Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Coordinator
On December 18, regrettable news developed out of Massachusetts, as the Fisheries and Wildlife Board voted in favor of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife’s (MassWildlife) proposed ban on predator hunting contests and wanton waste regulations. Following the disappointing results of this vote, hunting contests for certain predators, including coyotes, bobcats, and red and gray foxes, will be prohibited.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) dedicated time, effort, and resources towards opposing this regulatory change, providing written testimony to MassWildlife and addressing the Division and Board during an October 29th public hearing in Westborough, MA. Much to CSF’s dismay, the Board decided to proceed with enacting the proposed regulations, barring sportsmen from organizing, sponsoring, promoting, or participating in predatory and/or furbearer hunting tournaments.
This regulatory change comes in response to “public concerns that certain hunting contests are unethical, contribute to the waste of animals, and incentivize indiscriminate [sic] killing of wildlife, which is inconsistent with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.” These “concerns” are the result of campaigns of misinformation spread by the anti-hunting community in an effort to undermine one of America’s most time-honored traditions.
For CSF, and for New England’s sportsmen and sportswomen, the fight towards protecting predatory and furbearing hunting tournaments is not over. Animal rights organizations have extended their efforts into numerous states across the region, and several tournament ban proposals are already being discussed for the 2020 legislative sessions. CSF will continue to fight against these misinformed anti-hunting efforts wherever they emerge, and will continue to advocate for sportsmen and women in state capitols to safeguard our sporting heritage.
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?