Dewey-Humboldt Town Council condemns coyote-killing contests

FLAGSTAFF – The Dewey-Humboldt Town Council has passed a resolution condemning animal-killing contests. The Nov. 20 resolution came three weeks before a coyote contest in central Arizona called the Santa Slay Coyote Tournament.

Dewey-Humboldt – which is southeast of Prescott and bills itself as “Arizona’s Country Town” – joins Tucson, Pinal County, Albuquerque and California and Vermont in passing similar resolutions or bans on such hunting contests. People win cash prizes and bragging rights on social media in such contests as the Santa Slay event, which runs from 5 a.m. Dec. 15 to 2 p.m. Dec. 16. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Sportsmen’s Alliance, which advocates for hunting rights across the country.

Council member Doug Treadway said such tournaments aren’t about sportsmanship.

“The senseless and wanton killing of wildlife has no place in a civilized society,” he said. “When you go out and eliminate predators carte blanche, it does very little to eliminate the predation.”

Council member Amy Timmons voted against the resolution.

“I don’t agree with the senseless killing of coyotes, but I do know we have a huge amount of coyotes here,” she said. “I’ve lost lots of livestock.”

Arizona Game & Fish Department field supervisor Larry Phoenix said the agency did not organize the Santa Slay event, but he said reducing coyote numbers could help boost the antelope population in central Arizona.

Other scientists said indiscriminate killing can disrupt the coyote’s social structure and does not target the predators that are destroying livestock.

Project Coyote is helping introduce legislation to ban contests in several states.

“Dog fighting and cockfighting are a blood sport similar to wildlife killing contests, which have been banned in every state,” said Katie Stennes, a spokeswoman for Project Coyote.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story included misinformation. The article misspelled the reporter’s name in the byline. The story here has been corrected, but clients who used earlier versions are asked to run the correction that can be found here.

This story is part of Elemental: Covering Sustainability, a multimedia collaboration between Cronkite News, Arizona PBS, KJZZ, KPCC, Rocky Mountain PBS and PBS SoCal.