An earlier version of this story implied hunting regulations for coyotes are determined by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. This version has been changed to reflect the fact that coyotes are classified as a predatory animal by state law. Therefore, they are managed by the Department of Agriculture.
The Bureau of Land Management said they will not shut down two upcoming coyote hunting contests in the Rock Springs area. Various conservation groups had asked the agency to halt the hunts, calling them inhumane and dangerous.
The Wyoming Coyote Classic is scheduled for Saturday, and will involve teams killing as many coyotes as possible in order to compete for prizes. The Center for Biological Diversity is among the groups expressing disapproval and spokeswoman Andrea Santasierre said the competition poses too many risks.
“When they’re competing for prizes, they’re more likely to take riskier shots,” said Santasierre.
Santasierre said another problem is contest organizers haven’t obtained a special recreation permit. But BLM spokeswoman Kristen Lenhardt said because the event is not taking place on public land, a special recreation permit is not necessary.
“If someone was coming to us and was asking for example to host an event on public land that’s going to be staged there and there’s a designated route, then we might be having a different conversation,” said Lenhardt.
Another coyote hunting contest is scheduled for February.