Read the original article at sportsmensalliance.org here.
Oregon Senate Bill 723, introduced by Sen. Michael Dembrow (D-Portland) and Sen. Jeff Golden (D-Ashland), which bans anyone from participating in a hunting contest, including field trials, has been scheduled for a pair of work-session hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee at 8 a.m. on April 3 and April 8 in room HR C of the Oregon State Capitol. Work sessions are an opportunity for members of the committee to officially adopt amendments or pass a bill out of the committee.
Take Action Today! Oregon sportsmen need to 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.
While sponsors have indicated their real target is coyote contests, SB 723 is so vague and broadly written that it also bans field trials and perhaps even friendly competitions between hunting partners. After intense pressure from the Sportsmen’s Alliance and our Oregon members to kill this terrible bill, an amendment has been offered to tighten the language to specifically ban coyote-hunting contests.
Regardless of the offered amendment, SB 723 sets a bad precedent by politicizing wildlife management and allowing legislators to pick and choose how to manage the state’s wildlife. Wildlife management decisions should be left to the professionals at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and not to legislators.
“SB 723 is a bad bill that needs to be defeated. Even the original sponsor dropped it after learning she didn’t understand the ramifications to wildlife management and sportsmen,” said Luke Houghton, associate state director for the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Wildlife management shouldn’t be conducted by legislators currying favor with urban voters completely removed from the process and repercussions of their uninformed opinions.”
Current language in SB 723 makes it unlawful for any person or organization to participate in, organize or even promote a contest, competition or tournament that has the objective of taking of wildlife for prizes or even entertainment. Violators will face one year of jail time and/or a $6,250 fine.
“It is extremely important that sportsmen and women fight these hunting contest bans,” said Houghton. “Anti-hunters start out with vaguely written bills that essentially ban any sort of contest and then whittle them down to see what will stick. But their end goal is not to regulate or end just one type of hunting. Their goal is to end all hunting.”