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Commentary

Legislation recently introduced in the Nevada Senate would treat participants in a coyote hunting contest the same as someone convicted of manslaughter. On March 25, the Nevada Senate Committee on Natural Resources introduced Senate Bill 487, which would ban competitions where coyotes are killed for prizes or entertainment. The ridiculousness of the legislation can’t be overstated.

For starters, the penalty for a violation of this new law would be a Class D Felony that carry a mandatory prison term of 1-4 years and a possible fine of up to $5,000.

As if losing your gun rights and voting rights weren’t enough punishment for someone participating in a coyote contest, the authors of Senate Bill 487 decided to go even further.

The language also criminalizes a person who “promotes” or “engage[s] in the furtherance” of a coyote contest or competition. This means, anyone who promotes a contest, perhaps even just posting on social media about it, would be subject to felony penalties and mandatory jail time.

Other crimes that carry a Class D felony punishment in Nevada include involuntary manslaughter and arson.

The language in Senate Bill 487 is vague enough that it could easily be applied to any type of hunt where two sportsmen have a friendly competition for $1 for the first person who kills a coyote on a hunt.

Animal-rights groups have made coyote contests a top priority this legislative session across the country, with similar bills in New Mexico, New York, New Jersey, Montana, Oregon and Wisconsin. Making a coyote hunter a felon, however, is an outrageous and unjust penalty.

“According to the authors of SB 487, killing someone or burning down a house should carry the same penalty as posting on social media about a coyote competition,” said Bruce Tague, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Sportsmen’s Alliance. “This is utterly ridiculous and unwarranted. Worse yet, this bill makes each coyote killed a separate violation of the new law, meaning a judge could sentence a violator to many years in prison for killing a species that the state of Nevada is already struggling to control!”

Just last year the Nevada Department of Wildlife documented over 1,000 calls regarding coyotes causing a nuisance in urban areas alone. In the most recent Nevada Department of Wildlife’s “Urban Wildlife Program Update,” coyote calls were the most common in 2018 with 80 percent of the calls coming from urban areas. The report reveals that coyote attacks on pets and livestock were common, but most concerning were the human attacks. The most recent report of a coyote attacking a human took place on Dec. 12, 2018.

“It’s well known that animal-rights groups view the life of an animal as equal to that of a human being. But it’s an outrage that Nevada legislators would go down the same path when they know that coyotes are public safety threat that are only increasing” said Tague. “Instead, legislators are contemplating a bill that would make commonplace hunting practices for an overpopulated species, which threaten pets, livestock and people, a felony and would imprison sportsmen, strip away their Second Amendment and voting rights, and put wildlife management on the same plane as human murder – which, of course, is how animal-rights activists view it. We call on the Nevada Senate to use commonsense, to protect their constituents and to reject SB 487.”

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