If killing defenseless animals for prizes sounds like fun to you, be sure not to miss Minnesota’s upcoming “Save the Birds” Coyote Hunting Tournament. Cash prizes are awarded for the most coyotes killed, and the largest and smallest killed as well. There aren't many rules, and there's no limit.
Wildlife-killing contests are currently allowed as a form of "charitable gambling" in Minnesota. Many have looked the other way, not wanting to interfere with the seemingly-popular fishing contests and "big buck" deer hunting contests, but it's harder to look away as the bloody carcasses of coyotes accumulate. Coyotes in Minnesota are classified as “unprotected wild animals,” so they're hunted and trapped year-round, with few regulations, no limits, and often no sense. Although the targeted removal of coyotes can be necessary when they cause problems on farms, these coyote-killing competitions aren't any part of that.
These tournaments are disastrous to wildlife, and glorify killing for the sake of killing. Please join me in calling on the Minnesota DNR to ban this bloodsport and prohibit wildlife-killing contests statewide.
Organizers of these events often claim that they are helping to control predator populations, but studies have shown the opposite effect: increased predator reproduction followed by increased attacks on livestock.
Many of these tournaments encourage “junior” participants, saying that it's an opportunity to teach the ethics of sportsmanship to young hunters. But there’s nothing ethical about it. The piles of carcasses at the “finish lines” of these events show that this is not hunting, but thrill-killing on a staggering scale.
These contests are ineffective at best, savage at worst. In areas where predator control is needed, professionally developed “best management practices” are more effective, and more humane.
Other states are heeding the call to ban these contests--last year, California outlawed events that award prizes for killing wildlife. In addition, they've been banned on federal land in Idaho, legal action has halted gambling on them in Oregon, and legislation has been introduced to outlaw them in New Mexico, Nevada, and New York.