Matt Francis: Ethical hunters recognize killing contests for what they are
Editor: All of us are tired of the paranoid, nonsensical argument of the “creeping incrementalism” that is a transparent synonym for the “slippery slope” argument. The Arizona residents who have recently learned about these disgusting killing contests aren’t trying to stop ethical hunters or steal your precious guns. Thanks to the hard work of a core group of Arizona residents, the greater Arizona populace have voiced their concern to their local governments to initiate change, which in turn reached the state level and the instruction of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.
Arizona local and state governments — and especially the AZGF commission would never bow to the whims of a California-based conservation organization no matter how much sense they made or how much money was behind them, or even how much science supported them. Secondly, if anyone concerned about Project Coyotes goals would actually take the time to read through the articles on its website and/or watch their videos, they would see that this organization is certainly not trying to stop hunting or is even against hunting, rather they are mostly an educational/conservation based organization attempting to illuminate the need for predator management based in science.
This is not an “anti” conspiracy or a “left wing liberal” agenda as some suggest. This is a nonpartisan issue being addressed by Arizona residents who recognize the obvious; wildlife killing contests are NOT hunting. The indiscriminate killing of predators for cash, prizes and selfies — and resultant discarding of coyote, bobcat, and fox dead bodies on our public lands is beyond disrespectful and pathetically disgusting. Not only do killing contests violate the Public Trust Doctrine, they violate every single tenant of the North American Model.
In 1999 AZGFD tried to pass a rule banning killing contests that was eventually rejected by the Governors Regulatory Review Council for technical reasons. In other words, AZGFD knows killing contests are not a population management tool, and they actually cause more problems. That is why you and others who want to slaughter our predators for selfies should respect the management direction of the department you consistently claim you respect and support their ruling.
So where are the antelope and deer organizations? Perhaps they are with the vast majority of ethical hunters who recognize killing contests for what they are; a perverted black-eye to the sport of hunting. Killing contests are part of the problem with the decline of the national public opinion of hunting and hunters. Nobody is trying to end hunting in this country. Nobody is coming for your guns either, but if you want to slaughter our wildlife, we are coming.