Minnesota coyote-hunting tournament is latest to draw opposition

http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-coyote-hunting-tournament-is-latest-to-draw-opposition/369533731/

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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 Change.org 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.

http://www.startribune.com/minnesota-coyote-hunting-tournament-is-latest-to-draw-opposition/369533731/

Meanwhile:

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.

More: http://www.startribune.com/3-dead-wolves-found-together-in-northern-minnesota-poaching-suspected/369263491/

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

http://www.citypages.com/news/anti-coyote-hunt-petition-inspires-angry-letters-veiled-threats-from-hunters-8048113

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 Change.org 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

http://www.hcn.org/articles/range-podcast-audio-coyotes-hunting

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.

MT Trapping Updates

FUR PRICES DOWN!!!
“That’s right – low, low fur prices.  Bottom of the barrel.  In most cases, fur will sell for far less than what you’ll spend to trap it.”
Why are fur prices going to be so low?  Two words.  China and Russia.  Those two countries basically control the modern world market for wild fur because their citizens purchase the vast majority of the garments produced with the fur we trap.” Prices for dead Coyote, Beaver, Pine Marten, Bobcat, Wolves and Fisher are expected to hold. Trappers are claiming they are simply stockpiling the rest.
Trapping Today’s 2015-2016 Fur Market Update


Photo courtesy Montana Trappers Association, “fur auction, small”.
Reproduced for educational purposes.

TRAPPING DISTRICT CLOSURES
Hopefully  our  monitoring the quota harvest reports  for Montana furbearers have helped spare more unnecessary trapping deaths for Otter and Bobcat.

Bobcat is now closed in Districts 1, 2, 3, i.e. Northwestern, Western and Southwestern Montana. District 3 closed 8 over quota. Historically, over half of the 7 districts, including these three have gone over quota. In 2013/14, i.e. 62 extra bobcats were reported killed in the Districts 1,2,3,5. We especially appreciate FWP taking a proactive stance and closing District 2. In 6 years, from the 2008 through the 2013/14 bobcat trapping season a minimum of 11,062 bobcats were killed in Montana.


It might not seem much to save even one, but it is everything to that one. We don’t know how many might have gotten killed over the quota. Thanks for making those calls and being the voice for Otters, too!

ANOTHER KILLING CONTEST
A repeat of last January predator trapping and hunting killing contest, sponsored by groups such as Montana Trapper’s Association (MTA), but this time instead of for a weekend, it ran from Jan 8 to Jan 17th. We did not accept the MTA request  that we post the flyer fearing it would only draw more attention, more participation to their killing contest. That does not mean we are not following up on  this. Note they do not call it a killing contest but that does not make it less so! More to come.

EXPOSURE OF CRUEL UGLY TRAPPING
The much awaited article,  America’s trapping boom relies on cruel and grisly tool,  by award winner journalist, Tom Knudson, sheds more light on what becomes of millions of animals, annually, and in particular Bobcat, here out West, in the disturbing significant world of trapping. “Every year, 150,000 trappers here capture and kill up to 7 million wild animals, more than any nation on earth. In all, more than 20 species are targeted for their fur, from foxes to raccoons, coyotes to river otters. But it is the spotted, marble-white fur of one animal that has sparked a Wild West-like trapping boom in recent years.” We were honored to help with Tom’s informative investigation and trust exposure and increased awareness will lead to an end of trapping. Be sure to check out the link to the video of the a leghold trap snapping shut on various items.


Credit: Max Whittaker for Reveal

EFFORTS TO PROTECT FISHER
The rare fisher is getting closer to federal protections under the ESA. Legally trapped still in Montana, other Fishers, too, here have fallen victim as “incidental” “non-targets”. In December of 2014, a Fisher was killed in a conibear trap set for Pine Marten in the Bitterroots. More info to come on how you can help. Click to read  “Northern Rockies Fishers One Step Closer to Endangered Species Act Protection.

PETS CONTINUE TO GET TRAPPED IN MONTANA
An Akita was recently caught for days in a leghold trap set for wolves near Alberton, Montana. The dog was reportedly missing for six days!  Solid ice had to be chipped away from the trap to free the dog. The trapper was cited for not checking his wolf traps for the required 48 hours but will he have to pay the vet bills? The dog will most likely lose its leg.

Searching for the perfect Christmas tree, Petty Creek, near Alberton, a Chihuahua,  Dutley, was caught in a leghold trap, and luckily was released quickly apparently uninjured.

A dog was caught in a snare while accompanied fortunately close by its owner. Ghost town in Drummond.

Trap reports for Bracket Creek area north of Bozeman, Flathead national forest, Pleasant Valley……..

For updates see Trap Alerts  on our website.
Pets have us to look out for them but what of the average 60,000 reported wildlife annually trapped and killed in Montana that legally cannot be rescued and helped?

ANIMAL PLANET DOCUMENTARY FOR TRAPPERS?
Just in, Montana Trappers Association says because “of your relentless attacks on trapping” they have signed to do a trapping documentary with Animal Planet.  Imagine what kind of planet animals would succumb to if trappers had their way. It’s incompatible for a show that features the wonderous animals we share this planet with and their sponsors to promote such cruelty and trapping myths.  More to come on what you can do.

DAILY HAPPENINGS
Like, follow us, and invite friends on Facebook and be sure to check out our website www.trapfreemt.org for ongoing educational information, updates and our online store to purchase, i.e. “Ranger” story of a wolf, t-shirts.

Please lend a hand, be our eyes and ears, promote TFMPL, collaborate with us and let us know you how you are willing to do more for wildlife! 

Thank you Friends of Trap Free Montana Public Lands

Coyote-Kill Contest: It’s getting uglier around the Malheur National Wildlife

“This morally suspect male-bonding event is ecologically indefensible”

Scott Slocum
White Bear Lake, MN

Jan 15, 2016 — It’s getting uglier around the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge this weekend. The Harney County Coyote Classic is coming to the area. Another destructive force. Spotlights and gunfire at night. Spin-offs into firefights? Best to stay far away.

Here’s some advice from Predator Defense on who to call:

“HERE’S HOW TO HELP: express your concern to County and State officials! Call the Harney County Sheriff’s Office at 541-573-6156 and urge them to either (a) cancel the coyote-killing contest, or (b) make the Wildlife Refuge out of bounds for coyote-hunt contestants. Call Oregon Governor Kate Brown at (503) 378-4582, or write at http://www.oregon.gov/gov/Pages/share-your-opinion.aspx and ask her to act.”

Also, check out the information from Predator Defense on the importance of coyotes to intact, healthy ecosystems; and the foolishness of indiscriminate killing–not just in contests like this, but in all of its misguided forms.

Coyote-hunting foes oppose Harney County event
The third annual Harney County Coyote Classic will take place near Burns and Crane this weekend as planned, despite the ongoing refuge occupation nearby, authorities said Wednesday as they warned…

Alberta coyote kill should be banned, says animal-rights group

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/alberta-coyote-kill-should-be-banned-says-animal-rights-group-1.3390001

An animal protection group has renewed calls to end killing contests in Alberta, like the one scheduled to take place this weekend.

“These inhumane contests glorify killing a species that is essential to ecosystems, and can actually create new, more significant conflicts between wildlife and people,” said Michael Howie of the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals.

Described as “reckless” and “inhumane” by critics, the 2015 contest prompted calls for the province to outlaw bounty hunts.

The organizer of this weekend’s coyote hunting contest said even death threats won’t stop him from hosting the tournament again this year.

The contest on Saturday offers a cash prize to the team of hunters that can kill the most coyotes in a single day.

“The science is clear,” Howie said in a statement issued Tuesday. “When coyotes are persecuted, their populations increase; when their social units or families are disrupted, conflict and depredation on livestock increases; and there is no argument — even if there is a healthy population size — to glorify the mass killing of sentient, ecologically significant animals.”

The organizer of the contest is a man named Paul, who asked that his last name not be used to protect his family from harassment. He said he has heard the critics and doesn’t agree with them.

“Coyotes are pests,” he said. “They’re legal to hunt any time of the year, with permission on farmers’ land.”

Howie said it is the Alberta government’s duty to manage land and wildlife habitat and regulate hunting and trapping.

“By allowing killing contests, Alberta’s leadership is showing a severe lack of stewardship,” Howie said, calling on Environment Minister Shannon Phillips and  Premier Rachel Notley to demand an end to such “inhumane” contests immediately.

A spokesperson for the environment minister’s office said the government is not planning to change the rules around hunting, noting when coyote populations are high they can threaten livestock and move into urban areas.

But the province does have the authority to restrict animal harvests if it is deemed necessary, the spokesperson said.

400,000 Coyotes Are Killed in the U.S. Each Year…

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400,000 Coyotes Are Killed in the U.S. Each Year… The Reason Why Will Make You Livid

At least 400,000 coyotes are killed each year in the United States. That’s an average of nearly 1,100 individuals a day.

So why isn’t the government doing something to stop it? Well, mainly because they have been orchestrating a discreet mass slaughter of coyotes for nearly a century.
Read more at http://blog.therainforestsite.com/killing-coyotes/#g4cx4aXjKm7uwMDO.99

Also, know that a “reality” show, in its third season, http://deaddogwalkin.com
is a testament to just how low society has stooped in its ongoing backslide to hitherto unattainable depths. Next stop? Hell itself.

Support Petition to Ban Coyote Killing Contests in NV!‏

Jim Robertson-wolf-copyright

From Project Coyote:

Coyotes in Nevada need your voice! On March 20th, the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners will vote to accept or reject a petition to ban coyote-killing contests in the state. You do not have to be a Nevada resident to express your support and have it count! Encourage the Commission to accept this petition; there are four ways to do so:

  1. Testify at the Commission meeting on Friday, March 20th. You do not need to be an “expert” or have detailed information! Since these contests involve the unnecessary destruction of a public “resource” (wildlife, including coyotes, belongs to everyone per NRS 501.100), your opinion and related comments are pertinent. Please see “talking points” below to guide your testimony and remember, anyone can testify – kids included (and encouraged).
  2. If you can’t make it to the meeting, email or write to the Commission at the address below to express your support for a ban and to encourage the Commission to accept the petition. See “talking points” for guidance on what to say.
  3. In addition to the above, submit letters to the editor of Nevada papers in support of a ban on coyote-killing contests. See “talking points” below, but as always, the more you personalize your letter, the more effective.
  4. Spread the word! Pass this alert on to others in Nevada and encourage them to take action.

    P.S.- read this recent article in the Reno Gazette-Journal about this issue.

Commission Meeting Information:
When:  Friday, March 20, 2015.
Meeting starts at 8:30am. Petition hearing should begin around 9:30-10:00am but arrive early to get a seat and to sign up to testify.
Where: TMCC, 7000 Dandini Blvd (Parr Blvd exit off 395), Sierra Building, Room 108 (auditorium), Reno.

There will also be a video conference connection in Las Vegas and Elko.

In Las Vegas:
College of S. Nevada, 3200 Cheyenne Ave., Main Building, Room 2638.

In Elko:
Great Basin College, 1500 College Parkway, High Tech Center, Room 137.

What to expect: The petition will be presented including a short summary of the issue and supporting documents. Those wishing to testify need to put their name on a yellow card (provided). Following public comment, the Commission will discuss the issue and make a decision.
Commissioner Contact Information (for sending letters and emails):
Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners
1100 Valley Road
Reno, NV 89512

Send email addressed to Commissioners to:
Suzanne Scourby sscourby@ndow.org and please cc info@projectcoyote.org (Project Coyote is tracking letters sent) and Governor Sandoval Hunt cthunt@gov.nv.gov

Talking Points (please personalize your letters!):

Please be sure to state that you encourage the Commissioners to accept the petition to ban coyote-killing contests in addition to outlining your arguments against such contests.

  • Coyote-killing contests are conducted for profit, entertainment, prizes, and simply for the “fun” of killing.  In December 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to close the loopholes that allowed the killing of wildlife for prizes and inducements – becoming the first in the nation to ban the practice for coyotes, foxes, bobcats and other species. Nevada should follow California’s lead.
  • Coyotes are often baited and lured with distress calls of pups or wounded prey, placing coyotes at an even greater and unfair disadvantage. Read more here.
  • No evidence exists showing that indiscriminate killing contests serve any effective wildlife management function. Coyote populations that are not exploited (e.g. hunted or trapped) form stable “extended family” social structures that naturally limit populations through defense of territory and the suppression of breeding by subordinate female members of the family group. Indiscriminate killing of coyotes disrupts this social stability resulting in increased reproduction and pup survival. Read more here.
  • Coyotes have been shown to provide ecosystem services that benefit humans, including the control of rodents and rabbits which compete with domestic livestock for forage and which are associated with diseases such as plague, hantavirus, tularemia and Lyme disease. Read more here.
  • Coyote-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.
  • Coyote-Killing contests put non-target wildlife, companion animals, and people at risk.
  • A ban on coyote-killing contests in Nevada will not restrict the ability to protect property including livestock, will not undermine Second Amendment gun ownership rights, nor will it limit hunting in any other way.

Killing Coyotes, Bobcats and Foxes for Fun and Profit

Killing Coyotes, Bobcats and Foxes for Fun and Profit

 

Dead coyotes in a cage on top of a truck at the West Texas Big Bobcat Contest

Standing in a West Texas sporting goods store parking lot on a recent Sunday morning, Margaret Lloyd felt like she’d wandered onto the set of a gory movie. The lot was packed with trucks full of dead coyotes, foxes and the occasional bobcat; one pickup had a cage welded to its bed, and it was crammed with carcasses. “It was one wave of fur, tails on top of ears and ears on top of tails,” she said. “It was just horrifying.”

Around back, participants in the West Texas Big Bobcat Contest were weighing their kill in a competition to see who had shot the biggest bobcat and the most coyotes, gray foxes and bobcats in a 23-hour period. Some $76,000 in prize money was at stake — more than $31,000 went to the team that bagged a 32 pound bobcat. Other jackpot winners were a four-man team that killed 63 foxes, a team that killed 8 bobcats, and another that killed 32 coyotes.

Photo of Geoff Nemnich of Coyote Craze with his sons

Lloyd, a retired lawyer who lives in Galveston, grew up in the South among hunters and says she’s not opposed to killing animals for food or to protect a herd.

“This is not hunting,” she said. “This is a blood sport, plain and simple.”

Contests like these — often called coyote calling contests, varmint hunts or predator hunts — have become popular events, especially in the Midwest and West. The website CoyoteContest.com lists 21 states with upcoming or recent killing contests, including Arizona, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, South Dakota and Utah.

The Big Bobcat competition in San Angelo, Texas started in 2008 with just 21 teams, but drew 380 teams to the contest last month. “They’re growing exponentially,” said Geoff Nemnich, a champion coyote hunter who is cashing in on the phenomenon. His website, Coyote Craze, exhorts visitors to “Feed Your Addiction” and offers videos of coyotes being dispatched by high-powered weapons, along with t-shirts that read “Coyotes Fear Me,” and depict dead coyotes hanging by their feet. “Almost every weekend you can find [a contest] somewhere within driving distance,” he said.

Dead coyotes at the West Texas Big Bobcat Contest

But as these contests proliferate, efforts to stop them are, too. In December, California Fish and Game Commission outlawed contests that award prizes for killing wildlife (the ban takes effect in April). Legislation to bar such contests passed the New Mexico state senate but died in the house. In Nevada, a petition to prohibit predator-killing contests is pending before the state Board of Wildlife Commissioners. And protesters blasting the events as indiscriminate slaughter have been demonstrating outside of contests and related events, like the Predator Masters convention in Arizona in January.

Wildlife defenders cite research that suggests killing adult coyotes may actually increase the population, since it allows more pups to survive. Predators like coyotes also fill an important role in the ecosystem by helping keep the population of rodents in check.

Jeremy Harrison, a fifth-generation rancher, organized the Big Bobcat contest in Texas. He said coyote contests do a public service by reducing the number of livestock predators and protecting the public from rabies. “This is not bashing baby seals in the head,” he said.

To those who are offended, he has simple advice: Butt out. “It’s none of their business. It has nothing to do with them,” he said. “It’s one of the best things about this beautiful state of Texas. We have 100 percent support from Texas and from the local people. If they don’t like it, they can just stay away from it.”

Opponents of these events call people like Harrison “thrill killers.” And there is a jarring sort of gleefulness that surrounds the slaughter — one Arizona group holds a Santa Slay hunt in December each year. Nemnich posts excerpts from his videos, which are sold at Cabela’s and similar stores, on YouTube. Set to stirring martial music, one sizzle reel shows coyote after coyote being called and then gunned down.

Photo of Margaret Lloyd

Nemnich, who said his videos portray hunting “in the best light possible”, encourages others not to post “distasteful” images because it will provoke animal rights groups or turn people who are neutral against hunting. “You don’t go and post a video of a coyote with his guts blown out on Facebook,” he said. “It just fuels the fire.”

Nemnich, who boasts on his website that two of his sons bagged their first coyotes at the age of five, said he gets a steady stream of hate mail. One message said his kids should be “gut shot” like the coyotes in the video. (“And I’m the barbarian?” he said.) He thinks the critics of coyote killing contests have a bigger agenda — to ban hunting altogether. “We’re killing animals for money and prizes. That’s the easiest way for them to get their foot in the door,” he said.

Both Nemnich and Harrison pointed out that the federal government kills thousands of coyotes each year. They said the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services division uses much less “sportsmanlike” means, such as poisons and leg-hold traps.

Contests are completely legal, Nemnich said. “Some may consider it ethically wrong, but hunting has been around forever, it’s who we are out in this part of the country.”

Lloyd stopped to take pictures of the bobcat contest while driving from New Mexico back to Texas.

She said the spectacle was sickening, not a source of pride. With a breaking voice she said, “It was a sight and a situation that I’ll never shake for the rest of my life. I will never forget what I saw. A parking lot of absolute death at the hands of a civilized society.” She paused, and then corrected herself: “A supposedly civilized society.”

Photos of the winners of the West Texas Big Bobcat Contest, February 2014

Myron Levin and Stuart Silverstein contributed to this story.

Correction: An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated that the Santa Slay event is in New Mexico. It takes place in Arizona.

– See more at: http://www.fairwarning.org/2015/03/mowing-down-coyotes-bobcats-and-foxes-for-fun-and-profit/#sthash.uqKtzwU2.dpuf

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