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Humane Society Urges Maryland To Ban Predator Hunts That Target Coyotes, Foxes And Raccoons

WASHINGTON (WJZ) -- The Humane Society of the United States is speaking out against wildlife killing contests that are legal in the State of Maryland.

To those who participate, the so-called contests are known as predator hunts. They involve the killing of just certain animals.

There is now a push to ban the practice.

Right now, there is a bill on the House Floor to ban wildlife killing contests, which opponents said are cruel. It comes after the Humane Society of the United States conducted an undercover investigation into contests in Maryland.

Jill Fritz is the Director of Wildlife Protection at the Humane Society. She said the results of the recent undercover investigation into two Maryland wildlife killing contests in Frederick and Waldorf prove the practice is inhumane.

"This is not sportsmanship, it's certainly not conservation and it's not stewardship for our wildlife," Fritz said.

Fritz said the organizers of the contests typically award cash prizes, not only for the most animals killed, but also for the heaviest.

She said in Maryland, coyotes, foxes and raccoons are most often targeted; and many times, the animal is immediately disposed of after the contest.

Photos obtained by WJZ show carcasses piled up on top of one another.

Five other states have banned wildlife contests. Now, one Maryland lawmaker drafted a bill that would ban them here.

"They're brutal, they lead to indiscriminate slaughter, they can use practices that are not allowed in traditional hunting, for all of these reasons they should be outlawed," Delegate Dana Stein (D) said.

Stein is the sponsor of the bill. He said his legislation will not affect traditional hunting, only events that kill animals for the sole purpose of winning money or prizes.

WJZ reached out to a predator hunting group in Maryland and are still waiting to hear back.

The bill was already introduced but next Wednesday it will be presented in the House Environment and Transportation hearing. It will be an opportunity for both supporters and opponents to speak and voice their concerns.

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