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Column: Governor Hochul please sign law banning “cash for kill” wildlife contests

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The legislation has been passed by the NYS Assembly and Senate

By Andrew Harris

Today it is perfectly legal for licensed hunters in New York State to organize and particpate in events that collect an entry fee from participants who kill wild animals for cash prizes. These events are structured like a golf tournment with prizes awarded for various categories: The biggest, the most, the first, even the smallest.

This could be crows, ground hogs, squirrels, coyotes, or fox as the targeted animal. Most of the wildlife killed in the contest are not eaten, and the wanton waste caused to the wildlife wounded during the contest is a disgusting thought. These contests are a bloodsport, and a moral hazard to conservation minded hunters in New York State.

Nearly every wildlife biologist agrees: Mass killing our shared wildlife for thrills, or worse for money, causes systemic damage to the ecosystem. The trauma of the mass kill on a local population of mammals has proven to cause hyper-breeding. Both the killing of the wildlife, and the consequences like hyper-breeding, create a ripple effect that impacts many species, even humans. This can be seen most dramatically with coyote populations and how they interact with humans and domestic pets. Such a violent interaction with wild animals is obviously going to have equally serious ramifications.

The continuation of such thoughtless, cruel, and disrespectful events that promote killing for cash is untenable for the dwindling population who consider themselves respectful hunters. The glorification of killing our shared wildlife doesn’t fall within the values of the people who founded Ducks or Whitetails Unlimited. The mentality that our state’s shared wildlife can be offered to any private function for a big thrill kill for cash is absurd. Less than 1% of our population has any involvement in this activity.

Exceptions for “big buck contests,” and fishing tournaments have already been carved out to protect the states fishing industry and the local hardware store’s annual big buck contest. Ending this destruction of New York State’s wildlife has no impact on the states hunting or fishing seasons. Ending “cash for kill” contests in New York state will have a big impact on our wildlife and our shared future.

Just in case you haven’t read this, the NYS Humane Society has a great overview and the bill has clearly has broad support in both chambers of the NY Legislature per this key exerpt:

“S.4099, sponsored by Sen. Tim Kennedy, passed by a vote of 46-15 on June 7, and A.2917, sponsored by Assemblymember Deborah Glick, passed by a vote of 86-54 on June 21.”

Some additional reading from Buffalo’s Channel 2 WGRZ:

https://www.wgrz.com/article/sports/outdoors/the-issue-is-igniting-passion-on-both-sides-outdoors-life/71-77ee79ae-5eae-46bb-b65e-e3703162b23a

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