KILLING CONTESTS ARE A BLIGHT
While bloodsports like dogfighting and cockfighting have been outlawed nationwide, thousands of native carnivores and other species—including bobcats, coyotes, crows, foxes, marmots, mountain lions, prairie dogs, rabbits, and raccoons—perish every year in killing contests across the country. In these barbaric events, contestants win prizes based on certain criteria, such as killing the greatest number or the largest of the targeted species.
Baseless Myths: Participants justify their killing by adhering to an outdated prejudice against target wildlife species that is rooted in fear and misunderstanding. Animals historically viewed as vermin are common victims of killing contests because there are almost no laws protecting them.
Counterproductive to Sound Wildlife Management: Mass killing of native carnivores disregards the critical role that these species play in healthy ecosystems and creates chaos in the family structures of the targeted species, which may result in increased conflicts with livestock, pets, and people.
Cruel and Unsporting: Most sportsmen and sportswomen oppose wildlife killing contests. Countless animals are injured or orphaned during these events. The use of lures and distress calls—devices that mimic the sounds of prey or even the cries of young animals in distress—to attract target animals into shooting range for an easy kill removes any notion of the fundamental hunting ethic of “fair chase.”
Gratuitous Violence: Most of the animals killed in these contests are not used for their meat—they are merely seen as a life to kill and their carcasses are dumped after the events. A 2018 undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States showed wildlife killing contest participants piling up coyotes and foxes they had killed to be judged for prizes, and laughing and posing for photos in front of the dead animals. In many contests, young children are encouraged to participate, and hunting equipment and high-powered rifles—including AR-15s—are awarded as raffle prizes.
Violation of the Public Trust Doctrine: This doctrine is a foundational judicial principle mandating that governments hold natural assets, including wildlife, in trust for the general public and future generations—not for exploitation by the few.