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Letters, Jan. 23

Ban killing contests

Oregon has been host to wildlife killing contests in recent years, including the Young Farmers & Ranchers Coyote Hunting Tournament in Burns, the Annual Lake County Coyote Calling Derby in Lakeview, the Harney County Coyote Classic, and the JMK Coyote Hunt.

In wildlife killing contests, participants vie for cash and prizes for killing the heaviest or largest coyotes, foxes, bobcats and many other species. They flout hunting ethics by slaughtering wildlife simply for bragging rights, and send the dangerous message to Oregon’s youth that hunting is just about killing for “fun” and prizes. Hardly a glowing representation of our state’s outdoors tradition of sportsmanship and respect for nature.

The random killing of vital native carnivores like coyotes is also an affront to the principles of modern, science-based wildlife management. It doesn’t reduce coyote populations (and can even lead to more coyote numbers by creating instability and chaos in family structures leading to an increase in reproduction), it does not protect farm animals or pets, and it doesn’t increase numbers of game species like deer.

It’s time for Oregon to end these gruesome, unsporting contests. Call your state lawmakers and urge them to support legislation to ban wildlife killing contests.

Lin Bernhardt


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