Arizona Game & Fish supports ban on certain types of hunting contests

PHOENIX – The Arizona Game & Fish Commission has voted to ban hunting contests that charge fees and award prizes for killing the most of certain types of predatory and fur-bearing animals. If given final approval by the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council, the rule would go into effect Jan. 1, 2020.

Commissioner Kurt Davis, who is an avid hunter, said his vote in favor of the contest ban supports the North American Wildlife Conservation Model created in the mid-1800s, which anglers and hunters supported to conserve species.

“I don’t believe the contests personally meet the standards of what are set forth in the North American model. And I’m as equally convinced that the rule that has been proposed, that I support, deals with that appropriately,” Davis said Friday before casting his yes vote.

The move was met with praise by conservationists.

Jon Trudeau with the Center for Biological Diversity in Tucson said the contests that were banned were wasteful and inhumane.

“It turns hunting into a video game,” Trudeau said. “They’re using assault rifles. They’re killing as many predators as possible. This isn’t to sustain a family. The bodies of the dead are just thrown on to our public lands for others to find.”

According to a release provided by the Game & Fish Department, predatory animals are defined as coyotes, bobcats, foxes and skunks. Fur-bearing animals are weasels, raccoons, beavers, badgers, ringtail cats, muskrats, otters and bobcats.

The rule would not apply to lawful, regulated hunting of predators and fur-bearing animals, nor would it apply to events such as fishing tournaments. The Regulatory Review Counsel has until Sept. 4 to approve the rule.

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