As a Montana resident who values and respects our wildlife and our outdoors heritage, I was saddened to see that Dillon is once again hosting the “Dog Days of Winter Coyote Derby.”
In these grotesque wildlife killing contests, participants compete for cash and prizes for killing the most coyotes or other species. These events flout the hunting ethics of sportsmanship by slaughtering wildlife simply for cash and bragging rights, and send the dangerous message to Montana youth that hunting is about killing for “fun” and prizes, rather than being about fair chase, responsibility, and respect for our environment.
Killing contests are also out of step with the principles of modern, science-based wildlife management. They don’t reduce coyote populations—in fact, they can even increase them by creating instability and chaos in family structures, causing more reproduction. Studies also show that randomly killing coyotes does not mitigate conflicts with livestock, people, or pets, either.
Gratuitous killing for thrills and prizes is not a good representation of Montana’s hunting tradition. I hope that Dillon will refrain from any further association with this cruel, pointless, and unsporting coyote killing event.
Megan Maier, Bozeman