Take Action Today! Oregon sportsmen should contact their state senator and ask them to vote NO on SB 723. Oregon members can find their state senator by using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Center.
Oregon Sen. Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis) introduced, and then withdrew her support for, Senate Bill 723, which prohibits wildlife competitions, tournaments or derbies. SB 723 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it awaits a hearing.
SB 723, supported by the Humane Society of the United States, would put an end to all hunting contests and any person or organization caught participating in, organizing or even promoting a contest, competition, tournament or derby that has the objective of taking wildlife for prizes or entertainment could face up to 364 days in jail and a $6,250 fine.
Sen. Gelser introduced the bill but upon hearing from sportsmen, withdrew her support in a rare acknowledgment of not understanding the ramifications of such legislation.
“[B]ased on your letter and that of others I realized that I am missing a great deal of information about the hunting and fishing community, predator management, and events and strategies,” reports Oregon Outdoor Council.
“[I]t is clear that this bill is much more broad and spreads into areas about which I lack sufficient information. As a result, I have withdrawn my name from the bill and am no longer a sponsor. I can’t justify being the sponsor of a bill about which I cannot answer all of the questions,” she continued.
While Gelser withdrew support, two new sponsors, Sen. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) and Sen. Jeff Golden (D-Ashland), picked up the mantle of advancing poor legislation that threatens the health and well-being of Oregon ecosystems, ranchers, suburban pets and citizens.
Official and unofficial competitions, such as organized coyote contests, aid in the control of problem wildlife, often predators that threaten livestock and pets, in an intensive, local area, usually where population levels have exceeded healthy parameters.
“This bill is nothing more than the Humane Society of the United States and politicians advancing the agenda of the animal rights’ movement. It’s a tactic HSUS is employing in several other states at the moment, and as they have for several years now,” said Luke Houghton, associate director of state services for Sportsmen’s Alliance.
“While it’s common for HSUS, which is based in Washington, D.C., to saddle a state’s citizens with dangerous policies, it is Sen. Dembrow and Golden’s responsibility to reject that dogma in the name of public safety,” continued Houghton. “For a politician to remove privately funded incentives offered to sportsmen for engaging in wildlife management is ludicrous.”
Indeed, coyotes are more than plentiful throughout Oregon, which has no closed season, no bag limit and doesn’t require any special permit, while also allowing the use of moving decoys, suppressors and night hunting as means of increasing participation and harvest of the canines.
As predators, overpopulated coyotes threaten public safety. Children and pets are especially at risk, and in the last couple of months, both have been victims of attacks. Two children were attacked by coyotes in southwest Portland – the state’s largest metropolitan area – in October and November. In Lake Oswego, a Portland suburb, a coyote entered a backyard and killed two Chihuahuas in August.
“HSUS has already perverted wildlife management in Oregon and neighboring Washington when they bankrolled ballot initiatives that banned the use of hounds for mountain lion hunting,” said Houghton. “And the country has seen the result: the states have been burdened with increased conflict calls and their associated costs, and let’s not forget the adult hiker and mountain bikers who were attacked by mountain lions and killed this summer.”
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.