Residents in Palenville, N.Y., will be celebrating spring’s arrival with a hunting contest that targets crows, but animal advocates and a state senator are raising opposition and hoping to stop any and all contests that target wildlife in the future.
This weekend the Rip Van Winkle Rod and Gun Club will be hosting its 4th Annual “Crow Down” on March 29-30, which involves killing as many crows as possible in two days. Concerns have been raised about the fact that there is no limit on the number of crows who can be killed and that there is no requirement for non-toxic ammunition, which poses the threat of secondary poisoning to other wild animals.
As abhorrent as killing contests are, in this case it’s perfectly legal under the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) regulations. Worse is that while states are allowed to establish hunting seasons for crows, this one’s coming in at the last minute for New York’s season, which runs from from September 1 to March 31, and will be taking place during nesting season for crows, who typically get an early start mid-March.
Now animal advocacy groups, including Friends of Animals and the Huntington-Oyster Bay Audubon Society, and Senator Tony Avella are raising opposition over the cruelty inherent in these contests and the dangerous attitudes they promote towards wildlife, especially when it comes to what they teach children about the species we share our landscapes with.
“While I continue to support hunting rights, I do not understand why hunting contests continue to be accepted as a general ‘family fun day’ in New York State. These contests promote the slaughtering of countless defenseless animals by creating a competitive atmosphere where hunters try to kill the most amount of wildlife. Without any limit on the amount of crows killed in this particular contest, who’s to say when is enough?” said Avella in a statement.
Species who are considered pests are often targeted in these blood baths, but the so called hunters who go after them are completely ignoring not just the role their targets play in the environment, but their inherent value. It’s been long known that crows are highly intelligent and social animals who form lifelong pair bonds and live in tight-knit family groups that stay together for years.
Again, this isn’t about hunting, hunters’ rights, wildlife management or dealing with pests. It’s about glorifying killing for fun and personal gain, which is something even many hunters continue to stand against.
While there might not be anything that can legally be done to stop this particular hunt, there is hope that contests in New York, including the Crow Down and Holley Squirrel Slam, will become a thing of the past.
Senator Avella has co-sponsored a bill (S.4074) with Senator Jack Martins that will make it illegal for “any person to organize, conduct, promote or participate in any contest or competition where the objective of such contest or competition is to take the greatest number of wildlife.”
Similar efforts are underway in California to protect wildlife, which are expected to progress when California’s Fish and Game Commission meets to discuss a potential ban on killing contests on April 16. Fortunately for wildlife, lawmakers in these states have recognized that these contests have no place in society today.
“Any competition that encourages and glorifies the slaughter of innocent animals for no purpose has no place in our state,” said Martins.
Please sign and share the petition urging lawmakers to pass legislation that will shut down these contests in New York forever.
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