A bill outlawing coyote-killing contests has made its way back to the Oregon Legislature.

Oregonians can hunt coyotes year-round, and current regulations do not limit the number of coyotes hunters can kill.

Rep. Mark Owens, R-Crane, said coyotes are predators that affect the livelihood of ranchers. He said the hunting contests are one way to keep the populations down. Owens said, in the past, the state has put bounties on coyotes.

Owens said doing away with coyote derbies takes away an economic opportunity for the communities in his district. When a coyote-hunting contest comes to Burns, he said some restaurants, bars and hotels make just as much money as they would during the biggest weekend of the year at the fair and rodeo.

Owens said the bill’s chief sponsor, Brad Witt, D-Clatskanie, has a “passion” to get the legislation through and said incentivizing coyote hunts is “immoral.”

Owens said he has sat down with Witt a couple of times and told him that he thinks he is wrong.

Owens said it would “take a lot” to stop the bill from going through.

“We’re not going to get it stopped,” Owens said.

Owens said this is another example of the west side of the state attempting to legislate on rural matters they are unfamiliar with.

“It’s wrong that we allow people with a different moral view of subjects in rural communities to pass laws against them,” he said. “It seems like a majority of Oregon, over the last decade, have passed laws that allow for more custom and culture, and personal choices to be acceptable.”

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Steven Mitchell is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at steven@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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