CARSON CITY – A divided state wildlife board has voted against banning coyote hunting tournaments, a practice deemed cruel by animal rights groups and even opposed by some conservationists hunting to be increasingly out of step with public sentiment on hunting and conservation.
The Wildlife Commission board of directors voted 5-4 not to proceed with an amendment to the state code after more than two hours of debate, discussion and public testimony on Friday.
The proposed ban applied only to contests that award prizes to participants for the greatest number of victims. He would not have banned the hunting or trapping of coyotes, which are an unprotected species in Nevada.
The competitions are known as the call – not the slaughter – contest with coyotes attracted or “called out” by sounds mimicking prey in distress.
The divided board vote on the proposed ban reflects the divisions seen across a largely urban-rural divide. Eight states have banned this practice. In Nevada, Clark County and the City of Reno voted this year to approve a contest ban while the Elko County commission voted to be allowed to continue.
The State Council, whose members are appointed by the governor, comprises five commissioners representing sporting and hunting interests and one commissioner each representing the interests of conservation, agriculture and animal husbandry and the general public. . Two of the sports activists voted for the ban, which was proposed by environmentalist member David McNinch.
“Killing the coyotes isn’t the problem for me. This is how it goes, ”McNinch said during the debate.
He and other supporters of the ban, including the state Department of Wildlife, also highlighted their wider support for the hunt, but added that hunters, who make up less than 2.5% of all residents of Nevada must consider prevailing public opinion to remain relevant and protect their broader interests.
“Hunters need to be aware of the public image we project and how the public perceives us,” said department director Tony Wasley.
Public Representative Alana Wise, who voted for the ban, said hunting competitions do not greatly affect coyote populations overall, making the issue “more of an ethical issue” informed by public sentiment.
“And what has become really clear is that most people don’t want these contests to take place,” she said.
Commissioner Tom Caviglia, an athlete representative who voted against the ban, disagreed with Wise’s assessment, saying most people “don’t know what an appeal contest is coyote, they laugh at a coyote call contest, and that’s just the truth. ” He said support for the ban came more from special interests organized outside the state.
In testimony from the hearing, representatives of 17 county advisory councils to the commission said they opposed the ban on competitions. A bill banning them was introduced in the 2019 legislative session but did not lead to a hearing.