Humane Society Releases Illinois Coyote Slaying Contest Results

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) on Wednesday released what officials call the “shocking results” of a February 2023 undercover investigation into Nuggets Night Vision Coyote Hunt, a wild animal killing contest in Mendon. , Illinois.

According to the HSUS, similar hunts are taking place in the Quad-Cities region (for a list of communities, see “Background” below.)

The HSUS investigator attended the weigh-in following the 45-hour killing period, during which approximately 86 participants shot at least 405 coyotes. At the weigh-in, attendees gathered to compete for $15,000 in prizes and celebrate among piles of dead coyotes, the investigator said.

The HSUS investigator revealed that prizes were awarded to teams that killed the most, heaviest and smallest coyotes at just 17 pounds. The three-man team crowned champions for “most coyotes” shot 49 coyotes, with second place bringing home 27 coyotes. The contest was organized by Nuggets Night Vision, a maker of night vision and thermal optics devices often used in such contests, according to the HSUS statement.

FILE – In this Sunday, Nov. 2, 2003 file photo, a coyote wanders through a neighborhood in Cedar Glen, Calif., in the San Bernardino Mountains. Scientists have long known that human activity disrupts nature. And the latest research published on Thursday, June 14, 2018 revealed that fear of humans has caused many species to increase their nocturnal activity by 20%. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The investigation shows that teams brought dead coyotes across state lines from Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas and Wisconsin. At least one Kansas coyote appears to have had severe mange. Bodies were not checked for disease and sick animals were not disqualified from the contest. Mange is highly contagious and can easily spread to other wildlife, domestic dogs and humans, according to the HSUS.

“Wild animal killing contests are an abomination and a disgrace,” said Marc Ayers, Illinois state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “Killing coyotes for fun, sadistic games, and money doesn’t reflect our state’s values. Illinois is among the 10 worst states for wild animal killing contests , with at least 28 competitions targeting coyotes, foxes, raccoons and crows taking place in the state in 2022….The Illinois Department of Natural Resources must take a stand and make our state the first in the Midwest to ban this cruel and unnecessary treatment of coyotes which provides a vital balance to our ecosystem.

The HSUS investigator documented attendees unloading bloodied coyote bodies and hanging them upside down to weigh them. A young child helped load the carcasses – sometimes struggling under the weight of the animals’ bodies – while other young children stood nearby and watched. The coyotes that were torn apart by bullets were thrown into a pile and arranged in rows for display so attendees could revel in their victory.

“Watching truck after truck back into the weigh station, and coyote after coyote, dripping with blood, being weighed – it was like a factory assembly line,” the undercover investigator from the Humane Society of the United States said. United in the press release.

On December 22, 2022, veterinarians and 18 organizations, led by the Humane Society of the United States, submitted a petition to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources asking the agency to ban animal killing contests. wild animals. Eight states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington — have already banned wildlife killing contests, the statement said.

Coyote walking at Cherry Creek State Park, Aurora, Colorado (Getty).


According to the HSUS, murder contests are held throughout Illinois, including Mendon, Elmwood, La Harp, Fulton, Knoxville, Wamac, Maeystown, Marine, Taylorville, Macomb, Sherrard, Mount Vernon, Warsaw, Mason City, Cordova , Hecker, Manito, Cedar Point, Stronghurst, Oblong, Toledo, Champaign, Prairie du Rocher, Durand, Pearl City, Marion, Carbondale, East Brooklyn, Carrollton, Alexis, Port Byron and Quincy. One participant told the HSUS investigator that during a non-competitive hunt he kills coyotes and leaves them to rot where they fall. He said the coyotes’ bodies were worthless and were thrown away. Competitors achieve a high number of kills using unfair and unsportsmanlike tactics including night vision, thermal imaging, and electronic calling devices. These tactics mimic the sounds of addicted young or distressed prey to lure animals in for an easy kill. The animals are then slaughtered with powerful rifles, including AR-15s, which puncture the fur, rendering the pelts unsaleable. Due to the chaotic race to kill the most animals, often at night, participants in the killing contest likely injure countless dependent animals and young orphans, who die of starvation, predation or exposure, according to the HSUS . Hunters and wildlife management professionals across the United States have called kill contests unethical and warned they damage hunters’ reputations and threaten the future of wildlife. hunting, according to the HSUS. According to the HSUS, the best available science shows that indiscriminate killing of coyotes will not reduce their numbers, prevent conflicts with livestock, or increase populations of game species like deer for hunters. . In fact, kill contests can increase coyote populations and livestock conflicts by disrupting coyote pack structure.


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