BOSTON (WWLP) – After hearing complaints from the public, the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife has started the process to ban hunting contests for coyotes.
During several listening sessions in communities across the Commonwealth, conservation officials came to an agreement that coyote hunting contests are a cruel way to control the wildlife population.
In the last 10 years, the annual Coyote Harvest accounted for less than 10 percent of the state’s population and in order to reduce the state’s coyote population, the annual harvest would have to be at least 70 percent.
President of the Fairview Sportsman’s Club in Granby, Tom Anderson, told the Berkshire Eagle their club held coyote contests in an effort to control the population.
Some felt if the contests aren’t negatively impacting the population, they aren’t so problematic.
Josiah Peters of Springfield told 22News, “We have a lot of coyotes, as long as they are not getting to the point where it is extinct, I don’t think the competitions are a bad idea. If there are too many competitions, then it’s a bad idea because they’re dying off faster than they can repopulate.”
The regulations in the bill would make it illegal for a person to “organize, sponsor, promote, conduct, or participate” in a hunting contest for several species of animals like bobcat, red fox, mink, skunk, and river otter.
The bill, however, would not impact the regular coyote hunting season which runs from January 1 to March 8 and again from October 18 to March 7.
The Fisheries and Wildlife Board has decided to hold a public hearing on the regulations, but they have not scheduled it yet.