For the love of nature: State allows wild animal killing competitions to continue | Lifestyles

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The photos are horrible: heaps of dead foxes and coyotes on the back of trucks.

These cousins ​​of our loyal canine companions are treated like vermin in wildlife killing competitions, with cash and other prizes going to those who kill the most, largest, or even smallest puppies.

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) board of directors was due to vote in August to ban cash prizes competitions, but instead was told the board was not empowered to take action on the cash prizes issue.

DWR Executive Director Ryan Brown said these competitions spark opposing passions. While hunters love the cash prizes and farmers continue to believe coyotes and foxes are a nuisance, many animal lovers find the competitions appalling.

I like to admit that I fall into the latter camp.

Predators are an important part of a healthy ecosystem by keeping deer, rodents, and other animals at bay.

Killing coyotes is actually the worst way to reduce their numbers. Studies show that when threatened, coyotes produce more offspring and expand their territory.

According to DWR, the most effective and humane way to deal with coyote and fox problems is to avoid feeding wildlife, securing dumpsters or other food sources, and keeping pets indoors. Coyotes can also be deterred with loud noises, projectiles, or sprays.


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