SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state game commission on Wednesday declined to intervene in a controversial coyote hunting contest, although members did ask for a legal opinion on whether the board has authority to regulate contests in the future.
Hunters are set to fan across Modoc County on Saturday and Sunday to see who can kill the most coyotes in a contest sponsored by a gun club. The winner will get a silver belt buckle.
Animal welfare advocates argued before the Fish and Game Commission that the hunt is inhumane, and wanton slaughter is contrary to scientific wildlife management practices that show the predators play an important vermin-control role in the ecosystem.
"It's ethically indefensible and suggests wildlife has no value other than targets in an outdoor shooting gallery," said Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote.
Fish and Wildlife Director Chuck Bonham said it's legal in California for hunters to kill wildlife that causes crop or livestock damage.