The Hidden War on Wildlife:
KILLING CONTESTS IN NORTH AMERICA
Most Americans are shocked to learn that each year thousands of coyotes, foxes, bobcats, prairie dogs, crows, and even wolves are targeted in “wildlife killing contests” where contestants win prizes and awards for killing the most or largest of a given species. These contests, largely unmonitored by state and federal wildlife agencies, are legal throughout the United States and often occur on our public lands.
To expose this barbaric practice, Project Coyote is producing a film to raise awareness and to inspire action to end this cruel and senseless slaughter of America’s native wildlife. We will interview preeminent social and ecological scientists, ranchers and government officials, debunking the myths used to perpetuate these killing contests and highlighting a successful grassroots effort that banned the awarding of prizes and inducements for killing non-game and furbearing mammals in California. We will demonstrate how killing contests contravene the fundamental tenants of the North American Model of Wildlife Management and the Public Trust Doctrine. Project Coyote Advisory Board member, actor, author, narrator and conservationist Peter Coyote will also serve as a spokesperson in the film. Watch this film trailer for a message from Peter:
In order to successfully complete this film, we need funds for production, promotion and distribution. Funds will also be used toward litigation, legislation, policy change, public and media outreach, and grassroots organizing against killing contests. Please help us finish and distribute this film, expose the cruelty, and build a wider grassroots effort to end killing contests and reform predator management nationwide! Your donation in any amount will make all the difference.
Peter Coyote Project Coyote Advisory Board Actor, author, narrator & conservationist
Each year thousands of coyotes, foxes, bobcats, wolves and other wild animals are killed in senseless “competitions” throughout North America. Those who kill the most and the largest animals win prizes including cash, guns, and belt buckles. These “tournaments,” or “derbies,” are often held on public lands. Children as young as ten are encouraged to participate, and social media pages show them posing with assault rifles beside the bodies of the animals they killed. These contests send a chilling message that killing is fun, wild animals are disposable, and life is cheap.
When most people first hear about wildlife killing contests, they are outraged to learn that these barbaric, unnecessary slaughters exist. This is killing for fun. The contests serve no ecological purpose; they are at odds with all principles of conservation biology and ecosystem-based management. Far from offering any beneficial management purpose, wildlife killing contests simply promote gratuitous violence, the destruction of countless magnificent and ecologically vital apex predators.
If more people knew that wildlife can be destroyed in unlimited numbers in such contests, it would be easier to convince policy makers to put an end to this practice. The only way to inspire action is to Expose, Educate and Empower; our proposed film will be widely distributed as an essential tool in the fight to ban killing contests across North America. Please help us end this barbarity!
Thank you for your Support!
CAMPAIGN TARGETS & MILESTONES:
ARIZONA: Project Coyote helped garner national attention to “Predator Master’s” national convention in Arizona that glorifies and promotes predator killing contests. Subsequently, Tucson City Council members championed a resolution condemning Predator Masters and encouraged that group to find another home for their organized predator hunts. The resolution passed unanimously. Grassroots momentum is building to press for state legislation to ban killing contests.
CALIFORNIA: Project Coyote led a successful campaign to close the loopholes on wildlife killing contests in California. On February 5, 2014, Project Coyote petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission (CAFGC) to prohibit prizes and inducements for killing wildlife. The CAFGC voted 4 to 1 on December 3, 2014 making it unlawful to offer any prize or other inducement as a reward for the taking of any non-game mammal or furbearer in an individual contest, tournament, or derby. This vote set a precedent for the rest of the nation.
NEVADA: On March 20th, Project Coyote supporters pressed for a ban on coyote killing contests before the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commission. While the Commission failed to support the petition, momentum is building to seek a legislative ban and to reintroduce the petition before the Commission in the fall of 2015.
IDAHO: In response to a legal complaint filed by Project Coyote and conservation allies, the Bureau of Land Management canceled a permit allowing an anti-wolf organization to conduct a multi-year “predator derby” on more than 3 million acres of public lands in Idaho. The BLM received more than 90,000 public comments in opposition to the predator derby. We helped generate national media attention in the Associated Press and in Reuters (please also see Camilla Fox’s article about this in the Huffington Post here). Project Coyote and allies are pursuing litigation to stop killing contests on public lands.
NEW MEXICO: In early 2015 Project Coyote’s New Mexico Representative Judy Paulsen and Science Advisory Board member Dave Parsons worked with allies and two legislators in New Mexico to press for a ban on coyote killing contests through legislation. The bill – SB 253 – made it through the Senate but died in the House Ag. Committee. While the bill is now dead for 2015 the coalition is committed to reinvigorating this campaign, continuing to expand public awareness and to seeking a ban in the next legislative session.
OREGON: In 2014 through hard-fought litigation, Project Coyote and the Animal Legal Defense Fund successfully shut down the annual JMK Coyote Hunting Contest in Harney County, Oregon – one of the state’s largest coyote killing contests.