“Unfortunately, this cruel contest is planned to take place again this year,” the Toronto Wildlife Centre posted on its Facebook page. “A total of $2,500 in cash and awards will be awarded for the top five weights of coyotes who are senselessly slaughtered in the contest.”
Opponents accuse it of being a “inhumane event” that violates Section 11 of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.
The law expressly specifies that “a person shall not hunt for hire, gain, or hope of gain.”
However, the wildlife center claims that Chesher Outdoor Store was able to continue by slightly changing the contest regulations.
The coyote hunting contest runs from Feb. 1-28. Registration closed on Monday. Participants paid $20 to enter.
Store owner Billy Chesher wrote on his Facebook page that he has received “screaming phone calls and threats of violence, death, arson over people weighing in their coyotes that they have legally hunted.”
The Ontario Association of Anglers and Hunters has supported Chesher’s right to run the contest.
Organizers changed the rules last year because of provincial legislation.
“Based on consultation with the MNR we must modify our contest to exclude the prize per coyote as well as the prize for the most coyotes. Both have been determined to be promoting a bounty,” they wrote.
Prizes and cash will be based on the size and weight of the hunted coyotes.
The Toronto Wildlife Centre says it’s been joined by The Fur-Bearers and Coyote Watch Canada in opposing the hunt.
“Not only does this contest threaten the lives of coyotes for no reason, but it further threatens Algonquin wolves, a Species-at-Risk who look almost identical to Eastern coyotes,” the wildlife centre said.
The Fur-Bearers is encouraging people to write to Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry, Greg Rickford.
The hunt organizer wrote that he faced aggressive opposition last year.
“We chose not to lay charges or seek compensation for damages to property,” Chesher wrote.
“My view from last year has changed after the multitude of threats of death, bodily harm, arson and other forms of property damage which simply are not warranted. These types of actions will not be tolerated this year.”
This article by Scott Laurie was first published by The Toronto Sun on 2 February 2022. Lead Image: The return of a month-long coyote hunt organized by an outdoor store in Belleville has animal rights groups outraged and again demanding Ontario step in to shut it down. PHOTO BY FACEBOOK /TORONTO WILDLIFE CENTRE.
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