For immediate release
Date: November 5, 2021
Logan Christian, Conservation Advocate, Mountain Lion Foundation
916-442-2666 ext. 108
Nevada Department of Wildlife votes 5-4 to not move forward with proposed language banning wildlife-killing contests.
Nevada (remote meeting) – On Friday, November 5, 2021, the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners workshopped language, proposed by Commissioner David McNinch, that would ban wildlife-killing contests in the state of Nevada. After considerable discussion and dozens of comments from members of the public and County Advisory Boards, the Commission voted 5-4 to not move forward with the proposed language.
The language, proposed for inclusion in Nevada Administrative Code 502, reads: “A person shall not by any means: a) Participate in, organize, promote, sponsor, or solicit participation in a contest where a participant uses or intends to use any device or implement to capture or kill predatory animals or fur-bearing animals. For the purposes of this subsection, “contest” means a competition among participants where participants must register or record entry and pay a fee, and prizes or cash are awarded to winning or successful participants.”
Tony Wasley, Director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife, provided a more direct stance on wildlife-killing contests than the Department has been willing to provide previously. Commenting in support of the proposed language, he stated, “My fear as a sportsman and Director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife is that an unwillingness to consider what society writ large feels about what we do will hasten the erosion of privileges that I hold near and dear.”
Commissioner David McNinch clarified that he does not view this as a biological issue for coyotes, but as an issue related to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and improving the relevancy of sportsmen. “The vast majority of the public are largely accepting of what sportsmen do, but how we [pursue wildlife] will change those opinions.”
Several commissioners commented against the proposed language, many highlighting how the commission should not weigh in on ethical issues. “Ethics are subjective”, stated Commissioner Tommy Caviglia. “What some of you agree to do, I might not agree to do.”
Logan Christian, a Conservation Advocate with Mountain Lion Foundation, commented in support of the proposed language. “These contests do not represent standards of fair chaise or science-based management of our native wildlife. Research finds that the indiscriminate killing of these species can lead to unintended consequences including disruption of family groups, increased rates of reproduction and increased conflicts with domestic animals.” Many other conservation organizations commented in support of the proposed language including Sierra Club, Project Coyote and the Humane Society of the United States.
Commissioner McNinch motioned to move the language forward for a vote at a future meeting, but the motion did not pass. Amid considerable public outcry against wildlife-killing contests, as well as pressure from a growing contingent of Western states that have banned the contests, the Nevada State Legislature will likely take up the issue next since the Commission could not reach an agreement.