Undercover Investigation At Wildlife Killing Contest In Illinois Reveals That More Than 400 Coyotes Were Killed For Cash & Prizes

Photos by HSUS

Today, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released the shocking results of a February 2023 undercover investigation at Nuggets Night Vision Coyote Hunt, a wildlife killing contest in Mendon, Illinois.

The HSUS investigator attended the weigh-in event that followed the 45-hour killing period, during which roughly 86 participants gunned down at least 405 coyotes. At the weigh-in, participants gathered to compete for $15,000 in prize money among piles of dead coyotes.

The investigator revealed that prizes were awarded to teams that killed the most, the heaviest, and the smallest coyotes at just 17 pounds. The three-man team were crowned “champions” for most coyotes slaughtered, 49 in total, with second place bringing in 27 coyotes killed.

The investigation shows that teams brought dead coyotes across state lines from Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Wisconsin. At least one coyote from Kansas appeared to have had severe mange. The bodies were not checked for diseases and diseased animals were not disqualified from the contest. Mange is highly contagious and can easily spread to other wildlife, domestic dogs, and people.

“Wildlife killing contests are an abomination and a disgrace,” Marc Ayers, Illinois state director for HSUS, said in a statement. He further noted that Illinois is among the 10 worst states when it comes to wildlife killing contests, with at least 28 competitions targeting coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and crows taking place in the state in 2022. “Destroying coyotes for sadistic fun, games, and cash does not reflect our state’s values. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources must take a stand and make our state the first in the Midwest to ban this cruel, unnecessary treatment of coyotes who provide vital balance to our ecosystem.”

The investigator documented participants unloading bloody coyote bodies and hanging them upside down to weigh. A young child helped load the carcasses, at times struggling under the weight of the bodies of the animals, while other young children stood nearby and watched. Coyotes who were ripped apart by bullets were thrown into piles and laid out in rows to display so participants could revel in their win.

“Watching truck after truck backing into the weigh station, and coyote after coyote, dripping with blood, being weighed, it was like a factory assembly line,” stated the undercover investigator for HSUS. “The stench of rotting flesh was so strong that people would step back when trucks with the bodies were opened. The ground was stained purple with blood, and people, including children, were walking through it with total disregard for potential disease transfer.”

On December 22, 2022, veterinarians and 18 organizations, led by HSUS, submitted a petition to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources requesting that the agency prohibit wildlife killing contests.

Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Vermont, and Washington have already banned the barbaric killing contests.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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