We did it! The ban on coyote killing contests (H.636) in Vermont is a done deal!
It was a long, hard, fight but we never stopped despite powerful opposition, including paid lobbyists at the Statehouse.
Wildlife Killing Contests in Vermont
Coyotes are pursued by packs of hounds to the point of exhaustion. Often times the coyote ends up injured and left cornered and ultimately attacked by dogs and killed by the "hunter."
WHAT YOU CAN DO
✔️ Post your land in protest of killing contests.
✔️Write Commissioner Louis.Porter@vermont.gov, with the Fish & Wildlife Committee on copy at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask if they'll support future legislation to stop coyote killing contests and the open season.
✔️ Write your legislators and ask them if they'll support future legislation to stop wildlife killing contests. Find them here: https://legislature.vermont.gov/people/
✔️ Write your local Fish & Wildlife Board member and ask if they'll advocate for legislation to ban coyote killing contests. You can find your rep here.
✔️ Share this notification with your community and urge them to take the above actions. Front Porch Forum is a great way to get the message out.
POW email to Fish & Wildlife Commissioner concerning coyote killing contests | 12.24.17
They have not responded as of Jan. 3, 2018
I'm sure you're aware that a statewide coyote killing contest is scheduled for the month of February with a gun being awarded to the contestant with the highest accrued weight, which incentivizes killing as many coyotes as one can. What is equally alarming are the comments from Vermont coyote killers (I won't refer to them as hunters) on VCCC's Facebook page. I've attached a sampling that was provided to me from yesterday (contains profane language.)
You often say that it's just "a few bad apples" that we're dealing with, but that is not the case. The loathing towards coyotes and the gross misunderstanding towards them in general, including their impact on the deer herd and the compensatory reproductive response to unregulated killing, is glaringly clear on social media.
I know that VT residents have emailed you to ask why the Department has not taken a proactive approach in responding to a culture that is so deeply entrenched in hatred towards these animals. It seems that you're unwilling to address this issue and so it continues to fester and these "hunters" are emboldened to continue killing every coyote they see. An educational/outreach program, starting with youngsters, would help Vermont defuse this violent underbelly of VT's hunting culture. This outreach may take years, decades, to make a difference, but it must be done. To continue to allow people to bash coyote puppies with tree branches and brag about it on Facebook and turn a blind eye to young men who are right now rallying their buddies to kill as many coyotes as they can to win a gun, will only turn the general public against hunting in general. As of yesterday evening, POW has had two landowners, one in Bristol and the other in Wolcott, ask for help posting their land in protest of this statewide killing contest.
It should not be the sole responsibility of wildlife advocacy organizations like VCCC, POW, HSUS, GMAD, or any other group, to take the lead on educating the public on coyotes - it should come from your Department. This should be an area of common ground and yet we continue to receive push back. Your Department seems to be going against its own adherence to the NAM that dictates that wildlife should only be killed for a legitimate purpose. Many of these coyotes will end up being left to rot in the woods - carcasses shot up with bullet holes don't pull in much money at fur auctions. Even those pelts that are prime aren't pulling in much money with the degraded fur market.
I look forward to hearing back when your schedule allows.
Protect Our Wildlife POW
Social Media Comments about Coyote Hunting