BEND — (Information from ODFW) The Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to prohibit contests for the hunting of coyotes and other unprotected mammals.
The vote, a five to one abstention, took place at its meeting in Bend on Friday, September 15.
The rules put in place establish a definition for contests and make it unlawful to organize, sponsor, conduct or participate in a contest that has the objective of killing unprotected mammals native to Oregon, the Commission said.
While the commission has the power to regulate the hunting of unprotected mammals, state statutes adopted by the Oregon State Legislature classify coyotes and some other unprotected mammals as predatory animals when they are causing agricultural damage on private land.
The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife defines predatory animals as “coyotes, rabbits, rodents, feral swine, Starling, House sparrows, and Eurasian Collared Doves which are or may be destructive to agricultural crops, products and activities”.
Under state statute, the Fish and Wildlife Commission does not have the authority to regulate the hunting of predatory animals. Statutes state, “the commission shall not prescribe limitations on the times, places, or amounts for the taking of predatory animals” and “nothing in the wildlife laws is intended to deny the right of any person to control predatory animals”.
Chair of the Fish and Wildlife Commission Mary Wahl acknowledged the Commission does not have the regulatory power to ban contests in all situations, but described the new rules as “a step we can take that is within our authority.”
Coyotes and other unprotected animals can only be hunted when fitting the definition of predator.
The Commission first considered prohibiting the contests back in December when they denied a petition while directing ODFW staff to develop rules to stop coyote hunting contests in a way that is consistent with their authority.