Illegal Coyote Hunt Returns to Ontario

An illegal coyote hunting contest is back. Each year, Chesher’s, a hunt shop near Belleville, Ontario, offers rewards for gunning down coyotes.

Coyote hunting contests are clearly cruel and irresponsible. And they are also illegal in Ontario. Provincial law forbids hunting for gain or bounty—unless a person or company receives a written permission from the province. Over the years, officials have consistently allowed the hunting contest to go ahead without this legally required authorization.

Animal Justice, Coyote Watch Canada, and The Fur-Bearers are already suing the province, and asking the courts to ensure the government respects the law. On December 14, 2022, we attended the Ontario Divisional Court to explain why these contests are illegal. While we wait for the judges’ decision, the hunt shop still announced their 2023 contest is going ahead.

Coyotes are a keystone species, commonly known as North America’s song dog, and are a vital part of ecosystems throughout Canada. They are highly intelligent dogs who care for their families in organized social structures. 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.

The government has historically failed to address illegal hunting contests. Concerned citizens and animal protection and environmental groups have been pushing for years for these killing contests to stop, and for officials to crack down on them. No one should be above the law! Please join us by sending a message to the Minister today, calling for the government to take action on illegal hunting contests!