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Should Minnesota adopt California hunting-contest regs?

posted Mar 3, 2016, 11:42 AM by Scott Slocum   [ updated Oct 17, 2017, 10:32 PM ]

California is the first State in the U.S. to significantly regulate wildlife-killing contests (WKC). In California, in the 1980s, a $499 limit was put on prizes for contests targeting "game" animals; and in 2014, prizes in contests targeting "furbearers" or "nongame animals" were prohibited.

It should be noted that at least one California contest seems to have continued even after the California ban on hunting-contest prizes. Maybe that was just temporary the first year, out of stubbornness. But maybe some contests would go on, even without hunting-contest prizes? In 2015, the contest referred to above continued with a random drawing for door prizes, which was apparently still considered separate from the hunting contest, and which was apparently still allowed. That's a loophole that should be considered, and probably closed.

Minnesota could adopt regulations like this. They wouldn't be exactly the same, because wildlife are categorized slightly differently in Minnesota; but the regulations regarding "game" and "nongame" animals could be adopted directly from the California model. For example, Minnesota could put a $499 limit on prizes for a "big buck" contest, but prohibit prizes in all coyote-hunting contests. Or put a different variation on it.

What do you think Petition signers, MN voters, MN DNR, MN Governor's Office, and MN Legislature?


Here's a summary of the California regulations:

  • "Except as specified in subdivisions (b), (c), and (d), it is unlawful to offer any prize or other inducement as a reward for the taking of any game birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, or amphibians in an individual contest, tournament, or derby."
  • b: CA DFW may issue permits for game fish tournaments. 
  • c: frog-jumping contests and fish contests in the Pacific Ocean are allowed. 
  • d: contests with total prizes less than $500 are allowed
  • Section 3950, item (a) categorizes the following animals as "game mammals": deer, elk, prong-horned antelope, wild pigs, black and brown or cinnamon bears, jackrabbits and varying hares, cottontails, brush rabbits, pygmy rabbits, and tree squirrels.
  • CCR Subdivision 2, Chapter 5, Section 465: "... (b) Pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 2003, it is unlawful to offer any prize or other inducement as a reward for the taking of furbearers in an individual contest, tournament, or derby."
  • CCR Subdivision 2, Chapter 6, Section 472: "...(e) Pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 2003, it is unlawful to offer any prize or other inducement as a reward for the taking of nongame mammals in an individual contest, tournament, or derby."
  • CCR Subdivision 2, Chapter 5 categorizes the following animals as "furbearers": Fisher, Marten, River Otter, Desert Kit Fox, Red Fox, Badger, Gray Fox, Muskrat, Mink, Beaver, Raccoon.
  • CCR Subdivision 2, Chapter 6 lists some of the animals that are categorized as "nongame animals," including the following: english sparrow, starling, coyote, weasel, skunk, opossum, moles and rodents (excluding tree and flying squirrels, and those listed as furbearers, endangered or threatened species). This is a "catch-all" category that includes any animal that's not listed in another category.


California Dept. of Fish & Game: Mammal Hunting Regulations. Website snapshot.

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Scott Slocum,
Mar 9, 2016, 2:43 PM