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Groups Urge Feds to Stop Ore. Coyote-Hunting Contest

A coyote-hunting contest is taking place Saturday and Sunday in Lake County, Ore. (John Mosesso/U.S. Geological Survey)
A coyote-hunting contest is taking place Saturday and Sunday in Lake County, Ore. (John Mosesso/U.S. Geological Survey)
November 18, 2016

LAKEVIEW, Ore. – Conservation organizations want federal agencies to stop a coyote-hunting contest this weekend in southern Oregon. The contest, called the Lake County Coyote Calling Derby, has raised concerns that gray wolves, which are protected under the Endangered Species Act and confirmed to be in Lake County, could be mistaken for coyotes and killed.

Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer for the Center for Biological Diversity also said killing coyotes will do little to protect livestock, a concern among some ranchers. She said, in fact, when breeding pairs of coyotes are killed off, the opposite result often happens.

"If you kill those animals, you then open up the potential, and it does in fact happen, it's been shown scientifically, that the other coyotes in the area then will breed, and they'll have larger litters than if you hadn't killed off the territorial pair to begin with," she explained.

Six organizations, including the Center for Biological Diversity and the Humane Society of the United States say the contest organizers have not acquired a "special use permit" needed because the contest is expected to take place on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land. A review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would have been required to obtain the permit.

Weiss said contests like these are cruel and inhumane and that they are not unique to Lake County or Oregon. Although many still take place, she said they are harder to find now.

"As these contest hunts have been challenged by our various groups over the last few years, contest sponsors have gotten more and more quiet about how they advertise," she said. "They used to openly advertise them on the internet. It's a little bit harder now to find out if these contests are taking place."

The contest is sponsored by the Lake County chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association and Robinson Heating and Cooling and scheduled to take place this Saturday and Sunday.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR