Mass. bans coyote hunting contests

The state’s Fisheries and Wildlife Board voted Wednesday to ban coyote hunting contests.

The regulations will go into effect after they are signed administratively and filed with the secretary of state’s office.

The ban will prohibit hunting contests for “predators and furbearers,” which includes coyote, bobcat, red fox, gray fox, weasels, mink, skunk, river otter, muskrat, beaver, fisher, raccoon and opossum.

According to the board, the review of the state’s hunting rules was prompted by concern from outside groups over hunting contests.

On its website, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, or MassWildlife, wrote that the new rule “addresses public concerns that these hunting contests are unethical, contribute to the waste of animals, and incentivize indiscriminate killing of wildlife.”

California, Arizona, Vermont, and New Mexico have similar bans in place.

According to New England Public Radio, coyote hunting contests have been held in recent years in Granby and Pittsfield. A 2018 contest on Cape Cod drew protests from animal rights activists.

Laura Hagen, Massachusetts state director for the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement, “We thank MassWildlife for taking decisive action to ensure that the Commonwealth no longer supports such barbaric and wasteful killing of its treasured wildlife.”

The new rules also ban the “wanton waste” of birds and game animals that are legally killed during hunting season. That means a hunter cannot “intentionally or knowingly leave a wounded or dead animal or bird in the field or the forest without making a reasonable effort to retrieve and use it.”

Read the original article by Shira Schoenberg at here.

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