It is shameful that the state of Georgia is encouraging its citizens to kill coyotes in order to obtain a free hunting license. The Georgia Coyote Challenge lasts for six months and is being sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources.
Killing contests are unsporting and cruel. These events violate the hunting principles of fair chase and respect for animals and their habitats. Sponsors and organizers of the event reward contestants with cash and prizes for killing the most animals or the largest ones they can. Competitive and indiscriminate killing of live animals for “fun” or prizes is unethical.
Killing coyotes disrupts their social structure, which encourages more breeding and migration and, in the end, results in more coyotes.
Additionally, coyotes’ favorite prey consists of rodents and rabbits. Studies show that coyotes balance their ecosystems, and have trophic cascade effects such as indirectly protecting ground-nesting birds from smaller carnivores.
Allowing this blood sport to continue gives hunters and wildlife agencies a black eye and sends a dangerous message to our youth that killing is fun.
Gratuitously slaughtering animals for thrills and prizes is out of step with our current understanding of ecosystems and the important role each species plays.
The DNR should cancel the Georgia Coyote Challenge as it puts a blot on our state. Unethical, unscientific and ineffective contests do not reflect fair sportsmanship.
—Steve Cody, Roswell