Around New England

No More Coyote-Hunting Contests, Says Massachusetts Wildlife Agency

December 19, 2019

The state Fisheries and Wildlife Board of Massachusetts has voted to prohibit hunting contests for “predators and furbearers.”

Such animals include, “coyote, bobcat, red fox, gray fox, weasels, mink, skunk, river otter, muskrat, beaver, fisher, raccoon and opossum,” according to MassLive.

The vote came after backlash surrounding Powderhorn Outfitters’ first annual coyote killing contest on Cape Cod in January 2018. The Hyannis retailer held a second contest earlier this year which ended in March, according to the Cape Cod Times.

Cash prizes were awarded to hunters who killed the largest coyotes and for those whose combined killings had the highest total weight.

Similar contests occurred in Granby and Pittsfield, Massachusetts in recent years, according to New England Public Radio.

“It’s good news and I’m glad to see action was taken,” state Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) told the Cape Cod Times. “We were able to end these wildlife killing contests in the commonwealth and to make sure that we have scientific based wildlife management.”

Neighboring Vermont as well as California, New Mexico and Arizona already had similar laws on the books, preventing killing contests from these types of animals, according to New England Public Radio.

In 2014, California outlawed awarding prizes for killing non-game mammals and furbearers.

Last year, Vermont specifically outlawed coyote killing contests and New Mexico did the same earlier this year. 

In addition, earlier this year Arizona outlawed contests for predatory and fur-bearing species.

In addition to banning contests, the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board outlawed leaving “wanton waste” of birds and game animals killed during hunting season. 

That means hunters are not allowed to “intentionally or knowingly leave a wounded or dead animal or bird in the field or the forest without making a reasonable effort to retrieve and use it.”

These regulations will become law once MassWildlife officials ratify them and they are filed with Secretary of the Commonwealth Bill Galvin’s office.

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