Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Coordinator
On June 18, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) hosted its final public listening session on coyote hunting contests and species population management practices at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay.
The event primarily served the purpose of allowing MassWildlife the opportunity to gather public comments for deliberation by the MassWildlife Board. The Board is tasked with managing and protecting “the wildlife of the Commonwealth as an essential public natural resource for the use and enjoyment of all citizens who hunt, fish, trap, and enjoy nature study and observation.” The Board will be able to use the information and opinions gathered through this public hearing to advise on any regulatory changes to the hunting of coyotes within the Commonwealth, if it so chooses.
Coyote hunting contests have been a popular practice in southeastern Massachusetts, and participants are still required to abide by state fish and wildlife regulations. The future of coyote hunting contests will be a topic of discussion for the MassWildlife Board to consider in the near future.
As of right now, the Board’s next scheduled meeting is set for July 17, though the agenda has not yet been finalized. The meeting will be open for public attendance, though the Board will solely be addressed by MassWildlife staff on the topic of continuing, preventing, or adjusting the current coyote hunting contest tradition. Depending on the outcome of this Board meeting, there may be either a more formal notice and comment period, or ultimately no action at all.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?