US bans 'unethical' coyote hunts

2014-12-04 09:55

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

California - California wildlife officials on Wednesday banned coyote hunting contests that offer cash and other prizes to hunters who killed the most animals.

It was the first ban of its kind in the nation, according to Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote, which petitioned the state to end the popular contests that occur almost every month in California or nearby states.

The vote by the state fish and game commission allows hunters to shoot as many of the predators as they wish year-round but stops the awarding of prizes.

Commissioner Jack Baylis said the state also needs to consider limiting how many predators a hunter is permitted to kill while respecting responsible hunters and allowing ranchers to manage their livestock.

"Awarding prizes for wildlife killing contests is both unethical and inconsistent with our modern understand of natural systems", Michael Sutton, president of the commission, said during the meeting.

4-1 vote

The board approved the ban with a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Jacque Hostler-Carmesin, the lone dissenter, said she was waiting for more scientific research before she could support the ban.

The hunting derbies reward shooters who bag the tallest pile of coyote carcasses with cash, belt buckles, camouflage hunting gear or other prizes.

Fox said the hunts are a cruel throwback to the days before dog- and cock-fighting were banned.

"It's immoral, reprehensible and something that should be part of our history books," she said.

California cattle ranchers lost more than $4m in 2010 to predators, with coyotes committing the largest number of attacks, according to the US department of agriculture's most recent figures.

Those losses, and the culture of ranchland life in the West have spurred the spread of coyote prize hunts across California over the years.

Coyotes killing livestock

Hunter and cattleman Buck Parks said he and his neighbours won't turn a blind eye to coyotes killing livestock and wildlife.

He said people opposed to coyote hunting don't witness the damage done by coyotes.

Parks is president of the Pit River Rod and Gun Club, which has drawn protests for its coyote hunts.

Before the commission vote, Parks said the club would abide by the decision. But that won't end coyote hunting, he said.
"We're not focused on that one weekend hunt," Parks said. "We're focused on trying to encourage folks to get out and help manage these predators by hunting them."

Noah Greenwald of the centre for biological diversity said prize hunts are most common in western states. In Idaho, environmentalists blocked a wolf and coyote derby from occurring next month on vast wilderness areas controlled by the US Bureau of Land Management. Organizers say they'll hold the contest elsewhere.

Scott Gardner, a senior environmental scientist with the California department of fish and wildlife, said coyotes are not a threatened or endangered species, and might even be on the rise.

Coyote advocates said the hunting contests do not reflect good sportsmanship and have not been proven to prevent livestock losses.
Read more on:    us  |  animals  |  hunting

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.