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Coyote killing contests are now banned on public lands in Oregon

A Coyote in a field of sagebrush.
Cascadia Wildlands
Coyote killing contests are now banned on public lands in Oregon.

Under a new rule approved Friday, coyote killing contests are now prohibited on public lands in Oregon.

The Fish and Wildlife Commissionvoted to make it unlawful to organize, sponsor, conduct, or participate in a contest that has the objective of killing unprotected mammals native to Oregon.

Josh Laughlin is Executive Director of Cascadia Wildlands, a conservation group in Eugene. He commends the commission vote, calling these contests ruthless and unethical.

“These reckless contests have competitors achieving these incredibly high kill numbers by using night vision, thermal imaging for example,” said Laughlin. “Coyotes are then gunned down, and essentially thrown into piles for photo opps.”

Supporters of the contests say they help control the population of coyotes who they say kill livestock. But, studies show killing coyotes can encourage them to breed more, which can actually lead to more livestock deaths.

There have been several unsuccessful attempts to stop these kinds of contests in the state legislature.

In 2022 the Oregon Fish & Wildlife commission was petitioned to outlaw coyote killing competitions. That was denied, but the commission said it would develop new rules to stop coyote killing contests in a way that’s consistent with their regulatory authority. The new rule, which was approved on a 5-0 with one abstention, only applies to public land in Oregon.

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Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.