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Hunting contests are purely for fun

For those who are appalled at the recent “Squirrel Slam” in Holley, be aware that these types of killing contests are happening all over Western New York. Check out Sunday editions of The News’ Outdoors Page – there are all sorts of contests from coyote-killing to woodchuck hunts. Recently a rabbit derby was held: prizes were awarded by weight and “bunnies” taken; one team shot 19 in a weekend. A coyote-killing contest is sponsored by a local club. The first-prize winner killed three foxes and three coyotes within a few days. The hunter who killed the heaviest coyote won first prize. New York State regulations allow coyote to be taken by shotgun or bow, day or night, until March 30.

To quote scientists from Predator Defense who study this animal: “Coyotes play a critical role in keeping natural areas healthy. In fact, coyotes are a keystone species, meaning their presence or absence has a significant impact on the surrounding biological community. … Coyotes maintain the balance in the food web below and around them. When coyotes are absent or even just greatly reduced in a natural area, the relationships between species below them in the web are altered, putting many species at risk.”

Don’t be fooled by arguments that hunters do this to raise funds for a fire department or to help farmers. These contests are purely for fun.

Marie Schnier

Amherst