As wildlife killing contest season continues across America, many more competitions are scheduled that allow the use of hunting dogs to chase, corner and kill coyotes. Many states like Wisconsin and Michigan prohibit the allowance of dogs to fight, main or kill their prey, but the practice is still widespread as recent evidence uncovered by Wolf Patrol reveals.
In early January 2020, the private Facebook page, “Coyote Hunting with Hounds” held a cover photo contest, asking for “tasteful” submissions of photos from hound hunters across the country who enjoy the sport of hunting coyotes with the aid of hunting dogs.
Every photo in this article is from the Facebook page, “Coyote Hunting with Hounds” and gives you an idea of the level of dog-fighting and cruelty involved with each hound hunt for an animal that cannot escape the pursuit of dogs.
Many coyote hunters use the term “stretching” to describe their hunting dogs ability to literally bite, attack, and tear apart live prey. It is not a term used disparagingly, rather one used with pride, to describe the hunting ability strived for when training dogs to pursue coyotes.
Remember, most hound hunts for coyote take place in winter when water temperatures are near or below freezing. Still, many hound hunters allow their dogs to attack coyotes who have retreated into freezing waters to escape being torn apart by a pack of hounds.
This weekend will be like every other after deer hunting season has closed and hound hunting for coyotes has begun. In addition to the hundreds of individuals aiming to eradicate local coyote populations with the aid of electronic callers, assault rifles with thermal imaging scopes and bait, there will also be armies of houndsmen out with packs of dogs harassing and hunting the very same populations of wild animals.
Many hound hunters will be participating in various coyote killing contests scheduled for coming weekends in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, New York and Pennsylvania where cash and prizes will be awarded for the hound hunters with the most coyotes (and often bobcats and fox) killed.
Whether its the use of satellite tracked hounds or thermal imaging equipment designed for law enforcement and wartime, coyote killing contests and the people who love them are as far away from good sportsmanship and a conservation ethic as a hunter can get. Since when did it become sporting to encourage your hunting dogs to fight wildlife and then brag about it on social media?
Private Facebook pages like “Coyote Hunting with Hounds” are a breeding ground for unethical hunters who encourage each other to break the law, just don’t post about it. Yet, all of Wolf Patrol’s evidence of animal abuse committed by hound hunters this winter isn’t the result of painstaking investigations in the field, it’s gathered by simply scrolling through our multiple undercover accounts we maintain on multiple private Facebook groups that we’ve discovered are guilty of violating hunting regulations in multiple states.
The degradation of recreational sport hunting into a culture of straight up animal abuse is something predator hunters are proud of and not afraid of defending despite the negative reflection it casts on every ethical hunter simply trying to feed their families with the animals they choose to hunt. Predator hunters have no interest in eating what they kill, only using the animals to win prize money or make money selling their fur on the international fur market.
It’s time to put an end to animal abuse disguised as legitimate hunting. Nowhere is this more evident then in the pursuit of coyotes, bobcats and fox by predator hunters equipped with either high tech night vision gear or packs of bloodthirsty hounds.
Join Wolf Patrol in calling for an end to wildlife killing contests nationwide. Nowhere in the nation is there room for this kind of hunting, especially when it is encouraged with the awarding of cash and prizes for the most or smallest animals killed.
Call your state wildlife agency today to find out whether hunting coyotes with hounds or wildlife killing contests are legal in your own home state. If they are, start asking questions about how you can testify or write letters to those in charge about getting them stopped. If ethical hunters won’t call out others for their illegality and abuse, then its up to people like us to stop them.
Coyote Hunting with Hounds is Legalized Dog-Fighting!
End Wildlife Killing Contests Everywhere
While states like Vermont and Massachusetts have recently acted to ban coyote killing contests, many states in the Northeast have seen a growth in wildlife killing competitions. Most competition-killers who participate in these contests argue that they are responding to the expansion of coyotes into parts of the country where they never existed before. But the expansion of native predators east of the Mississippi is anything but an invasion. States like New York have seen coyotes and other predators expand into remaining available habitat, left in the wake of eradication of larger apex predators like wolves, mountain lions and lynx.
And while most eastern state’s wildlife agencies recognize the ecological worth of coyotes and know that they are here to stay, many predator hunters are still taking full advantage of the hysteria caused in the media when there is the odd coyote attack on livestock, pets or even people. Responding to fear, not science, many private landowners are allowing more and more predator hunters onto their lands with the aim of total extermination of coyotes and foxes.
Add in thousands of dollars in prize money for the most coyotes and/or foxes killed over one weekend, and you have the 2020 Eastern U.S. Predator Calling Championship (EUSPCC) which this January drew hundreds of hunters from almost every state east of the Mississippi.
Every one of the 213 teams competing in this year’s EUSPCC contest was desperate to kill as many coyotes and foxes as they could, with not a thought to the ecological impact of their actions. These weren’t hunters chasing predators responsible for recent livestock depredations or attacks on children, these killing contests encourage the killing of every coyote and fox encountered, with no regard for the vital role any of these animals play in a healthy ecosystem.
When I was a child, I read a book called “Don Coyote” about a livestock farmer who realized after eradicating as many predators as he could in the last century, that his actions came back on him ten-fold. Population explosions of rodents that decimated his crops, disease that affected desired game, the wholesale slaughter of predators was realized to be a huge mistake.
Now we live in a time when USDA coyote researchers and many other scientist have discovered that coyotes and other predators respond to high mortality by increasing pup production. Rather than removing a predator problem, most predator hunters competing in wildlife killing contests are contributing to the very situation they claim to be against, the growth and expansion of coyotes.
This past weekend saw a gathering of hundreds of predator hunters from multiple eastern states, converging near a truck stop in Wyetheville, Virginia. With trucks laden with the dozens of dead coyotes and foxes each team was able to kill between Friday, January 17-19th, the hunters waited their turn to register their kills at this year’s EUSPCC.
Over $35,000 in cash prizes was awarded to the winners of this year’s killing contest, with firearms, electronic callers, night-vision & thermal imaging gear also handed out to the hunters with the largest, smallest or most animals killed.
I became aware of this particular coyote & fox killing contest while investigating the cruel and unethical predator hunting practices of an individual in my own home state of Michigan. It didn’t take long to realize that predator hunters like George Widmaier and his friends aren’t the kind of people simply trying to put meat on the table, these are men who take pleasure in killing, not to mention the chance of being rewarded prize money for their cruelty and efficiency at predator removal.
George and his friends were ditching out on the many smaller coyote and fox killing contests taking place in their home states of Michigan and Indiana, and headed to the EUSPCC, so I followed and this is what I learned:
Like most coyote and fox killing contests, the EUSPCC pays out cash for the smallest as well as largest predator taken. This practice encourages the killing of young and cubs, which some of this year’s EUSPCC winners with MFK Game Calls are proudly guilty of doing.
This year’s EUSPCC gave the added incentive of a free assault rifle for killing the smallest coyote. The prize went to a team checking in a 17.5lb coyote. The prize for the largest coyote killed went to a team registering a 44.9lb animal.
As the EUSPCC killing contest came to an end on Sunday, over 100 trucks laden with dead coyotes and foxes began to line up for the weigh in back in Wyetheville, Virginia. Over 213 teams of mostly three people were registered, while just over a hundred made it to the final weigh-in.
Many predator hunters couldn’t wait to get inside before taking photos to share on social media. These predator hunters took 13th place at the EUSPCC with 14 coyotes killed.
Once inside, contestants weighed their animals, or at least those that were considered eligible for either being the largest or smallest. Many hunters complained that their kills were never weighed, with the organizers responding that in order to weigh every single coyote and fox killed they would have had to stay there the entire night.
The EUSPCC winners for the most red fox killed in two days east of the Mississippi, went to a team that came in with 82 foxes. They took home $1,000 in cash and a new electronic game caller.
A runner-up for the most red foxes killed during the EUSPCC went to a team bringing in 55 more foxes. Once again, these are hunters out for the highest body count, not after problem animals that are killing livestock or threatening humans in any way.
After weigh-in, the dead coyotes and foxes were loaded onto trailers. The final tally was over 850 coyotes and foxes killed with coyotes taking the majority hit at 569 animals.
As the EUSPCC came to an end, predator hunters began bragging on Facebook about the one’s that got away. In this Facebook post by the Virginia Sportsmen and Predator Hunters, the contest participant mentions five animals that were shot but never recovered, including one fox that was dragging her intestines as she ran away to die.
The statistics as weigh-in was closing.
3rd Place EUSPCC winners with 14 coyotes killed.
Graphic evidence of the cruelty and gore involved and enjoyed by competition-killers during the ESPCC and other killing contest is readily available on Facebook once the money and prizes had been awarded. We are including a video from one of the contestant’s Facebook pages that shows how most predator hunters are able to kill multiple animals in one night: electronic game calls, bait piles, high-powered rifles with thermal imaging scopes and no conscience.
Henry Fur Stackers and participants in the 2020 EUSPCC. If you missed it, don’t worry the organizers have announced that they will be holding another killing competition this coming March.
Whether you live in a state that sanctions wildlife killing contests or not, it’s time for all people, including ethical hunters and sportspeople to come out against the wanton waste of wildlife and cruelty associated with coyote, fox and bobcat killing contests. Such wholesale eradication of predators for cash and prizes is anything but science-based wildlife management.
Please join Wolf Patrol in registering your disapproval for wildlife killing contests. Write letters to your local newspaper, boycott businesses that sponsor such events and start attending your home state’s wildlife agency meetings to remind those managing public trust wildlife that killing should never be a contest.
You can help Wolf Patrol continue monitoring wildlife killing contests this winter by making a tax-deductible contribution today! We are a handful of citizens using our own time and vehicles to patrol and monitor coyote killing contests where they occur. Help keep us both in the field and online, reminding this nation’s predator hunters that their actions will not be ignored. For the Coyote, Fox, Bobcat & Wolf Nation, we thank you for visiting our site and spreading the word about these disgusting contests!
Or click on the PayPal link at the top right of the page!
Here’s the link to the above documents:
Here’s the link to an Mlive news article about the law change:
In, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and many other states, right now is coyote killing contest season. Once deer season has ended, many predator hunters take to the field, killing as many coyotes as they can with the use of electronic callers, night vision and assault-style rifles with thermal imaging scopes.
In Michigan, only since 2017 have the weapons predator hunters use today been allowed to legally hunt coyotes at night. Previously, predator hunters were limited to using shotguns or .22 calibre rimfire rifles. Now they’re able to use centerfire ammunition and rifless up to .269 caliber, a big benefit when trying to shoot coyotes more than 100 yards away.
Like many modern predator hunters, George Witmaier has killed over a 100 coyotes with the aid of his electronic callers and high-powered rifles with night vision and thermal imaging scopes. All of these videos are shared publicly on Facebook, and represent just one of the many individuals who attend and economically benefit from coyote killing contests which are held every winter in Michigan, and across America.
Five states have already banned coyote killing contests, recognizing that unregulated and commercial killing of predators only creates more problems than it solves. In the midwest and eastern states, coyotes have filled the ecological niche left after wolf eradication in the last century. Most states now recognize the eastern coyote as a hybrid blend of coyote, wolf and domestic dog, and as a functioning member of the ecosystem.
Still many states like Michigan encourage the wholesale slaughter of coyotes, fox and bobcats and even the state’s governor appointed Natural Resources Commission endorses killing contests with cash rewards given to those who kill the most public trust wildlife.
If you agree that it’s time to end these barbaric and cruel contests that encourage and reward the mistreatment and disrespect of wildlife, please send a polite email to Michigan’s Natural Resources Board asking that they ban coyote and other wildlife killing contests immediately.
And tell your friends not to visit Michigan or drink beer from a state where the killing of wildlife is celebrated and sadists like George Witmaier are rewarded!
SEND YOUR EMAIL TO:
Coyote killing contests in America are growing. As the growth and expansion of coyotes continues, filling an ecological niche left after the eradication of larger native predators in the country, like wolves and cougars, most states in the country allow legal hunting of coyotes year around with no season or bag limit.
Many farmers and landowners invite predator hunters to eliminate local predator populations, believing their lives are better without coyotes. But are they? What about the land? What about the ecological communities that depends on a healthy predator/prey relationship to keep in check rodents and other animals that can negatively affect humans and our American ecosystems?
The wanton waste of wildlife that coyote and other wildlife killing contests encourage is not in line with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation or any ethical sportsperson’s agenda, and it most certainly should not be in line with any state’s wildlife agency, committed to preventing the kind of wanton waste of wildlife common in coyote and other wildlife killing contests.
Don’t get angry, get organized. Contact your state’s wildlife agency and let them know that you do not support the awarding of cash and prizes to those who kill the most of our public trust wildlife. Wildlife killing contests encourage unethical and cruel treatment of coyotes and other wildlife and should not be supported by any ethical hunter or sportsperson.
End Coyote & Wildlife Killing Contests Everywhere!
The Death of A Grey Fox
Thousands of grey foxes are killed every winter, with hunters using assault rifles with thermal scopes, electronic calls, traps and poison. All perfectly legal and allowed by most state wildlife agencies in the country. The problem is, animals like grey fox actually perform an important function in any healthy ecosystem, controlling and eradicating small rodents that might otherwise damage agricultural crops or spread disease.
This past weekend was no different from any other, for animals like coyotes and grey foxes, who must contend not only with the harsh winter conditions, but also now with humans out for cash and prizes for killing the most members of their species.
This grey fox was caught and killed in a legal trap. We wanted you to see what the trapper wanted his friends on Facebook to see.
It’s that time of year again. When Wisconsin’s hound hunters who were responsible for twenty-one deadly conflicts between federally protected wolves and their hunting dogs in this year alone, now begin chasing and killing other wildlife across Wisconsin’s Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and other public lands.
Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) hunting regulations allow resident and non-resident hound hunters to chase and kill coyotes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with no limit on the number they are allowed to kill. Hunting bobcats in Wisconsin requires a tag, but only to kill a cat, not chase one.
Much like Wisconsin’s liberal bear hunting regulations, which allow any hound hunters to chase bears (but not kill them) from July until the kill season in September, WDNR regulations allow hound hunters to chase and kill bobcats from mid-October until the end of January.
Both WDNR & the U.S. Forest Service allow hound hunters and others to participate in coyote and bobcat killing contests on Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and other public lands. In addition, both agencies allow coyote, bobcat and other furbearers killed legally to be sold on the international fur market for profit.
Because of Wisconsin’s liberal hound hunting regulations, many hound hunters are able to run their dogs across our national forest lands year-round. In Spring its raccoons, all Summer and early Fall its bears, and then in Winter its coyotes and bobcats that are legally chased and killed with the aid of hounds in Wisconsin.
As has been documented and reported by Wolf Patrol annually, many hound hunters in Wisconsin who corner their prey on the ground after miles of being chased through the snow, allow their dogs to fight, maul and kill their prey, which is illegal.
All of the video and photos accompanying this article were shared by Wisconsin hound hunters and on public and private Facebook pages and groups. These photos are not the exception in hound hunting, but the rule.
Some Wisconsin hound hunters like Carl Bailey III claim they train their dogs to “bay not bite” their chased prey, but most of these hound hunts occur when loose dogs are miles from their handlers, cornering prey for extended periods of time until humans can reach their dogs and put them on leashes. Often in winter, coyotes and bobcats are forced to retreat into the icy waters which Wolf Patrol has documented already occurring this winter in northern Wisconsin.
It’s time to restrict hound hunting on Wisconsin’s national forest lands and end competitive contests offering cash and prizes for coyotes and bobcats killed. Chasing wildlife throughout the winter months should not be considered a legal or ethical hunting practice anywhere in our national forests, especially in federally protected gray wolf habitat where there is a history of conflicts between hound hunters and territorial wolves.
Please join Wolf Patrol in calling on WDNR & the U.S. Forest Service to address the lack of regulations governing hound hunting on Wisconsin’s national forest and other public lands by sending an email today to public land managers and contributing to Wolf Patrol’s campaign to end hound hunting and wildlife killing contests in Wisconsin.
SEND YOUR EMAILS TO:
Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest officials:
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Board Liaison: