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Coyote-killing contests face growing outrage, state bans

The Humane Society undercover investigations at contests in NY and NJ documented participants slinging the dead bodies of coyotes and foxes into piles and joking about their deaths. It boggles the mind what they are celebrating.

KARIN BRULLIARD: ‘In mid-December, a hunting contest was held in central Arizona for the 11th year in a row. The team that killed the most coyotes won. The event’s name emphasized the goal: It was called the “Santa Slay Coyote Tournament.” It might have been the contest’s final year. The Arizona Game and Fish Commission is now considering banning Santa Slay and other privately run derbies that target predators and animals typically hunted for their fur. While coyote hunting would remain legal year-round and with no bag limits, a proposed rule would draw the line at doing it for competition…

Arizona is among several states that are mulling or have enacted similar bans of private contests amid pressure from animal protection groups and growing public outcry. New Mexico prohibited coyote-hunting tournaments in the state last month, as did Vermont in 2018. California in 2014 outlawed all predator-hunting contests, and lawmakers in New Jersey, New York and Oregon are considering some form of ban.

Participants in such contests typically compete over a day or weekend to kill the largest animals, the most animals, or the heaviest cumulative weight of animals. Most center on predators including foxes and bobcats, and coyotes — adaptable Western canines that have rapidly spread across the nation and beyond — are a common target. Participants sometimes attract coyotes using “calls,” devices that simulate the sounds of prey or coyote cubs in distress. Winners get cash or prizes…

The competitions are held in at least 45 states, said Jill Fritz, director of wildlife protection for the Humane Society of the United States, which for two years has worked with the California-based advocacy group Project Coyote to lead a push against the events. In a 2018 news release, the Humane Society said its undercover investigations at contests in New York and New Jersey documented “participants slinging the dead bodies of coyotes and foxes into piles” and joking about their deaths. “Some of the foxes are so tiny,” Fritz said. “It boggles the mind what they are celebrating”.’ SOURCE…

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