Hunting Club Cancels Crow Shoot in Face of Criticism

A Vermont hunting club has cancelled its crow shooting competition set for next month after a social media outcry.

March 25, 2018

WILLIAMSTOWN, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont hunting club has cancelled its crow shooting competition after a social media outcry.

Mark McCarthy, president of the Boonie Club in Williamstown, told the Burlington Free Press it will not be sponsoring the April 7 crow shoot, in which teams of hunters would have competed to win prizes by shooting the most birds. Critics of the shoot say they understand “hunting for food” but are against “wanton killing.”

Crow shoots are legal as long as they’re within the hunting season for crows. Scott Darling, wildlife program manager for Vermont Fish and Wildlife, says while there is a role for crow hunting to fend off damage to crops, he does not support crow shoots like the one the club had planned.


Information from: The Burlington Free Press,

Stop the Barbaric Crow Shoot in Vermont

On April 7, 2018, bloody bodies will rain from the sky. The Boonie Club of Williamstown, Vermont, has scheduled a barbaric crow shoot. In a disgusting show of pure blood lust, teams of four will compete to see who can kill the most crows, with actual cash prizes being awarded to the top killers. This horrific contest is repulsive and archaic, and we can’t let it happen.

Competitions like this only further serve to marginalize birds, who are often considered by thoughtless humans to be nothing more than flying, pooping, and noisemaking creatures, somehow not worthy of their lives. The fact is crows, and all birds, are far more than that.

Crows, like many animals, are far more intelligent than many would like us to believe. For example, crows form complex social structures and are known as the smartest of all birds. They not only use tools, but they make them too — something scientists and others had once mistakenly thought only humans could do. Crows are also capable of problem solving and complex reasoning.

Crows have been called the “most family-oriented birds in the world.” In fact, older siblings may even help their parents raise newborn chicks. This dedication and teamwork goes beyond newborn chicks and often continues with a sort of “nest assistance” type of relationship that can go on for more than half a decade.

In Defense of AnimalsThe deep connections of crows exist beyond direct family. Neighbors have been known to hold funerals for nearby birds, while hundreds of crows have been known to attend these funerals. As with humans, attendees don’t scavenge the dead body, and crows may avoid areas near the dead crow afterwards, even if the food there is plentiful. This is especially the case if the crow died in such a way that indicates a danger to other crows, such as if the dead crow was a shooting victim.

Additionally, crows have excellent memories, recognizing other animals they have met including humans. Shooting these amazing animals is brutal and inexcusable.

We have less than a month to ensure that this hunt never comes to fruition, but it will require us to call and send letters and to share this alert widely.

What YOU Can Do — TODAY:



Please contact Mark McCarthy, owner of Lenny’s Shoe and Apparel, who is also the president of the Boonie Club, to express your distress at such a heartless contest. Please be polite when you cite your reasons for objecting to the crow shoot. If you shop at Lenny’s in person or online, please be sure to mention it.

Please call Mark either on his personal number or at the store he owns:

Personal: 802-476-9811
Work: 802-879-6640

Call other members of the Boonie Club while you’re at it, if you’re so inclined, but please be polite, and understand this is a hunting club, so arguments that have to do with no-one eating crows will probably carry more weight than ones against all hunting, though of course we oppose the hunting of all animals.

Send our letter to Mark.


Personalize and submit the letter below to email your comments to:
  • Mark McCarthy, President, Lenny’s Shoe and Apparel

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Editorial: Trapping, killing contests should have no place in NM

Welcome to the Land of Enchantment, where:• If you find a wild animal caught in a trap, you can neither free it nor put it out of its misery.

• You can kill as many non-game animals – porcupines, prairie dogs, rabbits, ground squirrels, Himalayan tahrs, skunks, feral hogs, bobcats and coyotes – as you like without a permit, sometimes for cash and fabulous prizes.

Just what does this say about our state?

New Mexico’s government-sponsored animal cruelty came to light again this week when a Placitas man released a fox from a foot-hold trap. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish told Gary Miles, the founder and owner of Placitas Animal Rescue, who responded to a runner’s call about the fox, that he could be arrested for being in possession of the fox.

Miles said the fox “escaped” after “it healed up real nice.”

State statute (C) says, in part, “It shall be illegal to destroy, disturb or remove any trap, snare or trapped wildlife belonging to a licensed trapper without permission of the owner of the trap or snare.” It raises the question why, in 2018, New Mexico endorses the use of leg-hold and other traps on public land, devices that were invented in the 1800s and have been banned in more than 80 countries, and banned or severely restricted in at least eight states.

They were banned because they are archaic, cruel and indiscriminate.

The fox story came to light around a week after an Albuquerque gun shop sponsored a coyote-killing contest outside Bernalillo County. And while that contest was on private land, the arguments that the shooters are removing a predatory threat or gathering pelts and meat or a trophy are used to disguise the real intent: killing for killing’s sake. Many times, the carcasses are piled up and left to rot.

Coyotes, like bobcats, are keystone species and compensatory breeders; kill too many, and they not only will make more to fill the gap, but in the interim the rodent population explodes.

But hey, that’s just what wildlife biologists say. Why let science get in the way of blood sport?

The New Mexico Legislature stepped up and banned cockfighting because lawmakers saw it for what it is: barbaric cruelty that has no place in our state’s proud cultures.

They need to do the same for trapping and killing contests.

Bill seeks to outlaw ‘coyote-hunting contests’ in New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A previously introduced proposal seeks to ban coyote-hunting competitions in New Mexico.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Jeff Steinborn would outlaw coyote-killing contests after a number of recent competitions draw anger from animal rights advocates.

The measure would make the contests illegal in the state but not prevent landowners for hunting the predators on their property.

In recent years, a southeastern New Mexico gun shop drew criticism for hosting a coyote hunting competition. It was one of many gun shops that have hosted similar events where winners receive prizes like firearms.

The bill would not outlaw hunting contest of other unprotected species.


First West Virginia coyote hunt draws hundreds but not without controversy

KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) — This weekend marked the first West Virginia Coyote Hunt. It ran from noon Saturday to noon Sunday, as hunters across the state checked in at Cabela’s in South Charleston, then hunted coyotes for a maximum 24 hour period.

Men and women from across the state, as well as bordering states participated, according to organizers.

Shannon Sizemore of Team Fur Seekers, out of Cincinnati, Ohio, organized the contest. Sizemore is a native of Big Ugly, West Virginia and says his roots run deep here.

“Comraderie and the atmosphere here, it’s phenomenal, I mean this is what I wanted,” he says. Sizemore says his goal was to teach and educate the community that coyotes need to be hunted regularly in order to help control the population, that often preys on a range of animals, including deer, turkey and even household pets.

“With coyotes having no natural predator, it’s a problem. It’s going to take it’s toll if people don’t start hunting them,” he says. “For whoever says this is a blood bath, it’s nothing about going out and killing coyotes this weekend. It’s teaching and learning them what we can do to prevent what’s going to take place in the future if we don’t do this.

Organizers say approximately 500 hunters participated from 135 teams. Approximately 40 coyotes were killed during the 24 hour sporting event, and nearly $11,000 was awarded in prizes.

“It’s about the atmosphere, the camaraderie. Spending time with your family, your friends, your children. That’s what hunting is about,” Sizemore says.

Sizemore says the coyotes would not be disposed of properly and fur will be used.

The Humane Society of West Virginia condemned the contest, referring to it as a “blood bath.” They released a statement saying “Allowing this blood sport to continue gives hunters and wildlife agencies a black eye and sends a dangerous message to our youth that killing is fun. Gratuitously slaughtering animals for thrills and prizes is unethical and out of step with our current understanding of ecosystems and the important role each species plays.”

Coyote hunting tournament kicks off near Indianapolis

Coyote hunting tournament kicks off near Indianapolis

GREENFIELD, Ind. — A coyote hunting tournament kicked off Friday near Indianapolis, where growing urban populations have driven the coyote population up in recent years.

The Coyote Showdown, hosted by Stocose Outdoors and Highsmith Guns in Greenfield, is being held for the first time. Organizer Erik Fannin said the tournaments are becoming more popular in southern and western Indiana, so he wanted to start one in this area.

“They’ll eat just about anything and so it’s something we’re working really hard to try and control the population of,” Peterson said. “We’re looking for responsible sportsmen to help control the population.”

That’s what the teams will do this weekend, as the seek to kill the most coyotes and take home cash prizes.

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Federal Agencies Urged to Halt Coyote-hunting Contest in Oregon’s Lake County

Contest Risks Killing Endangered Wolves, Breaking Wildlife Laws

PORTLAND, Ore.— Six wildlife conservation organizations representing nearly 212,000 Oregonians are calling on the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to stop a coyote-hunting contest planned for Nov. 19-20. The groups are concerned that in addition to being cruel and wasteful, the “Lake County Coyote Calling Derby” could result in killing of endangered gray wolves, in violation of the Endangered Species Act.

“This contest is unethical, cruel and risks violating federal law,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Wolves are fully federally protected throughout the entirety of Lake County, so federal wildlife- and land-management officials have a duty to do everything in their power to protect them.”

The hunting contest, which awards prizes for the most coyotes killed, is being sponsored by the Lake County chapter of the Oregon Hunters Association and by Robinson Heating and Cooling. The contest will take place on both Forest Service and BLM land, which cover large portions of Lake County. Despite this the contest organizers have not sought a required “special use permit.” Such a permit would trigger a review by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service because of the risk of killing federally protected wolves, which have been confirmed in Lake County by federal and state officials and are easily mistaken for coyotes.

“Coyote killing contests are nothing more than the indiscriminate, wanton slaughter of wildlife,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Eugene-based Predator Defense. “Contest organizers often claim that killing coyotes will protect livestock and enhance prey populations like deer and elk. Ironically, science is telling us just the opposite. When coyotes are killed, those that survive reproduce at higher levels.”

The conservation groups requested that both the Forest Service and BLM suspend the contest until permits are issued, the Fish and Wildlife Service has the opportunity to ensure no wolves will be harmed, and the public has the opportunity to comment.

“It is completely irresponsible for these federal agencies to allow a killing contest for an animal that closely resembles the endangered gray wolf in this region,” said Nick Cady, legal director of Cascadia Wildlands. “Wolves are just beginning to establish a foothold in southwestern Oregon, and it would be tragic for that to be lost due to an overlooked coyote killing derby.”

“Killing contests are cruel, wasteful, and deeply at odds with the humane values of the vast majority of Oregonians,” said Scott Beckstead, Oregon senior state director of The Humane Society of the United States. “The event promotes a ‘shoot anything that moves’ mentality and is bound to result in the killing of non-target wildlife. We urge the U.S. Forest Service and BLM to deny permission for this event, and we urge the people of Oregon to demand that our state wildlife managers finally put an end to these festivals of cruelty.”

“Not only do these killing contest endanger a protected species,” said Wally Sykes, co-founder of Northeast Oregon Ecosystems, “but they are a symptom of a general disrespect for wildlife and a poor understanding of the complex relationships of prey and predator.”

The request was sent by Predator Defense, the Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands, The Humane Society of the United States, Northeast Oregon Ecosystems and Oregon Wild.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Predator Defense is a national nonprofit advocacy organization with over 15,000 supporters.  We have been working since 1990 to protect native predators and end America’s war on wildlife.  Our efforts take us into the field, onto America’s public lands, to Congress, and into courtrooms.

Cascadia Wildlands defends and restores Cascadia’s wild ecosystems in the forests, in the courts, and in the streets. We envision vast old-growth forests, rivers full of salmon, wolves howling in the backcountry, and vibrant communities sustained by the unique landscapes of the Cascadia bioregion. Join our movement today.

The Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s largest and most effective animal protection organization. We and our affiliates provide hands-on care and services to more than 100,000 animals each year, and we professionalize the field through education and training for local organizations. We are the leading animal advocacy organization, seeking a humane world for people and animals alike. We are driving transformational change in the U.S. and around the world by combating large-scale cruelties such as puppy mills, animal fighting, factory farming, seal slaughter, horse cruelty, captive hunts and the wildlife trade.

Oregon Wild: Protecting Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife, and waters for future generations.

Northeast Oregon Ecosystems works to protect and expand Oregon’s wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Minnesota coyote-hunting tournament is latest to draw opposition


Michael Pearce, TNSAs in many places across the country, coyotes are not protected in Minnesota; with some restrictions, they can be hunted without a license.

Publicity about the second annual “Save the Birds” tournament in Marshall, which began Friday and was to run through Saturday, sparked an online petition calling for it to be banned and a heated dialogue between supporters and opposers in the town’s local newspaper.


As in many places across the country, coyotes are not protected in Minnesota; with some restrictions, they can be hunted without a license. The tournaments, which are legal, are popular with hunters vying for prizes and enjoying the accompanying social occasions.

But many anti-cruelty groups adamantly oppose them. They include the Minnesota-based nonprofit Howling for Wolves, which along with more than 169,000 signers of a petition posted by Scott Slocum of White Bear Lake, campaigned for the contest’s suspension, deeming it dangerous to wildlife and criticizing its competitive nature.

The protesters sent a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton, according to Howling for Wolves founder Maureen Hackett. A spokesperson for Dayton said he’s in Washington, D.C., until Monday and sent a response from Linden Zakula, Dayton’s deputy chief of staff.

 “State law provides no protection for coyotes in Minnesota; therefore, no license or permit is needed to take them, and no DNR approval is required,” Zakula said. “Our office has informed Howling for Wolves that the governor has no legal authority to prevent a coyote hunt from taking place.”

Despite their legality, the hunts are still offensive, protesters say.


3 dead wolves found dumped in northern Minnesota ditch; poaching suspected

The hunting of wolves is illegal in Minnesota; federal authorities are offering a reward for information.
By Star Tribune

Gary Kramer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceThe gray wolf is currently listed by the federal government as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.

The carcasses of three wolves “frozen solid” were found dumped in a ditch along a northern Minnesota highway in what conservation officials are confident is a case of poaching, federal authorities said Thursday.

The discovery on Hwy. 8 near Floodwood, about 35 miles southeast of Grand Rapids, was reported on Jan. 22 to a state Department of Natural Resources poachers tip line, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

“The wolf carcasses were discovered in a pile in the ditch just off the shoulder of the road, as though someone had driven up and dumped them off the edge of the shoulder,” agency spokeswoman Tina Shaw said.

The gray wolf is currently listed by the federal government as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act, meaning they cannot be hunted except in defense of human life. A conviction for each violation could result in up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.

The federal agency announced a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.


Anti-coyote hunt petition inspires angry letters, veiled threats from hunters

More than 161,000 people have signed an online petition calling for the end of “wildlife killing contests,” a sportsmen’s hobby that turns killin’ coyotes into an arcade-style game, where the winner piles up the most corpses, and everyone else helps the state get rid of a nuisance animal.

Coyotes are “unprotected” in Minnesota, meaning their hunting is more or less unregulated by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). That allows for such kill-for-fun events as the “Save the Birds” Coyote Hunting Tournament, scheduled for February 19-20 in Marshall. Petitioners were hoping to get it derailed before its “shotgun start.”

“The piles of carcasses at the ‘finish lines’ of these events show that this is not hunting, but thrill-killing on a staggering scale,” reads the petition authored by White Bear Lake native and animal lover Scott Slocum.

Slocum’s petition notes that such prize-awarding shooting sprees have been banned in California, with proposals to prohibit hunting contests introduced in New York, Nevada, and New Mexico.

Citing a study conducted in Colorado, Slocum says aggressive hunting of coyotes is a temporary fix to overpopulation, and will only require future killing parties. In Colorado’s case, an open hunt culled up to three-quarters of the coyote count in one area. It was back up to the previous level in about eight months.

The appeal is aimed at Gov. Mark Dayton and DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. But many respondents took more of a local approach, contacting public officials in Marshall, and alerting the local newspaper, the Marshall Independent.

In a follow-up story on what some of its letter writers called a “barbaric” and “blood-thirsty” event, the Independent interviewed organizer Ty Brouwer, who pointed out their contest had no public opposition last year. Brouwer said the petition’s graphic description of the hunt is “misconstrued” and inaccurate. All participants are avid sportsmen, he says, and are trying to take the most ethical kill shot possible, resulting in a quick and painless death.

Another of Brouwer’s comments caught the eye of Slocum, who immediately shared it with the document’s many signers.

“Some of these people, they don’t like hunting at all,” Brouwer said. “I’ve had some people say, ‘Well, why don’t you just shoot off their legs and see how long they survive?’ That’s not what we’re about.”

Maybe not, but Slocum took the half-threatening statement seriously enough to warn supporters not to take any “local action.” That is, don’t show up at Friday’s hunt and try to disrupt the contest or confront a hunter, lest some angry shooter take aim at one of your legs.

“The best advice at this point is ‘be safe,'” Slocum writes, adding that Brouwer’s statement has been brought to the attention of the Marshall Police Department. “Don’t put yourself in harm’s way. Don’t confront these potentially dangerous people in a way that might expose you to harm.”

Brouwer, for his part, is hoping the turnout is even better this year than last, when three dozen two-person teams registered. (The contest gets its name because proceeds from the $50 registration fee go toward turkey habitat restoration.) The two-man winning squad in 2015’s hunt brought in a total haul of 56 pounds’ worth of coyote; this year’s winners will walk with a $500 cash prize.

On Saturday, Marshall Independent editor Per Peterson wrote in favor of the previously not controversial event. He hears coyotes, “the little bastards,” howling at night from his country home. “It ticks me off,” Peterson writes. “Scares me a little, too.”

Peterson thinks petition signers are blinded by snobbish perceptions of who’s taking part in the shoot. The contestants are serious outdoorsmen doing their part to cut down on an animal that menaces area livestock and pets, not “tobacco-chewing, beer-swilling mountain men hootin’ and hollerin'” like some city folks assume.

“Move on to the next cause,” Peterson writes. “Or make another one up.”

coyote contest kill

The debate over organized kills and whether they actually impact population, via a new podcast

Coyote hunting competitions were banned in California at the end of 2014, and wildlife advocates hoped to get a similar ban passed in Nevada late last year, but failed to persuade the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commission. The commission voted 5-2 against the ban, a vote that seemed to have more to do with the department’s opinions on regulatory solutions in general than organized coyote hunts in particular.

“My opposition was really more in regards to I don’t believe we’re at a point where a regulatory approach is the right course,” commission head Jeremy Drew says. “We’ve tried to deal with controversial topics through a regulatory process in the past and it’s been very difficult to get both sides to come to the table and try to find a consensus-based approach.”

Two hunters display the ten coyotes they shot to win a coyote derby in North Dakota.
Courtesy Barnes County Wildlife

Despite the ban in California, the most popular hunt in the state just took place again. The organizers made just enough changes to stay within the limits of the law — sending an outcry through the animal rights community. But while wildlife advocates (led by nonprofit Project Coyote) and hunters made impassioned pleas for and against the ban in Nevada, coyote expert Fred Knowlton, who has studied coyotes for more than 40 years, says humans killing coyotes really has little bearing on the animals.

“I don’t believe any coyote hunting expeditions are effective at reducing coyote numbers,” Knowlton says. “If everything stays equal — if you’ve got hunting going on or not — you can remove up to 70% of coyotes without affecting the population.”

In this episode of the Range podcast, we hear from activists on both sides of the issue, and more from Knowlton, in an attempt to understand the real impact of coyote derbies on the animals.

Range podcast produces stories of the New American West and is co-hosted by reporters Amy Westervelt and Julia Ritchey.