posted Feb 25, 2016, 1:58 PM by Scott Slocum
updated Jan 31, 2017, 3:20 PM
Update, 1/12/2016, to the Petition to Prohibit Wildlife Killing Contests in Minnesota.
"Killing contests are reckless wildlife management: those who defend the killing sprees by pointing to an increase in coyote populations refuse to acknowledge science which has conclusively shown that killing animals haphazardly like this increases their populations and worsens any problem they may create for livestock. These contests are creating the problem they pretend to be controlling, and are ineffective at best, savage at worst: glorifying killing for the sake of killing. As ALDF has repeatedly shown, nonlethal predator control works, is more effective, and is more humane."
Methods, limits, and seasons of killing are wide open for animals such as coyotes, classified in MN as "unprotected wild animals" and in other States with a similar lack of protection from abuse. In a wildlife-killing competition, those exceptions from the game & fish regulations are likely to be exploited: hunting over bait or electronic calls, under spotlights or thermographic rifle scopes, using other radio equipment, etc.; trapping without ID tags; killing gravid or lactating females; and killing as many as possible.
See also the discussion of "wanton waste," below. Although it came up in connection with a Lackawanna, NY rabbit derby, it's of concern either legally or ethically in most wildlife-killing contests, especially those that award prizes based upon carcass weight. In other words, if the carcasses that are brought in for wildlife-killing contests aren't prepared and cared for in the way that carcasses are generally prepared for meat and fur, then they're probably going to be wasted. For example, a pile of coyote carcasses tossed in a trailer will probably be wasted. Each State has different rules against waste, and each hunter abides by higher or lower ethical standards; but waste is generally frowned upon by ethical sportsmen.
Solutions Proposed (Please Sign!)
- Petition: Prohibit Wildlife Killing Contests in Arizona.
- Petition: No More Wildlife Killing Contests in Arizona. This petition was closed with 8,576 signatures..
- Petition: Stop the Huachuca Gould's Chapter Predator Hunt Fundraiser. This petition was closed with 1,659 signatures.
- Sample contest: Huachuca Gould's Chapter Predator Population Control Hunt, Elgin, AZ, 1/30/2016 - 1/31/2016
- Sample contest: Tucson Mule Deer Foundation Varmint Roundup, Tucson, AZ, 1/23/2016. Postponed 1/15/2016.
- One of this year's rules: no live-animal decoys. Yes, contestants would be staking-out animals to be attacked, if not for this rule. New rule this year?
- Another variation on the rule (just to make sure the ASPCA isn't all over them): no live-dog decoys. Yes, contestants would be staking-out their dogs!
- Points: coyote 5 points, fox 7, bobcat 10, mountain lion 35.
- First prize: $1000 (or prorated if less than 100 participants).
- Update 1/15/2016: "partner" logos have been pulled from the website, and the Varmint Roundup has been "postponed."
- This Petition to Prohibit Wildlife Killing Contests (and the information campaign behind it) were successful!
- Result: on 12/3/2014 California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Sections 465 and 472 were revised to prohibit killing contests targeting "furbearers" or "nongame animals," respectively (for example, in California, three types of fox are classified as "furbearers," and coyotes are classified as "nongame animals"). This added to the existing (mid-1980s) prohibition of killing contests targeting "game" animals in California Fish and Game Code, Section 2003: "Except as specified... 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."
- Sample contest: Big Valley Coyote Drive, Adin, CA, 2/7/2014.
- Sample contest: Python Challenge.
- Critique of the inhumane method of killing by decapitation. Although this method is ill-advised, it's still allowed as part of the Python Challenge "euthanasia protocol." Although the protocol adds (after a long narrative about stunning and decapitation) that the full procedure would be titled "stunning followed by decapitation, followed by brain destruction" it still lists the procedure under the category of "Decapitating the Python," and it still only mentions the required final step as if it's an extra measure that's mentioned only to satisfy the animal-protection people. It's not an extra step: it's what's required to humanely kill a snake (otherwise, "the brain of a python can remain active for up to an hour after decapitation").
- Although certain federal lands in Idaho have been declared out of bounds, wildlife-killing contests continue on other lands of the State of Idaho.
- This Petition to ban predator-hunting derbies on federal lands was successful!
- Sample contest: Idaho for Wildlife's Predator Hunting Contest, Salmon, ID, 1/1/2015. (titled "Coyote & Wolf Derby" in previous years.)
- Narrative of this contest by an embedded journalist: How to Kill a Wolf, by Christopher Ketcham, VICE, 3/13/2014.
- Wildlife News article about this contest: With Lawsuit Pending, Feds Cancel Idaho Predator-killing Derby. The lawsuit was prepared by the Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, Project Coyote, and Defenders of Wildlife.
- Sample contest: Coyote Craze Classic, Mitchell, NE, 12/11/2015 - 12/13/2015.
- 173 coyotes checked in by 33 teams!
- Coyote Calling Champions of the Universe crowned!
- $20,000 in cash and prizes awarded!
- Thanks sponsors, teams, and sales reps!
- Petition to Ban Wildlife-Killing Contests in New York State. Please sign online.
- Petition to Stop the "Squirrel Slam" in Holley, NY. Please sign online.
- Write to NY DEC Commissioner
- Write to your NY State Senator and Assembly Member to support 2015 bills S. 2634 / A. 3855 to prohibit contests and competitions to take wildlife.
- This statewide Petition was delivered with 34.957 signatures!
- Sample contest: Hunter Fuz's 2016 Predator Harvest Contest, Albany, NY, 1/22/2016.
- Prize for heaviest coyote: 33% of prize pool, plus trophy.
- Additional payouts: $100 each for heaviest bobcat, red fox, and gray fox.
- Sample contest: Frank Privitere Memorial International Rabbit Derby, Lackawanna, NY, 1/30/2016.
- Raffle for 1) cruise, 2) trophy cabinet, 3) gas grill.
- Hunt with cash prize and trophy for three heaviest rabbit carcasses. $25 entry fee includes "Italiano Deluxe" dinner!
- Details of the 2013 hunt posted by the organizer on a United Kennel Club (UKC) forum specified that "rabbits must be un-gutted and un-frozen" at weigh-in. Translation: "we want live weights of fresh kills, so don't field-dress the carcass like you normally would as the first step in game meat preparation, and don't keep the carcass in the freezer as a substitute for field-dressing." That rule effectively encouraged wanton waste, which--although it might not be a violation in New York--is likely to be a violation in other places, and is always against hunting ethics. It's probably the rule for any wildlife-killing contest that awards prizes based on carcass weight.
- Huge basket raffle!
- Proceeds to charity (but what does that have to do with the raffles and the rabbit-hunting derby?).
- Sample contest: article about the Squirrel Slam in Holley, NY and its protesters. Facebook page: "Holley Squirrel Slam Supporters."
- Sample contest: Bob Evans Memorial Coyote Calling Contest, Pompey, NY, 1/8/2016.
- Sample contest: Foothills Firearms and Ammo Coyote Contest, Yadkinville, NC, 1/9/2016 - 1/16/2016.
- "Contest underway in Yadkin County to kill as many coyotes as possible" by Chad Tucker, 2/23/2015, FOX 8 TV News.
- Project Coyote NC Representative Marilyn McGee on "How to Coexist with Coyotes" by Chad Tucker, 3/3/2015, Fox 8 TV News.
- Contest is run by a gun shop. Advertisements alternate with contest news. Good prices on AR rifles, high-capacity mags, varmint rifles, etc.
- Prizes include cash and equipment from the gun shop.
- Contest winners bring in highest numbers of coyote carcasses. Hunter/kill photos are posted as they come in.
- Sample contest: Ohio Song Dog Smackdown, in Crawford, Seneca, and Wyandot Counties, OH, 1/15/2016 - 1/24/2016.
- Four main classes--trapping, calling, dogging, and driving--each with a prize.
- Special class for largest female coyote.
- Prizes awarded based on combined weight of a team's three largest coyotes.
- Other entertainment: gun raffle, door prizes, food & beverages.
- Enjoy, have fun, and be safe! Let's make this a family-fun annual event!
- Sample contest: Harney County Coyote Classic, Burns, OR.
- Sample contest: JMK Coyote Hunt, Crane, OR.
- Petition to End To Predator Killing Contests In Argonne Township. Please sign online.
- Sample contest: Argonne Predator Hunt at Main Street Ed's, Argonne, WI, 1/23/2016.
- Predator-hunting contest inflates fantasies, draws complaints.
- FOX 11 TV News, Changes to coyote hunting event amid backlash, by Courtney Ryan, 1/23/2016.
- Event spokesman Josh Bradley said "this little gathering we've got here is a good way to take down the predator numbers, and try to take the heat off the deer a little bit."
- Fumbling to explain the change in how prizes were awarded, Bradley said "we tried to get all the confusion out of here; we're not having any raffles (or they're not having any raffles). It's door prizes only." In other words, he didn't seem to know. Maybe the hunting prizes that were planned were changed to door prizes (raffles)? Maybe to try to de-emphasize the planned focus of the event on the predator-hunting contest and its prizes for the largest, smallest, most coyote carcasses? Yeah, right, it was never about killing. (not).
- WI DNR Warden Supervisor David Walz said "the only real control on [the coyote] population is just themselves multiplying and then, you know, hunting." He didn't attempt to substantiate that comment in any way.
- WJFW News Watch 12: Coyote hunt attention draws in big crowds, by Katie Thoresen, 1/23/2016.
- WI Senator Tom Tiffany phoned in to say "it's a very good thing that they're doing. to control those [predator] populations, because otherwise they explode, get out of hand." He didn't attempt to substantiate that comment in any way.
- Melissa Smith, Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf and Wildlife, brought a bit of science to the event, pointing out that "by eliminating predators, we're just throwing the whole thing off balance." For that substantiation of that and other statements of Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf and Wildlife, see their documentaries online: "Dogs of War" and "Political Predator."
- Prizes for largest, smallest, most coyote carcasses! Callers and hound hunters.
- Carcass weigh-in, in town at the restaurant, 4pm - 7pm! (apparently no Town Ordinance, yet, for the Disposal of Dead Animals).
- Gun raffles, meat raffles, door prizes! Everyone welcome (as long as you've got a strong stomach)!
- Steak dinner special $10.00. Bud & Bud Light $2.75 bottles!
- Sample contest: Coulee Region Coyote Hunters, Coyote Tournament and Wounded Warrior Hunt, Sparta, WI, 1/9/2016.
Poster by "Buffalo Ridge Gobblers MN" Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Photo credit: "Buffalo Ridge Gobblers MN" Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Header from the website of the Coyote Craze Classic
, Mitchell, NE, 12/11/2015 - 12/13/2015. "Feed your addiction."