Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Coordinator
On October 29, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) and the Fisheries and Wildlife Board held a public hearing to receive comments on the proposed predator hunting contest ban and wanton waste regulations. The event took place at the MassWildlife Field Headquarters in Westborough and drew an audience from across the state.
The proposed regulation would prohibit hunting contests for certain predator or furbearing animals – an action that’s based on misinformed public concerns about the ethics of this pursuit. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) New England States Coordinator Joe Mullin provided public testimony at the hearing as to the many benefits that predator hunting tournaments have to offer for both the state and hunting community. Several other in-state hunting conservation organizations provided similar testimony opposing the proposed regulations.
Through the public hearing, it became apparent that the public has recurring misconception about hunting tournaments; they believe tournament contestants are not bound to the same hunting laws that are enforced throughout the open season. In Massachusetts, parties to hunting tournaments are not exempted from following the same science-based wildlife laws and regulations as other sporting pursuits – especially in regards to methods of take, hunting hours, the requirement for a hunting license, and any rules pertaining to the tagging or use of the carcass or pelt after the harvest.
In general, hunting often spawns a friendly environment between family and friends, however, tournaments offer an extra spur of a determination that often leads to lifetime memories and newly built relationships. Building opportunities to form these relationships is crucial, especially at a time when participation in hunting has been on a declining trend in Massachusetts and in the nation.
Along with speaking publicly, CSF has provided MassWildlife with written testimony in opposition to the proposed predator hunting tournament ban. The idea of banning or preventing coyote hunting is a concept that has garnered much media attention in the New England region, credited in large part to the misrepresentations spread by animal rights organizations. Regardless, CSF will continue to work tirelessly to advocate for sportsmen and women.
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?