Panel won’t ban coyote killing contests in Sierra • Sacramento News & Review


By Carol Schaye

Coyote killing contests will continue in Nevada after the state Wildlife Commission narrowly voted against the contest ban.

Supporters say wildlife slaughter competitions – in which participants shoot as many coyotes as they can find in order to win rewards and other prizes – help wildlife conservation efforts. Supporters of a ban say competing is a barbaric practice that undermines the viability of the species.

The Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners rejected the ban proposal by a 5-4 vote on November 5. The regulations would have prohibited organizing, promoting or participating in contests or other competitions to capture or kill coyotes or other predatory or furbearing animals.

Competitions are “frivolous killings”

Photograph by Joshua Wilking

Commissioner Tiffany East said at least one Nevada lawmaker has committed to taking the issue to the Nevada Legislature if the Wildlife Council does not impose a ban. At the recent meeting, some commissioners said they suspected lawmakers also considering changing the makeup of the panel, which is made up of seven hunters and two non-hunters of the public.

East, along with Commissioners Dave McNich, Alana Wise and Jon Almberg voted in favor of the ban. Commissioners Shane Rogers, Casey Kiel, Tom Barnes, Tommy Caviglia and Ron Pierini voted against the proposal.

At the meeting, Tony Wasley, director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife, spoke out in favor of ending the killing contests. Wasley noted that he is a hunter, but that Nevada’s wildlife is owned by all citizens of the state “and that” hunters are the extreme minority in Nevada. “

Wasley cited the North American model of wildlife conservation position that “contests are frivolous killings”. He said the panel should also take into account public opinion, which tends to oppose such contests.

In Nevada, coyotes are considered pests and can be killed on sight regardless of hunting seasons. Herders and rural residents say they are killing predators to protect livestock, deer herds and farm animals and pets.

“I fully support the people who protect their livestock, their pets, their families. … I don’t agree that the best way to do it is through these contests, ”Wasley said. “It’s not killing the coyotes that bothers me, it’s the way it’s done.”

Commissioner Wise agreed. “What the public wants, and it has become clear, most people don’t want these contests and coyote hunting will not be affected by the contest ban,” she said.

A culture shock

Photograph by Casey Horner

Still, supporters of continued competitions viewed the proposed ban as the start of a slippery slope to restrict or ban other types of hunting or fishing, including fishing competitions. In addition, they argue, the competitions have become a traditional social event in rural areas.

The panel’s failure to end the competitions has drawn fire from some conservationists.

“It’s a scandal, especially since the public overwhelmingly opposes these terrible competitions,” said Patrick Donnelly, Nevada state director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The commissioners are supposed to protect Nevada’s wildlife, but they have succumbed to the wishes of a handful of sick individuals who take pleasure in slaughtering animals indiscriminately.”

Donnelly noted that the Department of Wildlife’s own scientists expressed opposition to the competitions, but the commission canceled them.

“The commission, which is primarily made up of white men who hunt, is not representative of the Nevadans,” Donnelly said. “The legislator must seriously consider overhauling the composition of the commission, or abolishing it completely and giving management power to the Ministry of Wildlife.

Prohibitions elsewhere

Photograph by Ben Mater

California banned coyote slaughter contests in 2014. Since then, Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Vermont have banned coyote, fox, and bobcat slaughter contests. and other species. Washington State and Oregon are also considering banning contests.

In 2015, the Nevada Wildlife Commission considered a public petition to end the competitions, but dismissed the petition as incomplete. A more specific petition resurfaced later that year, but was not adopted. The following year some of the commissioners drafted a policy, but it was not a binding regulation. In 2019, a bill to ban competitions was submitted to a state Senate committee, but died there.

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