Sublette County Predator Killing Contest Fuels Outrage
There is an annual predator killing contest in Sublette County, Wyoming that very few of the public know about. It is a closely kept secret and would have remained that way if concerned citizens hadn’t written letters to the editor in the Pinedale Roundup and contacted Wyoming Untrapped. The contest consists of killing as many predators, mainly coyotes, as possible. John Fandek, a local ranch hand who penned a letter to the editor, states that the contest “includes running down living animals with snowmobiles.”
The contest is partially funded and supported by the Predator Damage Management Control Board of Sublette County according to Cat Urbigkit, one of the board members. “The predator board does contribute money ($200 per hunt) to local groups hosting coyote hunts, using funds from the predator fees paid by livestock producers during livestock brand inspections.” According to the official Sublette County website, “the Board consists of seven members of which one member is a sportsman appointed by the County Commission, and remaining members are elected by livestock producers who pay predator fees as part of brand inspections.”
Also in a letter, Cat Urbigkit states that “last year, the Sublette County Board of Commissioners reimbursed the predator board just over $32,000 for predator control efforts under the Wildlife Services contract – the highest amount funded by the county as the local board worked to target problem animals preying on livestock.” However, at least two local ranchers say that, “coyotes are not a problem and they do not experience livestock losses to them.” John Fandek says that they “are not in favor of mass killing of animals and do not appreciate being used as an excuse for these kind of activities.” The event is referred to as the Annual Coyote Hunt Contest and takes place at least once a year. This year it was held on February 6.
These senseless predator killing contests which occur across the state are often called coyote calling contests, varmint hunts, or predator hunts. We believe these events are not hunting, they are a blood sport.
Since the founding of Wyoming Untrapped (WU) in May 2014, our mission remains stronger than ever. We want to promote an overall ethic of compassionate conservation for our wildlife and other natural resources. Our highest priority is to address our archaic and indiscriminate trapping regulations as well as our wildlife management which allows the cruel and inhumane senseless killing of wildlife in the form of predator killing contests for money and prizes such as the “mangiest mutt” award. These “management tools” are not based on a sound science foundation, and it’s time for change.
Wyoming Untrapped is fighting for freedom in wildness each and every day. We are consistently raising awareness statewide about our current wildlife management and seeking to reform state wildlife polices. Although there is a deep-rooted resistance to change in Wyoming and our challenges are steep, we have made significant progress. For the first time in our state’s history, WU has brought the reality of trapping and our wildlife management to the forefront of the public eye and ignited the dialog surrounding the need to bring trapping reform and wildlife management into the 21st century. Change is coming to Wyoming.
To read the Letters to the Editor: Pinedale Roundup Letters to Editor
Click here to watch a video about Wildlife Services.
To report trapping incidents or predator killing contests, please call 307-201-2422, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: “Coyote on Fresh Snow” thanks to our photographer friend and supporter: Michael Cohen.