The California Fish and Game Commission voted Wednesday to ban hunting contests that award prizes for nongame animals such as coyotes, beavers and bobcats.
In a 4-1 vote, the commission prohibited “giving inducements of any kind” in hunting contests for “nongame species and fur-bearing animals,” said Clark Blanchard, a Fish and Game spokesman. The ban will put an end to organized coyote hunts in rural parts of California that awarded up to $500 and other gifts to top hunters.
The competition was started after an increase in coyotes attacking livestock and destroying crops.
The hunts were brought to the commission’s attention after a gray wolf dubbed OR7 was found roaming between the California and Oregon border, Blanchard said.
“There was concern that somebody hunting for coyote would mistake the wolf for a coyote,” he said.
Commissioner Jacque Hostler-Carmesin was the lone dissenter. She asked for more studies to see how a ban would affect the agriculture industry and cattle ranchers.
The ban is expected to take effect in early 2015.