Over the last two weeks NAGA has alerted gamebird businesses about a threat to Oregon producers and hunting preserves from two pieces of legislation. While things in Oregon are heading in the right direction, it has now become clear that this is part of a larger attack on field trials and contests that has spread to other states.
First, the latest news in Oregon is good for NAGA members. Senate Bill 439, which would basically eliminate gamebird preserves by prohibiting anyone from penning gamebirds is essentially dead. The sponsor of the bill, Senator Brian Boquist has withdrawn his name from the bill, which prevents it from advancing.
Oregon Senate Bill 723, which would ban any event where wildlife is killed for entertainment or prizes, remains alive. The sponsors of the bill claim to be after coyote killing contests. However, the current bill would also ban bird dog field trials. In addition to gamebird businesses, Oregon legislators have been flooded by sporting dog groups and field trailers objecting to the bill. To address the opposition, the sponsor is proposing an amendment to focus the bill exclusively on events featuring coyotes. The amendment has not been adopted yet, but it would eliminate the threat to bird dog field trials and therefore gamebird businesses who sell to field trials.
Overall, Senate Bill 723 is part of a larger pattern from anti-hunting groups:
In Wisconsin, Senate Bill 30 would ban field trials as well, using similar language as the original Oregon bill. Fortunately, SB 30 remains penned up in a committee and is unlikely to be heard. New York’s Assembly Bill 722 is worded in the same fashion. Both bills would eliminate bird dog field trials. The New York bill is not dead or bottled up and remains a threat.
A more focused bill in New Mexico would eliminate coyote killing contests or any competition involving coyotes for either entertainment or prize. Like all of the bills referenced here, this bill would eliminate mounted coyote hunts, which are similar to fox hunts, and field trials involving hounds that chase coyotes. However, it would not impact bird dog field trials. Unfortunately, New Mexico Senate Bill 76 has a good chance of passing, and sportsmen’s groups there are working together to defeat it. The bill has already passed the Senate and is in a committee in the House. There are twelve days of session remaining for the bill to become law.
Over the last 40 years, the animal rights lobby has operated in similar trends, pursuing legislation on one subject in multiple states. Past attacks have centered on trapping, bowhunting, hunting with hounds, youth hunting, livestock confinement and dog breeding. These field trial and coyote contest bills signal the likelihood of a developing trend focusing on field trials and specifically coyotes that will need to be monitored and addressed by NAGA. Even the coyote focused bills should be of concern to gamebird businesses. Attacking competitions involving coyotes is just a hair from all field trials, and even events like fishing derbies or bass fishing tournaments.
Fortunately, NAGA has an ally in the Sportsmen’s Alliance, which has been coordinating with other groups to organize and unite sportsmen and women affected by these bills. NAGA has been communicating with the Alliance on an ongoing basis and relaying the information to members that will provide the best opportunity to kill these bills.
Gamebird businesses and NAGA members in Oregon, New Mexico, New York and Wisconsin are encouraged to contact their legislators and ask for NO votes on the four bills reported on in this article. NAGA members can locate their state legislators using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Center, which will provide contact information for legislators in each state.
Please send any feedback or questions on these bills to firstname.lastname@example.org.