In a 4-1 vote, the commission prohibited “giving inducements of any kind” in hunting contests for “nongame species and fur-bearing animals,” said Clark Blanchard, a Fish and Game spokesman. The ban will put an end to organized coyote hunts in rural parts of California that awarded up to $500 and other gifts to top hunters.
The competition was started after an increase in coyotes attacking livestock and destroying crops.
The hunts were brought to the commission’s attention after agray wolf dubbed OR7 was found roaming between the California and Oregon border, Blanchard said.
“There was concern that somebody hunting for coyote would mistake the wolf for a coyote,” he said.
Commissioner Jacque Hostler-Carmesin was the lone dissenter. She asked for more studies to see how a ban would affect the agriculture industry and cattle ranchers.
That’s probably going to be the biggest impact on this decision, as predator control has always been an issue given the amount of livestock that roams around rural California and the numbers of coyotes, bobcats and other species in areas where ranchers raise cattle.
But you can understand why some would question the difference between hunting to keep the predator population in check and hunting with prizes at stake. Whether or not this is the right decision remains to be seen.