Oregon Bans Coyote Hunting Contests on Public Lands

Contests still allowed on private lands after contentious public meetings.

Oregon Bans Coyote Hunting Contests on Public Lands

Photo: Ray_Shrewsberry

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted five to one abstention to prohibit contests for the taking of coyotes and other unprotected mammals. The decision, in September, came after hearing testimony from more than 40 people at the Commission’s meeting in Bend. The decision affects state lands but does not prohibit the contests on private lands.

The new rules are in line with the Commission’s regulatory authority. They 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 has the authority to regulate the take of unprotected mammals. But 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. Predatory animals are defined in statute and do not include carnivores such as bears, cougars and wolves, which are classified as game mammals.

Under state statute, the Fish and Wildlife Commission does not have the authority to regulate the take of predatory animals. Statutes state, “The Commission shall not prescribe limitations on the times, places or amounts for the taking of predatory animal” (ORS 496.162) and “nothing in the wildlife laws is intended to deny the right of any person to control predatory animals” (ORS 610.060). Another statute, ORS 610.105, also recognizes that landowners or their agents can control predatory animals on their property.

The Commission first considered prohibiting these contests in December 2022. Then, they denied a petition while directing ODFW staff to develop rules to stop coyote killing contests in a way that is consistent with its regulatory authority.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.