Urgent! Calling Washington Residents To Add Their Comments Today To Support The Ban On Wildlife Killing Contests Throughout The State

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Washington’s Fish and Wildlife Commission is set to consider a rule change that would end the bloodsport known as hunting contests.

As per a statement by The Mountain Lion Foundation, the Commission’s proposed rule is written to prevent what it calls “spree-killing contests,” the most common of which are coyote derbies, in which participants compete to kill the largest number of coyotes in order to win prizes like cash or rifles. Disgusting!

On drafting the proposed rule, the Commission wrote, “the Fish and Wildlife Commission has determined that hunting contests that encourage and reward killing large numbers of native wildlife are not consistent with sound wildlife management principles.”

Sanctioned, organized wildlife killing contests are uncommon in Washington, reflecting their unpopularity with the general public. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) claims it has issued permits for two hunting contests in 2019 and has never issued more than six in a single year.

Wildlife killing contests are widely viewed as unsportsmanlike and ethically questionable by conservationists and animal protection advocates. Six states have moved to ban the practice, the most recent being Colorado, which banned wildlife killing contests involving coyotes and other small species in April. New Mexico, Arizona, Massachusetts, Vermont, and California have passed similar bans or restrictions in recent years.

“We applaud the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commissioners and their thoughtful consideration of the proposed changes to the hunting contest rules,” Debra Chase, CEO of The Mountain Lion Foundation told WAN this morning. “Hunting contests have been banned in six other states, and Washington should join them.”

The proposed rule would bring Washington in line with the growing number of states that recognize wildlife killing contests as a cruel and excessive practice that is inconsistent with the general public’s values and does not contribute to wildlife management. It would prohibit the WDFW from issuing permits for wildlife killing contests.

A second proposed rule would make it illegal for anyone to participate in an unsanctioned, unlicensed hunting contest. Under current rules, only the organizer of an illegal hunting contest is guilty of a natural resources infraction.

Language in the proposed rule states, “applying accountability measures at the level of the individual participant and clearly stating that there could be a monetary penalty imposed on an individual who is in violation of this rule, helps strengthen the enforceability of these rules, thus increasing the likelihood of achieving the objective of the first proposal.”

The Commission will collect public comment on these proposed rules by midnight tomorrow, July 14th. 

Washington residents can submit written comment by completing the Commission’s online survey and answering YES to both questions. People can also send written comments by email to Coordinator@dfw.wa.gov (using the subject line: Re: CR-102 Hunting Contest Proposed Rulemaking)

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