As is often the case, animal-rights groups have launched a coordinated push supporting legislation that purportedly seeks to end one method of hunting, but in reality ensnares a plethora of hunting-related activities. Currently, a spate of bills aimed at ending organized hunting competitions are making the round in six states, but many of them are so poorly written that the new laws would threaten field trials for hunting dogs and even hunting where more than one person is present.
While attempts to shut down coyote hunting contests are nothing new, especially in the southwest, the 2019 legislative session has seen the coordinated effort explode nationwide.
Here are some of the bills that have been introduced and where they stand:
Oregon Senate Bill 723: As introduced, this bill would have banned all contests or competitions, even bird dog field trials. It wasn’t until sportsmen voiced opposition that the bill was scaled back to focus entirely on coyotes; we still hope to defeat it completely. SB 723 remains in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
New Mexico Senate Bill 76: This bill would ban coyote contests, or any competition associated with coyotes. It has already passed the New Mexico Senate, and is awaiting a vote before the full House. New Mexico’s session is short, and this bill will likely pass or die this week. Additionally, New Mexico Public Lands Commissioner has already issued an executive order that bans coyote hunting contests on all 9 million acres of State Trust Lands.
Wisconsin Senate Bill 30: This bill was introduced by a senator well known for sponsoring legislation backed by anti-hunting groups. As introduced, SB 30 would ban any type of hunting contest in the state, impacting nearly every field trial and local big-buck contest. SB 30 is pending in the Senate Sporting Heritage, Mining, and Forestry Committee.
New York Assembly Bill 722 and Senate Bill 4253: These bills are so broadly written that they too would impact both coyote contests and field trials. The bills are currently in the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee and Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.
Montana Senate Bill 186: This bill would have made it illegal for anyone to participate in a contest in which coyotes, foxes or wolves were killed. This bill failed to pass committee thanks to sportsmen in the state voicing their opposition.
New Jersey Senate Bill 3541: SB 3541 is another piece of legislation that is also broadly written that it would make it illegal for anyone to participate in any kind of hunting contest, including field trials. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee where it awaits a hearing.
“Much like how their campaign to ban puppy mills impacts high-quality sporting dog kennels, these contest bills are broadly worded on purpose in order to have an impact beyond their stated goals later,” said Bruce Tague, Sportsmen’s Alliance Vice President of Government Affairs. “Anti-hunting groups know that if they can get broad language signed into law, they can attack hunting, fishing and trapping from all angles under the letter and authority of the law down the road.”
The Sportsmen’s Alliance continues to track these bills and the overall this trend, and encourages hunters in the affected states to contact their legislators and ask them to vote NO.
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.