Recent news of a coyote hunting contest in Belleville has sparked a massive amount of backlash from animal activist groups. Many of these groups are seizing this opportunity to attempt to discredit legal hunting and trapping of coyotes. The OFAH doesn’t have a formal policy or position on coyote contests, but we fully support regulated hunting and trapping of coyotes, and will defend hunters and trappers against unfair criticism, unwarranted attacks, and propaganda against our community. Let’s debunk some of the myths about coyote contests and coyote hunting.
The truth about hunting contests
Coyote contests are relatively rare in Ontario, and most non-hunters don’t realize that contests like these don’t change the activity. First and foremost, all hunting still needs to be within the rules and regulations, and bounties are illegal. Because of this, modern contests don’t dramatically change the number of hunters or how they hunt because the large majority of participants are already hunting for that particular species at that time of year. Like most hunting activities, there is dedicated gear and other investments being made. The biggest investment can be time. Past experience and having time to hunt are often the biggest drivers of successful hunting, especially with something as challenging as coyote hunting. In the end, most contest participants have a chance to win prizes for an activity they are already doing.
These contests are put on largely as promotions to simply try to attract existing hunters to their store. It has a much greater influence and value as a retail marketing strategy than it ever could on wildlife sustainability.
These attacks aren’t anti-contest, they are anti-hunting
Many of the claims from those opposed to the contest are driven by anti-hunting sentiment and not simply concerns over this specific issue. If those same individuals or organizations were asked if they support every day, legal hunting and trapping of coyotes, the answer would almost certainly be no. So, let’s not kid ourselves in thinking this opposition is isolated to the contest. Looking at the arguments being used, it’s clear that their issue is with all coyote hunting.
Hunting & coyote population sustainability and status
In the Southern half of the province, coyote hunting is open all year and there is no limit on the number that can be taken. Despite this very liberal season, coyotes are thriving across their range in Ontario, showing that the hunting of coyotes is in no way a sustainability concern. Coyote populations are extremely robust and can withstand high levels of harvest without negative population impacts. Any claim that a contest of this sort is ecologically damaging or threating to coyote populations is willfully ignorant of the fact that there is no limit on coyote harvest in a large portion of coyote range in the Province.
A Belleville-based contest doesn’t affect Algonquin Wolves
Claims are also circulating that this contest threatens Algonquin Wolves because hunters could be shooting the wolves and submitting them as coyotes. To put it simply, these are FALSE claims. As any coyote hunter or trapper knows, the MNRF has closed hunting and trapping of wolves and coyotes in the geographic townships where Algonquin Wolves may exist. This moratorium has been a detriment to the hunters and trappers in that area since it was implemented. Regardless, the contest is not even being held near Algonquin Wolf range. Trying to tie this contest to the endangerment of Algonquin Wolves shows a clear lack of knowledge about the rules for coyote hunting in Ontario, or worse, a willingness from the anti-hunting crowd to completely overlook and ignore that these rules exist. The MNRF has already addressed any accidental harvest of Algonquin Wolves and no amount of hunting contests in the area will change that harvesting wolves or coyotes there is illegal.
Contests and coyote hunting don’t result in the waste of animals
Another argument being used is that coyote hunting causes deliberate waste of these animals, which again shows an absolute ignorance of Ontario’s hunting laws. As is the case with trapping, it clearly states in Ontario’s Hunting Regulations Summary that it is illegal to abandon the pelt of a coyote or to let it spoil. Again, if you dig deep enough into the positions of the groups speaking out against coyote hunting, you will find that they are anti-fur in general regardless of if it is being used. Although there is some public sentiment against fur, it is a renewable resource and garments made from it do not shed harmful microplastics into the environment, which cannot be said for the oil-based alternatives positioned as more ecologically friendly.
The hunting community is facing unwarranted threats of violence and hate
At the end of the day the majority of “environmental groups” speaking out on this issue oppose sustainable use activities and are looking for absolutely any reason to sway the general public into villainizing coyote hunters – or for that matter hunters in general. We see these same attacks from these same groups year after year after year. As they do not support legal sustainable hunting in any capacity, they will always attempt to use emotional rhetoric and bend the truth to push their beliefs. It’s unfortunate and it’s dangerous. Need an example? Members of these groups have even gone so far as threatening violence towards the operator of this coyote contest. To say that this is completely unacceptable doesn’t even do it justice. Like all other Canadians, hunters and hunting retailers should not be subject to the violence and hate that have arisen out of this issue. We have the right to feel safe in our beliefs and participation in a highly regulated and legal activity.
The final word
The fact of the matter is that coyote populations in Ontario are healthy and coyote hunting and trapping provides important socioeconomic and ecological benefits, including wildlife management. As hunters, we know that you are passionate about this issue and that the situation might feel like it is a personal attack. And that’s because it is. Even if you’re not a coyote hunter, as a hunter in general you most definitely understand the frustration that comes with this issue. It’s a microcosm of a much larger issue when it comes to the uneducated opinions constantly spewed by anti-hunting groups across Ontario and beyond.
We completely understand that you may want to weigh in and defend your beliefs on this issue, but we urge you not to stoop to the levels that we’ve seen from the other side. It’s okay to debate but do it without hate. The hunting community needs to stay strong and united. The facts and reality are on our side.
As an old man, I still love fishing and hunting and camping in the great out of doors. What I do and have always done, is 100% legal. I support the SPCA, foodbanks many other charities and continue to invest in green energy and support conservation in all it’s forms. A typical hunter.
Great article Lauren
Here, here !
Great article, now if we could only get those groups to actually listen, it would be a tremendous help.
OFAH member 189085
Your article: “The Truth about Coyote Hunting ……………”, is the kind of reporting Canadians need to receive. There is no doubt the much of the “harvesting” of resources in Ontario is appropriately regulated (on paper) and that is especially true of hunting and fishing. Having said that, I am of the opinion that the laws regulating “harvesting” of fish, game, and other natural resources are not well enforced. The Government of Ontario has not adequately conserved many ecosystems, watersheds, and individual species of plants and animal life in our province.
I hope to see more reports and articles, in the future.
It kills me how these people act until something happens to them, then they will scream bloody heck. I would like to ask them what they would do when they coyotes started attacking their pets or kids in the yard. Ask the people in Glochester or on the outskirts of Barrheaven. I now live in northern Ontario and the coyotes have destroyed the dear population
Yes they sit in their Condos and cry about the poor misunderstood Coyote. Now these animals a getting bolder and moving into the cities. These activists will quickly change their minds, when their small dog or cat is snatched and killed. This is what predators do.
Most people do not/will not accept that hunters are a very important part of wildlife management. Excess populations end up causing a slow, suffering death from disease and starvation. Diseases are most aggressive in over population. Managed control helps balance the population levels to the available resources for the species survival. Additionally excessive loses are incurred by farmers due to livestock losses.
Finally the management managers look to the hunters, the controllable harvesters, to fine tune their management goals. Hunters and hunting is used to meet those goals of population control so the habitat can support a strong, healthy populations of all species, both the predators and the prey.
Anti hunters are unaware of the necessity of thinning out coyote populations because they multiply rapidly and are never in danger of extinction. Also when they are high in populace, they are a danger to farmers calves and sheep. I have personally experienced it in years past. I guess anti-hunter groups have nothing better to do, and are totally ill-informed.
I am not a hunter of any type of animal, but do enjoy fishing. I oppose any violence in respect to hunting or fishing and trust the regulations in both areas. As shown in the USA we have protestors but they are not the problem. The problem being what I refer to as professional Strike Breakers. This type of violence starts with a few of these pros to fire up the legitimate protestors and they get into a frenzy or rage. This is not the Canadian way. There is a place for both to exist, but keep it legal, no violence or vandalism. We have enough to contend with Covid- 19 lets get this Pandemic under control so everyone can enjoy life again.
Hi Lauren. I appreciated the article about coyote hunting. Sorry about your ‘fairly unsuccessful’ hunting designation. My own might be described as non existent. I still purchase the Outdoors Card with small game license when necessary but never get out in the field. All my friends and associates who hunted are gone. My wife, who was licensed to hunt has allowed her PAL to expire
so I did not renew her Outdoors card. Whenever we went afield she said “I’d just as soon carry a camera” despite the fact that I had bought her some really sweet small gauge shotguns.
I paid for my 3 sons to get their PAL certifications and since paid for two renewals. I wanted to ensure that when I depart someone will be available to take custody and market my firearms without time pressures. I have sold the collections of 2 friends and ensured that their widows got the best available deals I could find.
I shudder to think of my boys selling some of the really sweet items in my collection that I have not taken advantage of over the years. I had an acquaintance with a T-shirt “Too many lures – not enough time”. Sadly, a similar sentiment regarding guns would not work in today’s world.
I appreciate the point of view, particularly the encouragement to debate without hate.
Listening and engaging the conversation to become an informed discussion is challenging, but worthwhile for all.
The hunters I hunt with are the best advocates with their respect for nature, and sustainable harvesting. Consistently.
We have a precious resource that needs to be managed by participants that actually go outdoors, and respect the environment we are fortunate to live in.
Stay well, be kind.
Well said Lauren. I hope MSMedia picks up on your critique and gives it some press.
Don’t bet your jacket on the MSMedia printing anything practical, or, truthful…!!!
Great article ,good work
its unfortunate that these small minded anti-hunting groups live in the small confines or should i say mostly cityits that maybe have not seen coyotes running around in the small communities as we have experienced in our little community. Do they not understand that these animals could attack their pets or even worse small children.
I no that it is the right for hunters to hunt coyotes . Wait to these gropes of people have their small animals come up missing. due to coyotes. In St. Thomas there has been coyotes seen.
I feed the birds and rabbits as soon as the snow falls in Burlington ….the rabbits have disappeared and the dog walkers are carrying hockey sticks to fend off coyotes.
A group of neighbors have commissioned a private dog catcher….. problem solved….
Living in rural Niagara I have noticed an increase in coyotes our deer population has dropped turkeys are almost non existent from what the population was at one time as for cottontails I’ll be lucky to see one or two over the winter and I go for walks with my dog I will not hunt bunnies because of they are scarce here. The coyotes will come into our back yard and try to entice our dog to follow them so if we know they are near we have to keep a close eye on our pets. I don’t hunt coyotes but thinking about changing that. Good thing we have the OFAH to fight for our rights to hunt and fish keep up the good work.
All of us who enjoy our traditions of hunting , fishing & trapping need to express our gratitude to knowledgeable young people like Lauren Tonelli who stand up against those who would try to bully us into changing our way of life for the sake of political correctness. As a proud member of O.F.A.H. since 1972 I am heartened and encouraged by the reasoned, responsible actions of those like Lauren who are the future of the wise use of our natural resources i this wonderful country. Thanks O.F. A. H. and keep up the good work Lauren.
Informative; keep up the good writings, Lauren !
Thank you for an excellent rebuttal. All of us who totally enjoy our great outdoors need this accurate and true response even more in this day and age.
Nice to see my membership in action.
Great article! The animals are sustainable and they are a burden to the farmer as well. I know of a trapper here in Muskoka that had been dealt a bad blow from the MNR! He has a time frame to check these trap i understand. His mother passed away and when he got to the trap on the 4th day he had a coyote! He skinned it out and found a chip. Called the MNR the right thing to do. They said yes we know where it is. He said i will bring it in. So he did. Upon arrival he explained why he was late getting to the traps and they said it did not matter. He was fined $500 for not getting there till the 4th day. So he did say about the chip, and they stated that they had a collar on it, he said it wasn’t on it when he got in the trap, they said we know we flew out and took it off the animal and put the chip in to track him and see who was doing this! The expenses to fly a helicopter out to that! I believe the animal activists are with in the MNR and so i have a very dim view of them in head office. The CO’s i have a lot of respect for they are great people.
Enjoyed your article, Lauren
When I read it, I saw that it was factual, clear, and represented the actuality that exists.
It also had encouraging thoughts that were woven into it and for me, after decades of an urban-based life after selling my country home in the Whitewater Region, I found myself longing for a retirement home that is not to far from the beaten track say anywhere within fifty klicks of the Trans-Canada Highway and is close to Crown land and who knows, if it ends up being nearby some of those generational-held enclaves for hunting and fishing camps, that would be quite nice.
Ontario is a wide and empty province outside of its few crowded cities and Ontario’s countryside has many many wonderful activities for those of us who enjoy being out and enjoying Nature and doing so with kindred spirits.
Keep up the great work and thank you for your enjoyable and clear-eyed reporting,
Johnny in Ottawa
These may be some of the same people that get there dog taken from them by coyotes while there out walking. In many places coyotes have become not afraid of humans due to some people feeding them. Coyotes are only a good thing when they are controlled. Love the article, I just hope the problem people read it. They are not well informed. Thankyou for stating facts.
Excellent piece. I really had my eyes opened by a book by Dr. Dan Flores – Coyote America. It basically tells the story of the coyote from prehistory to now in the US. The largest takeaway I got from it was that there was an actual government mandate in the US to eradicate all predators. This lasted from the late 1800s through most of the 20th century. There were government sponsored poisoning, trapping and hunting programs on an industrial scale and they COULD NOT eradicate the coyote. Simply hunting is basically ineffective to control coyote populations. The poisoning and trapping helped, but it never completely got rid of them. Wolves, bears, mountain lions, etc all were effectively extirpated from their historical range, but the coyote steadily increased its range!!! Apparently they have a breeding strategy that kicks in when they’re being persecuted – they respond by having larger litters!!! And with the removal of all the larger predators this opened more range for the coyotes to move into.
So what I’m saying is (if you believe Dr. Flores’ book) that we are never going to eradicate the coyote – especially with only hunting. Get that book, it’s a very interesting read.
Well said , I’m glad someone understands how hunting works !
Well Done Lauren. Thanks for shinning a light on the ignorance of the anti-hunting crew. They probably stopped for a burger after breaking the windows at Cheshers.
Keep up the good work! It is fantastic to have the OFAH representing the Hunting and Fishing Community.
Well written, We really need people like you , Lauren
I’m sorry but this article is nonsense and it is a poor representation of hunters and the hunting community. To suggest that anti-contest is actually anti-hunter sentiment is stretching the truth by a huge margin. I don’t know what hunters you’re talking to but almost every single one I know is opposed to contests of these nature because they are far too close to market hunting, they do not uphold the principles of the NAM regarding legitimate use and whilst they may be legal, they are terrible terrible PR for hunters. Hunting already has a PR problem and this exacerbates that, it does not remedy it. This line especially is ludicrous “As hunters, we know that you are passionate about this issue and that the situation might feel like it is a personal attack. And that’s because it is.” you complain that anti-hunters are basing their position of rhetoric and emotion and then you do the exact same thing here.
Hunters do not need to be united with people who are doing harm to the whole community through bad optics. Many prominent hunters such as Jason Matzinger, Robbie Kroger and heck even Mark Hall in BC recognize the need for hunters to be more careful about the way we portray ourselves to the general public. Statements like this show a true lack of understanding of this issue and it is a shame to see this from what is supposed to be an organization representing hunters responsibly and ethically.
well said, in so many things in gets down to “its legal” but is it right, and is it in the best interests of future hunters.
Thank you for your article . Well written.
Clear, concise and well written article. My only fear is that we are “preaching to the converted”. Hopefully some, if not all of this article, will make it into the same news media that carried the the opposing view.
What a well-written article. In particular, the truth about Algonquin wolves was perfect and should be the response from the Ministry when the “advocates” and “environmental groups” bring up this point. This sort of educated and factual response needs to be louder than the false lies that are getting the attention, otherwise people start jumping on the bandwagon and believing the lies. Speak up, speak truth, and encourage dialogue with those who have a different opinion. If we don’t do that, we are no different than those who are spewing hate toward hunting / trapping activities and those who enjoy that level of conservation.
I’m sure I speak for most members when I say that your efforts are appreciated and we encourage you to bring forward more of the same.
converting hunting to a competition debases the sport, and will attract negative reactions from the general none hunting public.
Wolves kill for food. Coyotes & cats kill for the joy of killing!
as a farmer in simcoe county i am very grateful to hunters .see if activists like their paycheque ripped up when predators come into our farm yards!
Very well done.
There was no such thing as Algonquin wolves untill several years ago.
What wolves we had in the area were wiped out.
Then they were re-introduced into Ontario from packs down in the States.