Provides that it shall be unlawful for any person to organize, sponsor, conduct, promote, or participate in any contest, competition, tournament or derby where the objective of such contest or competition is to take wildlife.
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A2917
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to
making contests, competitions, tournaments and derbys to take wildlife
PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
This bill will make it unlawful for any person to organize, sponsor,
conduct, promote or participate in any contest, competition, tournament,
or derby with the objective of taking or hunting wildlife for prizes for
other inducement, or for entertainment. This does not include contests
for hunting white-tailed deer, turkey, bear, or fishing contests.
SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Section one. Subdivisions 14, 15 and 16 of section 11-0901 of the envi-
ronmental conservation law, subdivision 14 as renumbered by chapter 486
of the laws of 1985, are renumbered subdivisions 15, 16, and 17 and a
new subdivision 14 is added, making it unlawful for any person to organ-
ize, sponsor, conduct, promote or participate in any contest, competi-
tion, tournament, or derby with the objective of taking or hunting wild-
life for prizes for other inducement, or for entertainment. This
excludes; contests for hunting white-tailed deer, turkey, and bear;
field trial testing for dogs; fishing derbies, as fish are not wildlife
under this law.
Section 2 amends section 71-0921 of the environmental conservation law
by adding a new subdivision 10-a. Each such violation shall be punished
by a fine of not less than five hundred dollars nor more than two thou-
Section 3. This act shall take effect on the first of November next
succeeding the date on which it shall have become a law.
Wildlife killing contests are organized events in which participants
compete for cash and prizes for killing the most, heaviest or largest
animals within a certain time period. In New York State, thousands of
animals - including coyotes, foxes, bobcats, rabbits, crows, woodchucks
and squirrels - are killed in these events every year. The bodies of the
animals are often discarded after prizes are awarded. Dependent young
may be orphaned--left to die from starvation, predation, or exposure.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)
does not oversee or regulate such contests.
Wildlife killing contests are a wanton waste of New York's wildlife
resources, which belong to all state residents. These organized competi-
tions treat animals as disposable pieces in a game to win cash and
prizes. Such activities do not align with New York's hunting tradition
of sportsmanship and respect for animals and the environment. They could
also possibly jeopardize the future of hunting and affect access to
private lands for all hunters. The Humane Society of the United States
estimates that nearly 600 wildlife killing contests have been held
nationwide in the past five years, with dozens held in New York State.
Wildlife killing contests are counter-productive to modern, science-
based wildlife management principles because they are ineffective and
there are no studies to support claims that these contests are an effec-
tive way to control populations. Indiscriminate killing of wild carni-
vores like coyotes may reduce populations temporarily, but the best
available science demonstrates that these species will respond with an
increase in reproduction. Killing contests create instability in the
family structures of animals that are killed. In the case of coyotes,
this disruption allows more coyotes to produce and can increase con
flicts with livestock. Additionally, a recent study of the eastern U.S.
states of New York, New Jersey, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina,
and Florida found that coyotes are not adversely impacting deer popu-
lations in our region. And in the spring of 2019, the NYSDEC reported
that hunters in the state harvested an estimated 227,787 deer during the
2018-19 hunting seasons, approximately 12 percent more than the previous
This legislation amends New York Environmental Conservation Law to make
it unlawful for any person to organize, sponsor, conduct, promote, or
participate in any contest, competition, tournament, or derby with the
objective of taking or hunting wildlife for prizes or other inducement,
or for entertainment. The legislation is narrowly crafted to prohibit
only these killing contests for prizes or other inducement, or for
entertainment; it would not affect the continued lawful, regulated hunt-
ing of furbearer or game species, fishing contests and derbies, or dog
field trials. Its sole objective is to prohibit inhumane, unsporting,
and wasteful wildlife killing contests, which are opposed by a growing
number of wildlife management professionals and state wildlife commis-
sions and agencies including Vermont, Arizona, and Massachusetts. To
date, the states of California, Vermont, Massachusetts, Colorado, New
Mexico, Washington and Arizona have banned killing contests.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2019-20: Similar to A.722 / A.9775
This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeeding the
date on which it shall have become law.