A large crowd gathered at the Harney County Courthouse Friday, Jan. 17, to attend a circuit court hearing regarding the Eighth Annual JMK Coyote Hunt scheduled for Jan. 18 and 19 in Crane. Harney County resident Louann Thompson, along with wildlife conservation organization Project Coyote and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, filed a lawsuit Thursday, Jan. 16, requesting a temporary restraining order to stop the contest.
The plaintiffs stated that fear stemming from the hunt would prevent Thompson from enjoying the outdoors that weekend and that the event, which was to feature a Calcutta and $100 per person entry fee, would violate state gambling laws. Every available seat in the courtroom was occupied Jan. 17 (and spectators spilled into the hallway) when Judge William Cramer Jr. stated that, because he was not convinced that irreparable harm would occur if the contest continued, he would not be issuing the requested restraining order.
Cramer made it clear that the crowd was not a factor in his decision. A status hearing is set for March 21 at 8:30 a.m.