Animal Justice is sounding the alarm over a coyote hunting contest taking place throughout the month of February. The annual contest, held by Chesher’s Outdoor Store near Belleville, Ontario, includes thousands of dollars in cash and prizes for contest participants who kill coyotes. Prizes will be awarded for the top five heaviest animals killed.
Animal Justice strongly opposes this contest, given that it promotes the senseless killing of coyotes for sport. Coyotes are a keystone species, commonly known as North America’s song dog, and are a vital part of ecosystems throughout Canada. They are one of the most persecuted animals in North America, and can lawfully be hunted 365 days a year in much of Ontario without restriction on the number of animals killed.
The coyote hunting contest also poses a risk to Algonquin wolves – a threatened species of wolf who are nearly identical in appearance to coyotes. Algonquin wolf habitat includes areas in which coyotes are commonly hunted.
In addition to being bad for coyotes and Algonquin wolves, the contest also appears to be illegal. That’s because section 11 of Ontario’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act states that “except with the authorization of the Minister” it is illegal to hunt for “gain or the expectation of gain”, “induce another person to hunt for gain”, or “pay or accept a bounty.” Despite repeated requests from Animal Justice, other concerned groups and individuals, and members of the media neither the Store nor the Minister have suggested that written authorizations have been issued to allow this contest to proceed.
Animal Justice is working with a number of other animal protection and environmental groups that are concerned about this hunting contest. Together, we are pushing the Minister to follow the law and stop this contest once and for all.
Please take a moment to take action and tell Ontario’s Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources, and Forestry that killing contests like this are cruel, harmful to ecosystems, and illegal under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.
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