Coyote hunting contests on way to being illegal in Massachusetts

The new regulations were recently approved by state officials.

–Paul Carter / The Register-Guard via AP, File

Coyote hunting contests are set to be banned in Massachusetts, one of several regulations recently put forward by MassWildlife and passed by the Fisheries and Wildlife Board.

Under the regulations, hunters also are prohibited from wasting animal remains — leaving an animal carcass, or an injured animal, in the woods or a field. They must also report when they’ve taken down a fox or a coyote, similar to regulations for deer, bear, and turkey hunting, according to the MassWildlife website.

The new regulations, which still require administrative sign off, were approved by the board during a meeting on Wednesday after a lengthy public process, including two public hearings in late October. MassWildlife expects them to be in effect before next fall’s hunting season. They stem from concerns raised by the public.

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“The proposal addressed public concerns that these hunting contests are unethical, contribute to the waste of animals, and incentivize indiscriminate killing of wildlife, inconsistent with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation,” the website says.

Along with coyotes, hunting contests will also be outlawed for red and gray foxes, raccoons, beavers, opossums, fishers, muskrats, river otters, weasels, skunks, bobcats, and minks. This doesn’t limit hunting for these animals, the website says.

The wasting of an animal regulation does not include animals that can’t be eaten or used, or animals like skunks, woodchucks, flying and red squirrels, weasels, porcupines, crows, starlings, chipmunks, and English sparrows. Animals that can’t be found after they’ve been killed also fall under this provision.

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly implied the new regulations took effect immediately. They still require administrative sign off.

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