Some wildlife hunting competitions could become illegal in New York
ALBANY, NY (WENY)-- In New York State some wildlife hunting competitions could become a thing of the past. A bill recently went to the desk of Governor Kathy Hochul, and if she signs it, many wildlife hunting competitions would become illegal.
“It’s simply about doing the humane thing for these animals. This is not about hunting and if it were about a ban on hunting, I would not be supportive of it. This is about protecting animals in these wildlife killing contests,” said Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-63rd Senate District), a sponsor of the bill.
The legislation excludes competitions for white-tailed deer, turkey, bear and fish. Currently in the state wildlife competitions are not overseen by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). However, contests must be conducted within the scope of all New York State laws and regulations regarding hunting and wildlife management.
Some Republican lawmakers, who voted against this legislation, said these contests help control certain wildlife populations like coyotes.
“This is the way you control these populations. Otherwise, they are a menace to our farmers and their livestock, their livelihoods,” said Sen. George Borrello (R-57th Senate District).
Some hunting advocates added hunting contests are important for recruitment and hunting culture. Maggie Howell, executive director of the Wolf Conservation Center, said this legislation will not have an impact on regular hunting season.
“Really the contests are almost like a fringe event and really don’t have an impact on the wildlife management and it’s definitely not science based. It’s really just killing for cash,” Howell said.
Some advocates from the Humane Society of the United States agreed.
“It’s really a waste of our shared public wildlife resources. The animals are then mostly disposed of or thrown in the trash and it’s solely for cash and prizes the monetizing or our wildlife,” said Brian Shapiro, New York State Director, Humane Society of the United Sates.
The bill is one of hundreds on Gov. Kathy Hochul's desk awaiting her review. If she signs this bill, New York would be the ninth state in the country to pass legislation like this.