MADISON (WKOW) — Wisconsin state Sen. Fred Risser is proposing a bill that would prohibit wildlife hunting contests.
These contests use various tactics to attract, manipulate, confuse, and even temporarily blind wildlife in order to kill as many animals as possible, according to a news release from Risser’s office.
This type of hunting typically consists of squirrels, rabbitts and coyotes. A group or individuals go out and hunt as many wildlife as they can then typically win a prize.
Risser said sometimes dogs, semi-automatic weapons, ATVs, traps, snares, and snowmobiles are often used in such contests, including participants chasing animals on snowmobiles to the point of exhaustion and running them over repeatedly.
State Director at the Humane Society of the U. S. is also on board saying there’s been a push to end these competitions. They said some hunters condemned these contests as unethical and say they create a bad name for those who hunt ethically.
“People are saying this is not ethical hunting this does not align with Wisconsin’s proud conservation tradition, it’s a black eye on our state,” said “Melissa Tedrowe, Wisconsin State Director at The Humane Society of the United States.
Leroy Hubbard, owner of the bar called Hyde Store in Ridgeway said he hosts these competitions, but only for squirrel hunting. He and others are against the bill.
“It totally bothers me if it would be banned… We go by the DNR regulations.” Hubbard said. “We use them to eat, and I don’t see anything wrong with that.”
Hubbard also said his competitions sets rules on how many wild animals people can hunt. As wildlife advocates push to ban them proponents argue they’re an important tool for farmers who want to keep coyote populations away.
“There’s a misconception on how these are played out,” said Hubbard. “You’ll never eliminate an entire population of these animals as far as I’m concerned. You’re not going to eliminate a population.”
According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the bill prohibits a person from doing any of the following: 1) organizing, conducting, or sponsoring a contest; 2) providing a venue for a contest, and 3) participating in a contest. A violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a forfeiture.
The bill does not include fishing tournaments.