Predator-Killing Derbies Go On in Idaho, Banned in California

A wolf- and coyote-killing contest took place during the first week of January in Idaho. The second annual “Predator Hunting Contest and Fur Rendezvous” was sponsored by a group named Idaho for Wildlife, whose primary objective is to advocate for hunters’ interests. According to event organizers, over 125 hunters competed for a $1,000 cash prize for the most coyotes and gray wolves killed. From January 1–4, according to reports, 30 coyotes were killed. As was the case in the inaugural contest, no wolves were reported killed.

Initially, the hunt was to take place on both Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and US Forest Service (USFS) lands within the state. However, in response to a lawsuit brought by a coalition of environmental groups, the BLM revoked the group’s permit to use BLM land and thus removed 3 million acres from the hunting contest—cutting the land area subject to the derby in half. The derby instead went forward on private and USFS lands.

In December, California’s Fish and Game Commission became the first state agency to ban such killing derbies. California Fish & Game Commission President Michael Sutton stated in a press release from Project Coyote (a non-profit group that AWI has partnered with on this issue), “‘Awarding prizes for wildlife killing contests is both unethical and inconsistent with our current understanding [of] natural systems. … Such contests are an anachronism and have no place in modern wildlife management.’” Project Coyote petitioned the commission earlier this year to stop the contests when a controversial coyote-killing contest in Modoc County threatened the survival of the one known gray wolf in California.