Massachusetts: MassWildlife to Host Public Hearings Related to Predator Hunting Contests

Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Coordinator

On Tuesday, October 22 and 29, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) will be hosting public hearings related to the management of coyote hunting contests.

The hearings will be centered on the proposed regulations to change the manners in which the Commonwealth’s predators are hunted – this proposed change is led mostly by the non-hunting community. One such proposal is the addition of a section to the Code of Massachusetts Regulations, Title 321, which would prohibit the organization and participation in a competition that results in the “capture, take, or waste” of predatory or furbearing animals, which includes: coyote, bobcat, red fox, gray fox, weasels, mink, skunk, river otter, muskrat, beaver, fisher, raccoon, and opossum. The proposed regulations would also require the harvesting of fox and coyotes be reported within 48 hours of their taking.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) will continue to remain engaged on this issue. Discussions surrounding the varying methods of predator harvest have become a trending topic in New England, and are primarily driven by anti-sportsmen’s rhetoric. Contrary to what animal rights organizations may lead some to believe, hunting tournament participants are still required to abide by all state fish and wildlife regulations including methods of take, bag limits, and wanton waste rules where they exist.  CSF will continue to advocate for policies that protect and advance access and opportunity for the Bay State’s sportsmen and women.

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Recently, Virginia has proposed legislation that would make the punishment for poaching, in their state, a 1-5 year prison sentence through HB-449. Poaching undermines the social acceptance of hunters, jobs, recreation, local and state economies, and conservation efforts. How should poachers be punished?

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