Sunday, January 17, 2016

Coyote-hunting foes oppose Harney County massacre of coyotes

Predator Defense calls area 'a powder keg waiting to explode' 
POSTED: January 13, 2016 
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BURNS, Ore. - 
  The third annual Harney County Coyote Classic will take place near Burns and Crane this weekend as planned, despite the ongoing refuge occupation nearby, authorities said Wednesday as they warned residents they might hear hunters' gunshots and see spotlights.
This competition hunt will include at least 150 to 160 people in one-, two- and three-person teams who will be hunting on mostly private land in areas around Burns and Crane, the sheriff's office advised.

They will hunt for 48 hours, from 7 p.m. Friday (Jan. 15) through 6 p.m. Sunday (Jan. 17).

"Throughout the weekend, as the competition is taking place, folks may hear gunshots or see spotlights at night," the sheriff's office said. "We want to reassure you that are part of the lawful coyote hunt." The competition organizers have asked participants to stay off Sodhouse Lane.

Anyone with safety concerns or questions was urged to call 541-573-3162. As the line is not monitored 24 hours a day, "If you feel you are in immediate danger, call 911," the agency said.
But the event -- which has drawn critics before -- has them again, as one group said it's an especially bad thing to do during the refuge occupation.

"As if the siege at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge weren't enough, predator hunters in Harney County are about to inflict further injury on the area's reputation in the form of a coyote-killing contest.," said a Thursday news release from Predator Defense.

"This morally suspect male-bonding event is ecologically indefensible," the group said. "Coyotes are critical to an intact healthy ecosystem, and an important native species in the area. 

"Years of research have shown that indiscriminate killing of adult coyotes actually increases coyote populations. This happens because younger coyotes breed and litter sizes also increase."

"Harney County is a powder keg waiting to explode," said Brooks Fahy, executive director of the national wildlife advocacy organization. "Letting such an event take place is extraordinarily dangerous."

"We urge Harney County Sheriff David Ward to contact the promoters of this killing spree and demand they cancel this event.  We also encourage the public to contact the sheriffs department and share their outrage."

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