Legislation aimed at banning coyote-hunting competitions in New Mexico has cleared its first legislative hurdle.
Feb. 16, 2017, at 1:04 p.m.
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on wildlife bills pending in the New Mexico Legislature (all times local):
Legislation aimed at banning coyote-hunting competitions in New Mexico has cleared its first legislative hurdle.
The majority of the Senate Conservation Committee gave the bill a do-pass recommendation during a packed hearing Thursday. The measure must win approval from two more committees before reaching the Senate floor for a vote.
The bill sponsored by Democrat Sen. Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces would outlaw coyote-killing contests after a number of recent competitions drew anger from animal rights advocates. The bill would not prevent landowners from hunting the predators on their property.
Ranchers and outfitters from around the state argued that the contests can be a tool for managing packs of coyotes that threaten cattle and sheep.
Supporters of the legislation called the practice barbaric and questioned whether there were any scientific benefits.
A Senate committee has tabled a proposal to significantly shift the mission of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
The legislation sponsored by Democrat Sen. Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces would give the department the authority to manage all wildlife as a public resource rather than managing game animals and fish for recreation and food as currently provided under law.
The measure also would give the gubernatorial appointees of the Game Commission authority over all wildlife rather than just game species.
The department argues that the legislation would effectively add another 6,000 species to the list of animals it’s responsible for managing, costing millions of dollars more each year.
Game and Fish Director Alexa Sandoval called the measure an unfunded mandate, noting that the department’s work is funded by sportsmen through licenses and other fees.
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.
Published: 3:00 am
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.
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.
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. http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/
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. http://www.predatordefense.org
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. http://www.humanesociety.org
Oregon Wild: Protecting Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife, and waters for future generations. http://www.oregonwild.org
Northeast Oregon Ecosystems works to protect and expand Oregon’s wildlife and wildlife habitat.
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.
Despite their legality, the hunts are still offensive, protesters say.
3 dead wolves found dumped in northern Minnesota ditch; poaching suspected
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 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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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
“This morally suspect male-bonding event is ecologically indefensible”
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.