The California Fish and Game Commission voted 4-1 on Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, to prohibit coyote hunting contests that offer cash and other prizes—marking the first outright ban of such events in the United States.
The move does not affect general predator hunting regulations or seasons in The Golden State, where coyote hunting remains legal year-round, and without bag limits.
The approved change to the Fish and Game Code reads:
“Pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 2003, it is unlawful to offer any prize or other inducement as a reward for the taking of nongame mammals in an individual contest, tournament or derby."
The measure does not apply to trophy hunts for game animals, including black bear, elk and deer, though its approval comes at a time when anti-hunting and litigious environmental groups are visibly ramping-up efforts against predator-hunting contests in other Western states such as Idaho, New Mexico and Oregon.
Last week, under threats of a lawsuit from the notorious Center for Biological Diversity and other groups, the Bureau of Land Management rescinded its 5-year permit for a hunting organization to conduct predator-killing contests on BLM land near Salmon, Idaho, beginning in January 2015.
Sportsman’s groups and hunter advocacy organizations believe the recent moves indicate an increased effort by anti-hunters to chip away at various forms of hunting through litigation and by applying pressure on game commissions identified as sympathetic to their cause.
Introduced legislation to ban predator derbies offering prizes had previously failed to gain traction in the California General Assembly.