Hunters who bring a coyote carcass to certain Georgia Department of Natural Resources offices now through August will be entered into a drawing to win a lifetime hunting or fishing license. The Georgia Coyote Challenge rules allow hunters to be entered into the drawing for each coyote killed, up to five per month.
Coyotes, which are not native to Georgia, have filled the ecological niche left by the extirpation of red wolves here. Coyotes can be found in every county in Georgia.
Coyotes mate for life and are solitary hunters that tend to steer clear of potential danger. They can, however, pose a threat to certain livestock, like chickens, and small pets, especially those left outside over night when the coyotes are most active. Coyotes also hunt rodents and help to keep rodent populations in check.
In an email to supporters, the Georgia League of Humane Voters urged recipients to call the office of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to demand that he cancel the challenge.
The League worries that the challenge is cruel and will orphan coyote pups that will then starve to death without their parents to hunt for and feed them. The League’s email claims that such contests are ineffective and speculates that the challenge may be an attempt by the Georgia DNR to profit by encouraging more people to buy hunting licenses.
California banned these sorts of challenges in 2014.
For more information on Coyotes in Georgia, see this fact sheet from the Georgia DNR. See here for more on the Georgia Coyote Challenge, and learn about the League of Humane Voters-Georgia at their facebook page, here.
Hunting is an important part of many people’s lives. I’ve never hunted, but growing up in Northwest Georgia, I knew plenty of hunters. I waited for haircuts under mounted deer heads at the barbershop where my parents used to take me, and my 7th-Grade science teacher, a skilled outdoors man, sometimes showed kids how to skin squirrels they had shot over the weekend. One time he even demonstrated to the class how to juggle their fur-less bodies, and despite that, these contests seem bizarre to me. I’m going to stick to massacring mosquito larvae with BTI.