Another coyote killing contest in Wisconsin has passed, but there are still many more to come, as predator hunters continue to announce more money and prizes being offered to kill public trust wildlife in Wisconsin and many other states. Sparky’s Bar & Grill hosted the “4th Annual Fur Bang!” Coyote and crow killing contest in Bayfield County, Wisconsin this past weekend. Organizers knew that more photos of gut shot coyotes would only turn the public off of competitive killing of wildlife, so when the contest ended at Sparky’s anyone not associated with the event was summarily kicked out of the bar so the weigh-in could commence.
Wolf Patrol contacted the organizers of the event last week, offering to meet and discuss our concerns with a coyote killing contest in federally protected gray wolf habitat, but the owners of Sparky’s Bar & Grill have made the decision to defend their contest and instead ejected Wolf Patrol founder Rod Coronado from the bar as soon as he set foot on their property. (Despite having been there the night previously enjoying a beer!)
We wanted to appeal to the owners to sponsor an event next year that would be nonlethal and inclusive of the entire wildlife loving community of Wisconsin, something like a photography contest. But, Sparky’s has chosen to continue to endorse coyote killing contests, so Wolf Patrol is now asking our followers to not patronize any establishment sponsoring wildlife killing contests, and to express your disapproval on the restaurant review page, Yelp. Let the world know that when you enter a bar like Sparky’s you are supporting the recreational slaughter of coyotes for prizes and money.
The weiner of the 4th Annual Fur Bang! was Bayfield County resident, Bill Mertig who killed four coyotes. This was his third time attending the Fur Bang! having taken second place last year. It is unknown how many crows were killed in the contest since organizers chose to go underground and kick out anyone but supporters from the otherwise advertised public event. Establishments like Sparky’s want tourist dollars, but if anyone is opposed to their sponsorship of coyote and crow killing, they will be ejected like Wolf Patrol and the 16 Wisconsin residents who peacefully came to observe the contest.
To the owners of Sparky’s and any other bar that sponsors coyote killing contests: as long as you are unwilling to allow any member of the public from witnessing your public coyote contest, Wolf Patrol is calling for a boycott of yours and any business that sponsors, supports and defends competitive killing of wildlife for fun.
Wolf Patrol began monitoring the Fur Bang! contest on Friday, February 15th, focusing on known wolf pack territory in the Bayfield Peninsula. On Saturday the 16th, while patrolling the territory of the Echo Valley wolf pack off of County Road “J” we encountered four trucks engaged in a coyote hunt off of Happy Hollow Road. The “hunters” had there trucks dispersed at intervals along the road with men in the road with shotguns. We observed the hound hunters attempting to retrieve a dog that was not responding to its shock collar or verbal calls. Once the hound was recovered, the hounders left the area of the Bayfield County Forest where we monitored them.
Coyote hunters in Wisconsin are allowed to use high-powered rifles at night as well as shoot from public roads, as long as the roads are unpaved and the are using shotguns with legally restricted shotshells, such as BB shot. Shotgun slugs and other rifles are prohibited from being used from the road. Hunting from roads in Wisconsin is the only way Wolf Patrol has ever documented hound hunters chasing coyotes. During the Fur Bang!, the hunting party we monitored hardly ever left their vehicles and only went into the woods when they had lost their dog. Otherwise, they waited on the road for the coyote to cross so it could be shot.
On Sunday, February 17th, sixteen Wisconsin residents including members of the Red Cliff Tribe (where the Echo Valley wolves live and are protected.) gathered in Washburn to vocalize their opposition to coyote killing contests in Wisconsin. Many of those in attendance (including Wolf Patrol members) are subsistence hunters who kill for food and are opposed to the wanton waste of Wisconsin wildlife occurring during Sparky’s Bar & Grill’s contest and other such events. Every single patron at Sparky’s who did not support coyote killing contests were told they had until 1:00pm to vacate the premises r the authorities would be called. This was despite the civil behavior of everyone in attendance. No one was carrying signs or hollering, they were simply there to witness the killing spree.
Since 2015, Wolf Patrol has been documenting cruel and illegal hound hunting practices such as the pursuit of coyotes with dogs in Wisconsin. When hunters are within their rights and obeying relevant game laws, they rarely care that we observe them. But when an establishment like Sparky’s chooses to make a public coyote killing contest private, you have to wonder what it is that they are hiding from the public.
You can be a part of the movement that ends coyote killing contests in Wisconsin once and for all! If you’re NOT a Wisconsin resident, send your email to Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest officials asking that wildlife killing contests be prohibited on OUR national forest lands. You can also write a Yelp review of Sparky’s Bar & Grill letting the world know why you do not support the business.
Send your email to Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest officials:
Here’s the Yelp link to write a review of Sparky’s Bar & Grill:
If you’re a Wisconsin resident, contact your elected officials and let them know you support Senator Fred Risser’s Senate Bill 30 that would end wildlife killing contests in Wisconsin. And please talk to your families, neighbors and friends and ask them to do the same. Wisconsin residents have the rare opportunity to actually end these cruel contests. Please help us send a message that offering money and prizes for wildlife killed is unethical and the practices employed by hound hunters to take coyotes is inhumane.
Look for your Rep here: https://legis.wisconsin.gov/
Wolf Patrol will continue to monitor coyote killing contests in Wisconsin throughout the winter. To follow our progress, please also visit our Facebook, YouTube & Vimeo channels at: Wolf Patrol