State should ban cruel contests

Published 4:22 pm Tuesday, May 18, 2021

To the editor:

As a Virginia resident who values and respects wildlife and our outdoor heritage, I am disheartened that Virginia still allows wildlife killing contests. These contests reward participants with cash or other prizes for killing the most coyotes, foxes, bobcats and other species, no matter their size. Rather than promote traditional hunting ethics and sportsmanship, these contests celebrate killing for quantity, prizes and trophies.

These contests are out of step with modern wildlife management. In the case of coyotes, randomly killing them can actually produce the opposite result: coyotes may simply produce larger litters and turn to larger prey to feed their litters. The contests also don’t mitigate conflicts with people, livestock or pets.

These contests are abhorrent: cruel, pointless and a poor reflection on true sportsmanship and Virginia’s hunting tradition. Banning the contests would not prohibit anyone from killing nuisance animals. But it would help Virginia to be more in step with the increasing number of states that have banned contests. I encourage those who do not support these twisted, unsportsmanlike contests to contact the Department of Wildlife Resources board members, names and contact information for whom can be found at dwr.virginia.gov/about/board, to ask them to ban these contests. The board will also be meeting May 27, and I urge you to attend and testify in favor of a prohibition. It’s time for Virginia to evolve.

Kay W. Hurley

Suffolk