Hunting contests don’t put dent in coyote population

Jim Robertson-wolf-copyright


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —In less than 24 hours, coyotes will be the target of a controversial hunting contest in New Mexico.

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The two-day contest begins Saturday morning.

Animal rights activists have been pushing for a law to make such events illegal, but that won’t stop this weekend’s event from occurring.

It may not seem like coyotes are a big threat to day-to-day life in New Mexico, but they are for ranchers and dairy farmers in the state. Those in favor of the event feel the coyotes are a nuisance. Those who aren’t don’t feel it is legitimate wildlife management to allow contestants to go out and shoot as many coyotes as they can.

The New Mexico Game and Fish Department doesn’t regulate the hunting of coyotes, and coyotes aren’t protected or endangered animals.

Game and Fish officials said contestants may not even be making a dent in the coyote population, and don’t believe the contests have a negative impact. About 10,000 coyotes are hunted every year, according to Game and Fish. That’s about 8 percent of the total coyote population in New Mexico.

Activists have emailed the Governor’s Office calling for the contests to be stopped. The emails were referred to game and fish.

Contestants pay $300 for a two-person team.

Winners get assault rifles. The contest is sponsored by Larry’s Gun Shop in Roswell.

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Coyote hunt continues to draw controversy


ROSWELL, N.M. —This week hunters across New Mexico will open fire on coyotes.

It’s all part of a contest — the Third Annual Great Coyote Hunt — that has animal rights activists outraged and pushing for legislation to make these types of events illegal.

“They shoot as many coyotes as they can so it’s purely a numbers game for material profit or financial profit,” said Phil Carter, with Animal Protection of New Mexico. “We cannot allow our state to be so definitely associated with these thrill-killing contests that just celebrate death and destruction of animals.”

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Larry’s Gun Shop in Roswell is putting on the contest.

Contestants pay $300 for a two-person team. Other than not killing in city limits, there are few restrictions. Whoever kills the most coyotes wins an assault rifle for each team member.

Event organizers disagree with the activists.

“(It’s) not inhumane at all. These are a nuisance,” said Colby Griffin, a manager at Larry’s Gun Shop.

The gun shop argues that thousands of coyotes cause problems for ranchers and dairy farmers. They said they are just helping out and giving a prize just encourages people to participate in the hunt.

Animal activists are taking their fight to Santa Fe’s Roundhouse. They are drafting up a bill for the 2015 legislative session to outright ban hunting contests and make it a misdemeanor crime.

“This is not real wildlife management, to simply allow contestants to go out and shoot as many coyotes as they can,” said Carter.

Right now at least one lawmaker is interested in sponsoring the bill. In 2013, similar legislation was defeated in the house.

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Nearly 40,000 oppose Idaho wolf-hunting contest

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  COYOTE_Killing_Contest_Coyote Bodies FAIR USE
“Nearly 40,000 oppose Idaho wolf-hunting contest”
~Reuters, Oct. 28, 2014

Reuters is reporting nearly 40,000 citizens opposed proposed “Predator Derby” in Idaho targeting wolves, coyotes, bobcats, foxes and other predators as part of a killing contest for fun and prizes on more than 300 million acres of public lands in Idaho this coming January (and for 4 more years after that!).

Thanks to all who responded to our call to action to write to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in opposition to this slaughter. We are making progress because of YOU!

Project Coyote is doing everything that we can to stop this proposed wildlife massacre. And we are on the brink of winning our battle to ban this practice in California (final vote by the California Fish and Game Commission will be December 3rd).

But we need your help to win this war against wildlife. Please make an emergency gift to our Ban Wildlife Killing Contests Campaign today.

Please join our monthly giving program by becoming a committed donor to support this critical work to defend the coyotes, wolves, foxes, bobcats and other animals who have no voice.



In response to an application submitted by Idaho for Wildlife to host a Predator Hunt Derby on public land, the BLM is accepting public comments on an Environmental Assessment (EA) through October 16th.

Idaho for Wildlife is seeking to repeat their highly controversial killing contest targeting wolves, coyotes, bobcats, foxes and other predators  — offering prizes to those who kill the most and largest animals —   in a multi-year “predator derby” scheduled for the next five winters (with the next one scheduled for January 2-4, 2015).

The EA comment period comes following a scoping period that resulted in approximately 56,500 public comments of which a mere 10 were in support of the permit being issued. Thank you for making your voices heard during the scoping process! Your input is needed again!

Express your support for Alternative B- the “No Action Alternative” – which would deny Idaho for Wildlife’s request for a special recreation permit that would allow contestants to kill predators on over 3 million acres of public lands in Idaho for the next five years. This event would be damaging to the affected ecosystem, harmful to ecologically vital species, incompatible with scientific principles of wildlife management, and offensive to the concept of fair chase.

Please don’t miss this opportunity to voice your opposition (you do not have to be an Idaho resident to comment as this is federal BLM land- YOUR land!). 
You can read the EA here.

Please act now! Comments are due no later than October 16th and can be emailed to:

Liz Townley
Outdoor Recreation Planner
BLM Idaho Field Office
1206 S. Challis Street
Salmon, Idaho 83467

Please cc Project Coyote as we are tracking letters sent ( & remember to include your full contact info. in your signature block to ensure your comments are included in the official record.

Please include in your subject line Re: Predator Hunt Derby EA- Support for Alt. B

Talking Points:

Express your support for Alternative B – the “No Action Alternative” (please use your own words).

1.  Killing contests have nothing in common with fair chase, ethical hunting. Technology, baiting, and “calling” place wildlife at an even greater and unfair disadvantage. Hunting in winter, when species can be easily tracked in snow and when most animals are working hard to survive contravenes the notion of fair chase. Killing predators, or any wild animal, as part of a ‘contest’ or ‘derby’ is ethically indefensible and ecologically reckless.

2.  Bloodsport contests are conducted for profit, entertainment, prizes and, simply, for the “fun” of killing. No evidence exists showing that predator killing contests control problem animals or serve any beneficial management function. Coyote populations that are not exploited (that is hunted, trapped, or controlled by other means), form stable “extended family” social structures that naturally limit overall coyote populations through defense of territory and the suppression of breeding by subordinate female members of the family group.

3. The importance of wolves, coyotes and other predators in maintaining order, stability, and productivity in ecosystems has been well documented in peer- reviewed scientific literature. Coyotes provide myriad ecosystem services that benefit humans including their control of rodents and rabbits, which compete with domestic livestock for available forage. As apex predators wolves increase biodiversity and ecological integrity.

4.  With fewer than 700 wolves in Idaho and poaching a common problem, allowing a killing contest of a species just off the endangered species list is reckless, indefensible and counter to sound science.

5. Economically, a live wolf is worth far more than a dead one. Wolf watching has brought in millions of dollars into Idaho and tourism is a major economic revenue source. Furthermore, issuing the permit is likely to affect tourism in Idaho as those who value wildlife decide not to visit due to the state’s draconian predator management policies.

6.  Wildlife killing contests perpetuate a culture of violence and send the message to children that life has little value and that an entire species of animals is disposable.

7.  Wildlife killing contests put non-target animals, companion animals, and people at risk. Domestic dogs are sometimes mistaken for coyotes and wolves.

National Campaign to End Wildlife Killing Contests

Sept. 22, 2014 – We are pleased to introduce our nationwide campaign to end wildlife killing contests. Our coordinators, Elisabeth and Guy Dicharry are based in Los Lunas, New Mexico, where they spearheaded a local “Stop Coyote Killing Contests” effort that has now expanded into an effort to end wildlife killing contests across the country. We will be updating this page as the campaign progresses.

How the Campaign Began in New Mexico

“Our involvement in opposing wildlife killing contests began as a response to the businesses and commercial organizations who used the federal and state public lands of New Mexico, and Valencia County in particular, as a killing ground. These contests were held to generate publicity for businesses, for entertainment, for winning prizes, and for making a profit. The contestants kill—without any meaningful limits— important and unprotected species such as coyotes and prairie dogs. We are working to bring an end to these events which have nothing in common with regulated, fair chase hunting of game.”

- Elisabeth Dicharry, Campaign Manager
- Guy Dicharry, Consulting Attorney

Help stop the wolf and predator killing spree!


A multi-year competitive killing derby has just been proposed by a “hunters’ rights” group in Idaho. 

If approved, this will be the second wolf-killing competition held in Idaho – and no predator will be safe!

If you care about wolves and other predators, please take a moment to tell the BLM to deny this outrageous request to conduct an organized predator killing derby.

copyrighted Hayden wolf in lodgepoles

A “hunters’ rights” organization has formally requested a federal permit to hold a multi-year predator-killing derby in Idaho — on national public lands!

If approved, this will be the second competitive wolf-killing competition held in Idaho – and no predator will be safe!

If you care about wolves and other predators as much as I do, please help by telling the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the Department of the Interior to deny the request to conduct this organized killing spree.

As if the competitive targeting of wolves was not bad enough, this proposed derby would sweep all predators in Idaho into its gun sights, rewarding the killing of coyotes, skunks and even weasels.

Last year’s wolf and coyote-killing derby included prizes for killing the most coyotes and killing the largest wolf. This is not hunting; this is simply mass-killing for fun based upon hatred and fear.

Defenders is adamantly opposed to this sort of competitive killing derby and the dangerous and unethical precedent that it sets. Please stand with us and call on the BLM to immediately deny this outrageous request!

If you think it can’t get worse, consider this: The proposed event would take place every winter for five years when wolves and other wildlife are most vulnerable out foraging for food in the snow and extreme cold.

This proposal sets us back to the barbaric 19th century approach to predators when their value to the environment was not understood. These are exactly the kinds of extermination era tactics that drove wolves to the brink in the first place! This is not modern wildlife management, and it has no place in civil society.

Please demand that the BLM stop this unconscionable killing contest in its tracks!

Thank you for taking immediate action.

Targeting Wildlife Services


A little-known agency known as “Wildlife Services,” a unit of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is secretive for a reason: Its actions are incredibly, unacceptably and illegally brutal and inhumane to animals, from familiar wildlife to endangered species — and even people’s pets.

This agency has been killing as many as 3 million native animals every year — including coyotes, bears, beavers, wolves, otters, foxes, prairie dogs, mountain lions, birds and other animals — without any oversight, accountability or requirement to disclose its activities to the public. The agency contributed to the decline of gray wolves, Mexican wolves, black-footed ferrets, black-tailed prairie dogs, and other imperiled species during the first half of the 1900s, and continues to impede their recovery today.

Many of these animals are carnivores at the top of the food chain and have a tremendous benefit to overall ecosystem health. They include endangered species and, largely, animals that agribusiness interests consider undesirable — as well as many animals that aren’t intended targets of the agency. The century-old Wildlife Services — which has reportedly killed 32 million native animals since 1996 — destroys these creatures on behalf of such interests without explaining to the public what it’s doing or where, the methods it’s using, on whose behalf it’s acting, or why. It frequently doesn’t even attempt to use nonlethal methods before shooting coyotes and wolves from airplanes, or laying out traps and exploding poison caps indiscriminately — including in public areas — without any rules. Stories about Wildlife Services consistently emerge describing an agency that routinely commits extreme cruelty against animals, leaving them to die in traps from exposure or starvation, attacking trapped coyotes, and brutalizing domestic dogs. Many people who know about the agency have criticized this dark, secretive entity as a subsidy for livestock interests.

We can’t stress enough that this agency’s practices have gone on for decades with little public oversight or rules requiring that it use the best available science or techniques to reduce the deaths of nontarget animals — or even the suffering of target animals.

The Center is working to end the secrecy and reform this rogue agency — or even suffering — for the good of wildlife, ecosystems and even domestic animals.

To protect defenseless wildlife from Wildlife Services and begin to restore the natural balance of ecosystems, in 2013 the Center filed a comprehensive petition for rulemaking with the Department of Agriculture, which is supposed to oversee the secretive agency’s actions. This legal petition demands the development of a regulatory code — something that every other agency maintains — to reform the agency and bring it in line with all of the nation’s laws, policies and values.

CA Ban on Wildlife Killing Contests Moves Forward

Jim Robertson-wolf-copyright

Ban on Wildlife Killing Contests Moves Forward

Last week’s California Fish and Game Commission got a lot of press attention for the Commission’s decision to add the gray wolf to the state’s Endangered Species list, but another decision by the panel has so far slipped under the radar: an agreement to move forward on a ban on wildlife-killing contests in the state of California.

A push to ban such contests has been sparked by public reaction over the last several years to the annual Coyote Drive in the Modoc County town of Adin. Public support for a ban would seem to be strong. Of public comments received as of mid-March by the Fish and Game Commission, 12,896 supported a ban, while eight opposed one.

The ban has been moving through the commission’s somewhat lengthy rule-making process since February, but a Wednesday agreement by the commission would make sure the ban applied to all animals currently targeted by organizers of wildlife killing contests.

At some earlier point in the commission’s “sausage-making,” the language of the proposed ban was edited so that it would only ban killing contests focusing on coyotes, bobcats, and foxes. On Wednesday, the Commission agreed to strip that specific language out in the final version of the rule.

According to Project Coyote who has been pushing the commission to consider a ban for several years, founder Camilla Fox, that agreement brings the proposed rule back into line with the original intent of the state law that covers wildlife contests. That law, Section 2003 of the Fish and Game Code, actually already bans wildlife killing contests in the state, saying that “[I]t 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.” But the rule adds a loophole, subsection D, which exempts contests from the ban if the total prizes offered total less than $500.

“This loophole contravenes the intent of section 2003 which is to eliminate any prize or other inducement as an reward for the taking of wildlife,” said Fox in her testimony before the Commission Wednesday. “A simple rule to eliminate this loophole will rectify this issue and remove such incentives for the mass killing of wildlife.”

Fox urged the Commission to strip the language limiting the ban to coyotes, foxes, and bobcats from the proposed rule, and the commission agreed.

“Killing contests are not a proper way of introducing youth to the outdoors,” replied Commissioner Richard Rogers. “I know, for I am an Eagle Scout. There was no killing involved in developing in me my love of nature.”

The commission is expected to make a final decision on a ban later this year.


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