LETTER: Lawmakers should ban hunting contests if commission won’t

David Kveragas
Lackawanna County
Paisley Baxter, left, watches as students from Keystone College draw blood samples from a coyote during the 17th annual Sullivan County Coyote Hunt in Laporte, Pa., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Although proponents say the coyote population needs to be controlled, many opponents of these killing contest-style hunts say they're barbaric and disrupt the natural balance, taking out a keystone predator that controls rodent and pest populations and keeps feral cats, raccoons, and skunks in check as well. (David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

I agree with your editorial that hunting contests, especially for coyotes, must be ended. They are not a hunting-related activity in the general sense; they are simply killing for pleasure, not food or even wildlife management. In fact, many game and wildlife biologists oppose such contests.

Coyotes were sent here by Mother Nature for a reason. Just because we don't understand her motives is not a valid reason to ignore, let alone openly disrupt, her plans. Coyote and other killing contests do exactly that: cause disruption.

Generations ago killing birds of prey was as common as killing coyotes and other natural predators today. Thankfully, that was seen as a mistake and actions were taken to protect raptors and other species. The same is necessary for coyotes today.

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More:EDITORIAL: It's time to end the killing contest hunts in Pennsylvania

Studies have shown that killing coyotes in such contests doesn't actually reduce their numbers over the long term. They actually cause increases, as Mother Nature seeks to make corrections to the disruptions of her plan.

Simply put, the science doesn't support such contests and when dealing with nature, science — not recreation or ignorance — must be the rule.

If the state Game Commission will not — or, for various reasons, cannot — bring itself to ban such contests, then the legislature needs to step in and take action ASAP. I prefer the legislature deal with more pressing matters, but if such is necessary for the health of the ecosystem then so be it. As you noted, seven other states have already banned such contests. As a national leader when it comes to hunting, Pennsylvania needs to follow suit.