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Coyote derby a shameful blood sport

I hope that the sponsors of the “2nd Annual Big Sandy American Legion Coyote Derby,” which took place this past weekend, understand what an embarrassment this blood sport is for the state of Montana and its outdoors heritage.

There is nothing sporting about these wildlife killing contests, in which participants compete for cash and prizes for killing the most coyotes or other species. They often flout the hunting ethics of fair chase by using calling devices and bait to lure in animals as live targets, and in doing so send the dangerous message to youth that hunting is all about killing for fun and money rather than sportsmanship, responsibility and respect for nature.

Modern wildlife management professionals also understand that randomly killing native carnivores like coyotes will not reduce their populations, and will not lead to an increase in other game species. It’s simply turning the pointless and gratuitous slaughter of our state’s native wildlife into a weekend celebration. What is sporting or ethical about that?

The sponsors of the “2nd Annual Big Sandy American Legion Coyote Derby” should say “no thanks” to participating in this shameful event ever again.

— Christine Weinheimer, Bozeman

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