Signing the legislation known as S.4099/A.2917 into law on December 22, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul took a significant step: she effectively terminated organized coyote hunting contests in the state to protect wildlife. This recent law amends New York's environmental conservation law and specifically targets hunting contests—competitions, tournaments and derbies that permit mass wildlife take. The goal: to suppress these practices--frequently culminating in the death of animals such as coyotes, squirrels, crows and rabbits.
It remains crucial to note: this legislation--though potent in its scope, and unquestionably significant for conservation efforts--nonetheless, doesn't exert influence over hunting contests targeting white-tailed deer, black bears or wild turkeys. As these species are already under the meticulous regulation of state authorities; furthermore, fishing competitions also fall within jurisdictions that exercise careful control. The law's objective can be succinctly articulated as a quest for equilibrium: on one hand lies preservation of wildlife species; on the other—facilitating responsible hunting practices without endangering sustainability is paramount.
Set to take effect in the fall of 2024, this legislation allows organizers of such contests a period for activity adjustment. The Humane Society and other animal-rights groups perceive it as a positive step, applauding Governor Hochul's dedication to environmental stewardship. New York now aligns itself with ten other states that have initiated measures against what they deem wasteful cash-for-wildlife competitions.