Take Action Home >

End Brutal Carnivore Hunting Contests

29,287 signatures toward our 50,000 Goal

58.57% Complete

Sponsor: The Animal Rescue Site

Virginia has hosted more than 60 killing contests that target coyotes and other wildlife for cash and prizes since 2015


Virginia's wildlife is managed in trust for all Virginians, yet this trust is being broken by state-sanctioned killing contests. Participants kill coyotes for thrills and prizes, with no respect for their intrinsic or ecological value.

Wildlife targeted by contests play an important ecological role in healthy ecosystems. For example, coyotes reduce rabbit and rodent populations, scavenge animal carcasses, and increase biodiversity1.

These contests are billed as a method of population control, but there is no scientific evidence that indiscriminately killing coyotes reduces their populations, increases populations of game animals like deer, or protects livestock. Randomly killing coyotes actually disrupts their pack structure, which can increase their populations and increase conflicts between coyotes, humans, and domestic animals2.

Preventing conflicts by utilizing humane, non-lethal solutions is more effective.

Killing contests damage the reputation of responsible hunters by violating fundamental hunting ethics. Countless animals are injured or orphaned during killing contests. The events also put non-target species at risk3.

"We have heard some of these people say they can't even use the fur because their gun blows them away and the wounds are so significant. So, it's not about anything else other than getting as many as they can and dumping the bodies," says Kitty Block, CEO, and President of the Humane Society of the United States4.

The HSUS was behind a narrowly passed proclamation condemning predator hunting competition by Kalamazoo, Mich. County Commissioners and a ban in Ann Arbor on selling items made with fur5.

Eight states have prohibited wildlife killing contests, while still allowing legal hunts for coyotes and other wildlife according to state laws. Legislative efforts are pending in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Oregon. In some cases contests have been cancelled due to public pressure; in others they were outlawed as a form of illegal gambling (betting on the winning participants and the number of kills, raffles, prizes)6. The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Board (WRC) also recently voted 10-1 to advance a regulation prohibiting wildlife killing contests to a public comment period.

It is estimated that around 600 of these contests take place yearly around the country. Pennsylvania has the most contests, nearly 50, with New York coming in second with at least 296.

Help us ask the Virginia DWR to enact similar regulatory prohibition on hunting contests. Sign the petition and ask Virginia state legislators re-introduce and pass House Bill 12477 to ban these killing contests!

More on this issue:

  1. Cook County Urban Coyote Research Project (2021), "Coyote Relationships with Other Animal Species."
  2. Project Coyote (7 July 2021), "VA Residents: Next Steps to Ban Wildlife Killing Contests in Virginia!"
  3. Project Coyote, "Why Killing Coyotes Doesn't Work."
  4. Scott Taylor, ABC13 News (9 February 2022), "'Killing Contest' bill to ban hunting contests in Virginia will not move forward."
  5. Ken Perrotte, The Free Lance-Star (25 August 2021), "Proposal to ban predator hunting contests strikes a nerve."
  6. Harry Hovel, Ph.D., New York State Humane Association, "The Tragedy of Wildlife Killing Contests."
  7. Virginia General Assembly, Division of Legislative Automated Systems (20 January 2022), "HB 1247 Coyotes or fur-bearing animals; prohibition of killing contests and competitions."
To Top

The Petition:

Dear Virginia State Legislators and members of the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources,

Virginia's wildlife is supposed to be managed in trust for all Virginians, yet this trust is being broken by state-sanctioned killing contests.

In these horrific events, animals are shot with modified AR-15s, leaving their brains blown out or their guts hanging out in front of children running around watching the whole scene.

Some of the fur retailers the carcasses are later given to say they can't even use the fur because the gun wounds are so significant.

These contests are billed as a method of population control, but there is no scientific evidence that indiscriminately killing coyotes reduces their populations, increases populations of game animals like deer, or protects livestock. Randomly killing coyotes actually disrupts their pack structure, which can increase their populations and increase conflicts between coyotes, humans, and domestic animals.

Moreover, wildlife targeted by contests play an important ecological role in healthy ecosystems. For example, coyotes reduce rabbit and rodent populations, scavenge animal carcasses, and increase biodiversity.

I ask that you re-introduce and pass House Bill 1247 to ban these killing contests!

Sincerely,

To Top

Signatures: