For well over a century, maybe two, towns, hunting clubs and various organizations across New York State, and the country, have held fundraisers that pay cash and prizes to hunters and/or trappers that bring in the largest coyote or the heaviest sack of squirrels. Now, 8 states across the nation have banned such contests and Empire State Governor Kathy Hochul is contemplating signing a bill, passed by the legislature to join-in.

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According to apnews.com, New York's new law would make it illegal to organize or participate in contests involving killing wildlife for prizes or entertainment. Residents would still be able to hunt the animals, however, they can't be part of contest. The law would not ban contests featuring prizes for white-tailed deer, bear and turkey due to existing regulations that include limits for conservation.

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Brian Shapiro, New York state director of the Humane Society of the United States told the Associate Press, "It’s wrong that fringe groups in these extreme contests can use our wildlife resources for money. I can’t think of any other natural resource that is used that way.” I can think of a few like fish and vegetables but that's not the point. Hunters and trappers are not happy about the proposed law.

close-up of Grey/Gray squirrel holding a walnut
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“When it comes to this stuff, it’s all about emotion. They throw logic out of the window,” David Leibig, a rural upstate resident and executive director of the New York State Trappers Association told the AP. Leibig said the events draw families and raise money for fire departments and other community groups. John Van Etten, president of the Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs of Sullivan County added, “I think the people that want to ban these contests don’t really understand them.”

A grey squirrel in Botanic Gardens, Dublin, Ireland
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According to apnews.com, Republican Assembly Member Steve Hawley was quoted in a press release, "This anti-hunting bill is yet another example of out-of-touch, big city legislators imposing their will on our constituents.” The geographic-political divide New York continues to grow.

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