Coyote hunting contest returns and angers animal rights activists

The Toronto Wildlife Center vows to shut it down; the organizer says he has received death threats

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The return of a month-long coyote hunt organized by an outdoor store in Belleville has outraged animal rights groups and again demanded that Ontario step in to shut it down.

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“Unfortunately, this horrible contest is set to take place again this year,” the Toronto Wildlife Center wrote on its Facebook page. “The contest awards a total of $2,500 in cash and prizes for the top 5 weights of coyotes that are senselessly killed.”

Opponents call it an ‘inhuman event’ which violates Section 11 of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.

The legislation specifically states that “a person shall not hunt for wages, gain or expectation of gain”.

But the wildlife center says the Chesher Outdoor Store was able to continue by loosely changing the contest rules.

The coyote hunting contest runs from February 1 to 28.

Closing of registrations on Monday.

Participants paid $20 to participate.

Store owner Billy Chesher wrote on his Facebook page that he had received “screaming phone calls and threats of violence, death, arson against people weighing in their coyotes that they had legally hunted “.

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The Ontario Anglers and Hunters Association supported Chesher’s right to run the contest.

The organizers changed the rules last year due to provincial legislation.

“Based on consultation with MNR, we need to modify our contest to exclude the prize per coyote as well as the prize for the most coyotes. Both were determined to promote a bounty,” they wrote.

Prizes and money will be based on the size and weight of coyotes hunted.

The Toronto Wildlife Center says it has been joined by The Fur-Bearers and Coyote Watch Canada in opposing the hunt.

“Not only does this contest threaten the lives of coyotes for no reason, but it also threatens Algonquin wolves, a species at risk that almost resembles eastern coyotes,” the wildlife center said.

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The Fur-Bearers encourage people to write to Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry Minister Greg Rickford.

The hunt organizer wrote that he faced aggressive opposition last year.

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“We have chosen not to press charges or seek compensation for property damage,” Chesher wrote.

“My view of the past year has changed after the slew of death threats, bodily harm, arson and other forms of property damage that are simply not warranted. These types of actions will not be tolerated this year.

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