Tuesday, January 26, 2016

WI Coyote Hunt Faces Backlash For 'Bloodlust' And Accidental Endangered Wolf Shootings

Conservation groups have criticized hunters taking part in Wisconsin coyote-hunting competitions where prizes are awarded for various categories of kill.
By Lucy Uprichard | Jan 24, 2016 

Conservation groups have taken issue with a widely publicized coyote hunt in northern Wisconsin. (Photo : Getty Images) 
A controversial coyote-hunting competition in northern Wisconsin has attracted significant backlash from conservation groups and wildlife enthusiasts, according to the Associated Press. The contest started on Saturday in the town of Argonne.
Coyote hunting contests are common, with at least 80 formally listed as having taken place in the last year on the Coyote Contest website. Many more go on that are unlisted, according to the Associated Press. Prizes are generally awarded for the highest kill count or largest find, with hunters bringing in any number of coyotes from one to a dozen, according to the Associated Press.

While these hunts are common, wildlife preservation groups are concerned they glorifying the slaughter of animals beyond the stated goal of controlling the coyote population, according to the Associated Press. Melissa Smith, executive director of Friends of the Wisconsin Wolf, referred to the hunts as "senseless" and "bloodlust," according to the Associated Press.

Smith and others are also concerned these coyote hunts lead to accidental shooting of endangered wolves. Center of Biological Diversity conservation advocate Michael Robinson claims at least 19 endangered wolves have been mistaken for coyotes and shot since 2001, according to the Associated Press.

"It's a very disturbing trend," Robinson said, according to the Associated Press, "It's about body counts and it reduces living animals, living beings, it reduces them to a score."

Hunters taking part in the event told reporters that while this weekend's event is attracting particular attention, they are actually permitted to hunt coyotes all year round, according to the Associated Press. The Department of Natural Resources stated that hunting licenses will be checked for some and that fines may be applicable for anyone who shoots a wolf, according to Wisconsin Public Radio.