Legislators in Oregon presented a Bill this week that could essentially make tournament fishing of any kind illegal. Senate Bill 723 is related to the unlawful taking of wildlife and prohibits persons from organizing, sponsoring, promoting, conducting or participating in contests, competitions, tournaments or derbies that have the objective of taking wildlife for prizes or other inducement or for entertainment. The bill was introduced by Senators Sara Gelser, Senator Michael Dembrow, and Senator Jeff Golden. It is a direct response to a Humane Society investigation into contest sponsored by the Oregon Farm Bureau were participants hunt coyotes in a tournament competition. Hunters are awarded prizes based on the total weight of their harvest. There has been no revenue impact study done on the bill as of yet, but law makers say they have overwhelming support for the bill. Oregon defines wildlife to exclude fish, however the bill itself did not exclude fish in the interpretation nor has any one in the Legislature come forward to rule out tournament fishing as being included in this bill. The bill also says the “taking” of wildlife which also leaves the language in this bill open to interpretation.
Fisherman in Oregon if they can ban your right to enjoy the outdoors then what is next? You guys better get on that phone!