St. Paul bans wildlife killing contests in unanimous City Council vote

Wildlife killing contests, where contestants kill coyotes or other animals en masse for entertainment and prizes, were banned by the St. Paul City Council in an ordinance Wednesday.

In a unanimous vote, the council passed the ordinance banning, “the indiscriminate killing of wildlife in the form of wildlife killing contests.”

According to the Humane Society of the United States, these contests have participants compete to kill the largest, the smallest or the greatest number of coyotes, foxes and other species for cash and prizes.

The practice is not expressly forbidden under Minnesota law, but statewide bans of wildlife killing contests have been passed in California, Vermont, New Mexico, Arizona and Massachusetts.

“The resolution also calls on state officials to take action to end these gruesome events statewide,” said the U.S. Humane Society in a release.

Alongside the U.S. Humane Society, the Minnesota Humane Society, the Center for Biological Diversity and Project Coyote all called for the ban and encouraged a statewide ban, too. They all provided the council with letters of support Wednesday.

According to Project Coyote, a coyote conservation group, the killing contests are not just cruel and unsporting, but are counterproductive to sound wildlife management. They argue the contests do not reduce populations, but rather disrupt the social structures of the coyotes, which prompts more breeding and migration.

Project Coyote noted recent wildlife killing contests in Downer, Madison, Wabasso, Sacred Heart, Randolph, Watertown, Marshall and Oak Grove, among others. They are usually sponsored by local bars, restaurants or social clubs.

“Participants use high-tech equipment, including spotlights and electronic calling devices-which mimic the sound of prey or pups in distress – to lure wildlife for an easy shot,” said U.S. Humane Society Minnesota State Director Christine Coughlin in a statement about Wednesday’s vote.