The United States: How killing wild animals became a game

“This is not a poaching,” says Robert Brown, a member of the nonprofit’s ethics committee. Boone and Crockett ClubFounded by Theodore Roosevelt and other hunters in 1887 to protect wildlife resources. Brown says the methods commonly used in competitions are “unethical”. “They give the hunter an unfair advantage.”

In February 2020, an undercover investigator from the Humane Society attended a wolf hunting trip in Sullivan County and mentioned to have Dead coyotes found in fire brigade trash canincluding a large female who was pregnant with litter of pups.

After these investigations and the launch of 2021 Wildlife killing competitionsIt is an illustrated documentary film produced by Explorer National Geographic Felipe DeandradeThe participants became very wary of the underground activists lurking in the crowd. Some of the fishermen I met ask if I’m a “legitimate” journalist to write for National Geographic. A guy in the firehouse confronted me and told me I might be working undercover for PETA.

Carl Lindsley, a member of the Athletic Association of America, is initially wary, but agrees with my participation in the competition because he appreciates that I am genuinely interested in hearing the anglers’ point of view. “Some people are upset at the idea of ​​killing coyotes,” recalls an activist who snuck into the 2020 event, sitting on a folding chair at the fire station. But what this activist didn’t know, he says, is that most of the wolves in the landfill were collected by a local fur buyer who skins them, sells their coats (at about $25 each) and posts their skulls to the public online. shoppers.

Furthermore, he adds, The competition serves as a major fundraiser for outdoor programs for children and their families and habitat restoration. “If all we did was sit and brag about how many wolves we have and how much money we have, it wouldn’t make sense,” says Lindsley, who retired in 2016 after working for the Wildlife Department for 48 years in New York. Ministry of State for Environmental Conservation. “In fact, if we don’t get any wolf, I admit we can keep more money for our programs.” He says it would be nice for people to buy tickets just to eat at the banquet, but he acknowledges that most people come for picks and prizes.

Most wildlife killing competitions are not fundraising. They are only for sports. Hunters, both in person and online, defend competitions based on that Participants do not break any laws: It is widely legal to kill many types of predators, including foxes, cats and coyotes, Often limitless. And if killing them is legal, they say, what’s wrong with a killing contest? One hunter wrote on Facebook that coyotes “are going to die anyway.”

environmental argument

“The ‘opponents’ don’t understand that we’re really helping with the grand scheme,” Kautz says. He says that wolves are crowded and eat everything (fluff, turkey, rabbits, squirrels), upsetting the balance in ecosystems. They also attack domestic animals and livestock, including, most recently, many of their mother’s sheep. “It was the first time this had happened, but it probably won’t be the last,” he adds. “I think the number of coyotes has increased a little.”

“You have to control the wolves,” John van Eyten, president of the Sports Federation, agrees, seeking warmth inside the firehouse as runners huddle around, admiring the numbered tickets for the hunter’s name and the weight of the coyotes. On giant pieces of white paper covering cork boards. “Hunters are playing this role.” If not, he says, coyotes suffer from diseases, such as mange, a skin disease caused by mites, and starvation.

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