Several last-minute legal challenges could not stop a coyote hunting contest from taking place this weekend in Eastern Oregon.
Participants of the JMK Coyote Hunting Contest pay an entry fee. Winners receive cash prizes. The Animal Legal Defense Fund said the contest violates state gambling laws. It asked a judge to issue a temporary restraining order. But Friday, a Harney County judge rejected the emergency request, saying the lawsuit filed Thursday did not give the defendant enough time to respond. Eugene-based Predator Defense and the Humane Society of the United States did get the hunt restricted to private property. Scott Beckstead is the Oregon Senior State Director for the Humane Society.
Beckstead: "This is a contest that is won by the highest body count and it awards prizes for whoever goes out and slaughters the most coyotes."
Contest organizer, Duane Freilino, says it will begin and end on private property, but he can't control where the hunters go. He says the event was launched 8 years ago to boost winter tourism and help ranchers by reducing the number of coyotes. Last year, about 150 of the animals were killed.