Letter to the Editor:
Unchecked wildlife killing contests are a growing trend locally and nationally, causing concern that the gruesome events flout traditions of fair chase hunting. For the second year in a row, wildlife advocates, scientists and NGOs on Cape Cod will hold an informative talk on coyotes and then join to protest a coyote killing contest held at Powderhorn Outfitters in Hyannis.
In 2017, Powderhorn Outfitters held the first 3 month long coyote killing contest. In the aftermath, citizens, scientists and NGOs expressed their outrage by forming a 20 member nationally and locally supported NGO and activist steering committee to end killing contests and reform laws.
"I find it outrageous that state Fish and Game Department's failure to curtail or stop the killing event has emboldened the gun club to extend the current 2018-19 contest to the entire hunting season from October-March, instead of 3 months," said organizer Louise Kane.
According to photo documentation on Powderhorn’s Facebook page, 48 coyotes have been entered into the contest to date. All but 13 of those are confirmed to be from Cape Cod. Published research from biologist, Dr. Jon Way's work on Cape Cod indicates that no more than 250-300 eastern coyotes/coywolves could live on Cape Cod given their documented space needs.
According to Way, immediate changes are needed in predator management, especially in regard to who gets to decide wildlife policies. "These hunting contests clearly show state fish and wildlife agencies are highly biased to the small minority of people that kill them rather than the great majority who want more protective laws and simply want to coexist with predators like coyotes."
While some contest participants claim to use the pelts or eat the animal’s meat, it is not clear what is done with the dead coyotes. At most killing contest events, the carcasses are discarded which runs counter to wanton waste provisions under many state game laws.
The protest is scheduled for 2 pm, February 16 in front of Powderhorn Outfitters, 210 Barnstable Rd, Hyannis. An educational presentation by Dr. Way on eastern coyotes will take place at noon, right before the protest, at International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), 290 Summer St, Yarmouth Port.
About the organizers: Louise Kane is a local activist and non practicing attorney who co-drafted the Carnivore Act and petitioned the National Seashore to end trophy carnivore hunting on public lands. Suzanne Ryan is a grant writer and local activist who has helped organize various public wildlife events, including the effort to keep Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable open. Both Kane and Ryan have sat on the steering committee of Carnivore Conservation Steering Committee. Kara Kennedy Duff is a manager at a local nonprofit. She also recently started, Cape Cod Animal Save, a chapter of the worldwide Save Movement.
About the speaker: Jon Way is a local carnivore biologist who has published more than 40 peer reviewed papers on eastern coyotes and has co-written the Carnivore Conservation Act.