Legislation to ban the bloodsport introduced last week ~
Photos released of dumped coyote carcasses near Washburn

WASHBURN, Wisc. – A coalition of state and national wildlife conservation organizations have united to condemn this weekend’s 4th Annual Fur Bang! Coyote Hunt taking place near Washburn on February 14-17. Participants will compete to kill coyotes in this barbaric tournament sponsored by the Northern Outdoor Club. The teams that kill the highest combined weight of coyotes, the smallest coyote, and the largest coyote will win prizes. The participants will celebrate, count and weigh the bodies just 27 miles from where Wisconsin resident Paul DeMain found a pile of dumped coyote carcasses last year.

Wildlife killing contests like Fur Bang! and Moondog Madness–which took place in January and February this year in Sparta, Sauk City, and Cambria and resulted in the death of 155 coyotes–happen in great numbers in Wisconsin. The contests target a range of species including bobcats, coyotes, crows, foxes, opossums, pigeons, rabbits, and raccoons. Such events spurred Wisconsin State Senator Fred Risser to introduce a bill last week that would prohibit organizing and participating in competitions to kill wild animals for entertainment or prizes. The legislation has an exemption for fishing contests and does not prohibit hunting on public or private lands.

“Wildlife killing contests are a cruel stain on Wisconsin’s long legacy of conservation,” said Senator Fred Risser. “Not only are questionable tactics used to attract and kill the animals, but often, the animals are not used for any purpose after they are killed and their carcasses are left to rot.”

“We applaud Senator Risser for championing legislation to ban cruel and wasteful wildlife killing contests in Wisconsin,” said Camilla Fox, Founder and Executive Director of Project Coyote. “These competitions are no different than bloodsports like dogfighting and are ecologically and ethically indefensible.”

Photos have recently surfaced of decomposing coyote carcasses located on U.S. Forest Service (USFS) lands near the Washburn site of Fur Bang!. While the USFS and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources were unable to determine where the animals came from, it is common for wildlife killing contest participants to dump the dead bodies after the events are over.

Photo credit: Paul DeMain

“Altogether I found more than 60 coyote carcasses at the dump site before I quit counting,” said Paul DeMain, the Hayward resident who took the photos on April 29, 2018, near a popular hiking trail in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. “Killing and dumping wild animals is repugnant to living beings, life, and our coexistence with creation.”

“The animals killed in these contests are maligned but intrinsically, ecologically, and aesthetically valuable to the citizens and ecosystems of Wisconsin,” said Rachel Tilseth, Menomonie resident and Founder of Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin. “Ending this bloodsport is the right thing to do.”

A coalition of state and national groups are supporting Sen. Risser’s bill. If the legislation passes, Wisconsin will join California, which banned the awarding of prizes for furbearers and nongame mammals in 2014, and Vermont, which banned coyote killing contests in 2018.

The National Coalition to End Wildlife Killing Contests is working in a number of other states, including Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Oregon, to pass similar legislation in 2019.

* * * *

For more information on wildlife killing contests, visit the National Coalition to End Wildlife Killing Contests’ website here, a Coalition factsheet here, and a statement signed by more than 70 conservation scientists condemning coyote killing contests here.

Project Coyote, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Northern California, is a North American coalition of wildlife educators, scientists, ranchers, and community leaders promoting coexistence between people and wildlife, and compassionate conservation through education, science, and advocacy. For more information, visit ProjectCoyote.org

Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin TM (WODCW) was founded by Rachel Tilseth in 2011 to bring education and awareness for promoting wolf recovery of Wisconsin’s imperiled wolf. WODCW is a publication that provides all-things about wolves & wildlife, including: the latest news, original essays, original documentary film productions, and more for the public’s Education and Awareness. WODCW is made up of all volunteer writers. Respecting the role the Gray wolf plays in our world. WODCW is NOT a nonprofit organization.Wolves of Douglas County Wisconsin

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