A statewide challenge to kill coyotes has returned for a second year, despite criticism from animal advocates who say the contest is inhumane.
The “Georgia Coyote Challenge” from the state’s Department of Natural Resources encourages people to kill the animals from March to August for a chance to win a lifetime hunting license.
During the 2017 challenge period, 83 hunters turned in a total of 195 coyotes, a spokeswoman said Friday. Officials say the contest is intended to remind the public that coyotes may be hunted year-round.
Animal advocate groups such as national nonprofit Project Coyote balked when the challenge was introduced, and it’s no different this time around. The Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort said the contest “doesn’t work.”
“This killing contest is not only inhumane, but incredibly ineffective,” the nonprofit said on Facebook Thursday.
Berry College professor and Atlanta Coyote Project founder Chris Mowry also believes the challenge is not beneficial. “There are better ways to deal with it than try to kill your way out of a problem,” Mowry told Channel 2 Action News.
DNR deer biologist Charlie Killmaster, on the other hand, told Channel 2 that the contest is “mainly an educational campaign” and won’t largely impact the coyote population.
Coyote sightings in metro Atlanta are fairly common, and often cause a stir among residents who fear for the safety of their children or pets. Coyotes have been spotted in public places such as Piedmont Park and also in homeowners’ backyards. Shortly before the 2017 hunting challenge began, a rabid coyote attacked a Roswell man on his morning run.
Participants may submit photos of up to 10 dead coyotes during three drawing periods. Coyotes must be captured in Georgia to be eligible; metadata will be analyzed to determine the date and location of the provided images.