling in the absence of a documented need from state fish and wildlife managers is in direct contrast with the model of science-based fish and wildlife management that has long been utilized in Oregon and the United States.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?