Coyote pups and their mothers are targeted disproportionately.
An annual contest called the Wyoming Coyote Classic is taking place this year and animal advocates are putting pressure on the Bureau of Land Management to put a stop to the event. Officially, the contest infringes on federal land, which organizers do not have special permits needed for commercial and competitive events.
However, under the surface are, of course, concerns for the coyotes, other wildlife, and the surrounding natural resources at risk with these types of contests. Since there are no limits to the number of coyotes a group can kill and people are often awarded with prizes for most coyotes killed, biggest coyote killed, etc., there’s no saying how many deaths will occur in the upcoming contest.
While it’s already sad that many adult coyotes will die and suffer for the entertainment of humans, what’s even more tragic is that nursing pups and their moms are not only fair game but they’re routinely targeted. Under the illusion that coyote populations must be controlled, participants track down the small families, who also make easy targets, in order to curb the growing population by taking out moms and future generations.
Unfortunately, “Because coyote hunting is not regulated in many states, coyotes are an easy target for these types of contests,” Andrea Santarsiere, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, told The Dodo.
Since coyote hunting isn’t regulated, the next best option for animal advocates to stop these attacks is to question the permits obtained (or not) by organizers, but BLM isn’t showing any concern for this issue. In response to outrage over the event, BLM responded by saying that because the hunt doesn’t officially start or end on federally-managed land, they don’t require permits. This has not been the case in other instances, so the Center for Biological Diversity continues to question why BLM won’t take action in this case.
Aside from the devastating aspect of killing coyotes for fun, there are other risks involved with this hunt. Though the hunt promotes “predator diversity,” studies have shown that killing coyotes and wolves for population control often backfires. After killing the dominant male in a pack, researchers have seen that the number of pups born in that pack afterwards can double.
In addition to not controlling the population, many are worried that because hunters move so quickly in an effort to kill as many coyotes as possible that they could accidentally shoot a dog, other wild animals, or another human in haste.
It’s unclear whether the first hunt, which was scheduled for Saturday, January 7th, actually occurred but the lack of news on its cancellation means it likely went through. If this is the case, hopefully it didn’t claim as many lives as it did last year—which was 91 coyotes. The second event is scheduled for February 4th, and animal advocates are hoping to persuade BLM to force organizers to cancel this event because of a lack of permits by that time. To help, you can sign this petition to put pressure on BLM and completely eliminate coyote hunting contests in Wyoming.
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