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Sherwood resident demands an immediate ban on all 'wildlife killing contests' in Oregon

To the editor:

I live on acreage in rural Sherwood, with horses.

Wildlife killing contests (like one held in November in Burns) offer rewards to participants who shoot indiscriminately hundreds of animals — usually coyotes, but also foxes, bobcats, rabbits and other species — be they vital alfa males or nursing mothers.

Whoever has killed the largest animal and/or (reaps) the most pounds of flesh, wins prizes or cash. An investigation has shown that some participants joke about how they lure animals to their death and laugh while posing with rows of the animals strung up by their hind legs. These mass killings defy basic practices of stewardship and "fair chase" by having so many people killing a species in one area during one period of time (usually a weekend). Innocent animals can hardly hide. Protected wolves could easily be mistaken for the intended target. Extreme depletion of a species has detrimental habitat effects and has been proven, over time, to increase not decrease species population. Disrupting the social structure of a species and sudden population depletion stimulates increased breeding. The alfa pair is naturally the single breeding pair, but if these vital animals are killed off for entertainment, the young, inexperienced animals breed and breeding overall increases.

Delicate and balanced ecosystems are damaged. Coyotes keep in check rodent populations and other smaller carnivores, resulting in reduced small predator populations, which thusly protects ground nesting birds, for example. Banning killing contests does not stop a rancher from shooting a coyote. It stops damaging, inhumane, massive slaughtering of wildlife.  Oregon is better than this. Please contact your state representative and senator. Ask them to support the proposed ban on wildlife killing contests in Oregon, as other states have done. In Oregon, no killing should be a game.

Jane Bicquette, Sherwood

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