New York joins nine other states in banning wildlife killing contests.
On Friday, December 22, 2023, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation to protect wildlife in New York State. Legislation S.4099/A.2917 “amends the environmental conservation law to make certain hunting contests, competitions, tournaments, and derbies that allow for the take of large numbers of wildlife unlawful. The legislation does not ban hunting or fishing but does protect New York’s rich biodiversity by prohibiting the wasteful taking of certain wildlife.” Protect the Adirondacks advocated in support of this law at every step of the way in 2023. This legislation had been introduced annually through the last 20 years.
In a press release, Governor Hochul said “Protecting wildlife is critical to fostering the integrity and resilience of our environment and our outdoor recreation economy. This legislation establishes strong safeguards for our state’s precious wildlife species and protects our important fishing and hunting traditions.”
The new law makes it unlawful “for an individual to organize, sponsor, conduct, promote or participate in any contest, competition, tournament or derby with the objective of taking or hunting wildlife for prizes, inducement or entertainment. Any wildlife killed during these activities become the property of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.”
The law specifically helps prevent the taking of significant numbers of animals, often coyotes, crows, squirrels and rabbits, in contests held for prizes and entertainment rather than the targeted management of wildlife populations. The legislation excludes contests for hunting white-tailed deer, turkeys and bears, as well as fishing contests, which are carefully regulated by the state. By enacting this legislation, New York joins a national trend of states banning such contests.
This legislation was sponsored in the State Assembly by Deborah Glick, the Chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee. In a press releases, Deborah Glick said, “It is shocking that in New York, dozens of these barbarous, unsporting contests take place each year to kill the largest number of certain species of wildlife. These killing contests serve no conservation or scientifically backed ecological purpose and encourage senseless brutality. I applaud Governor Hochul for signing this legislation and ending this inhumane practice while protecting a farmer, rancher, or other New Yorkers’ right to safeguard companion animals and livestock from nuisance animals through DEC regulations. The wildlife of New York is a natural resource that should be protected, not brutally killed for cash.”
This legislation was sponsored by the State Senate by Transportation Committee Chair Tim Kennedy. In a press release Senator Kennedy said, “With the signing of this legislation, we are sending a clear message that the wanton waste of one of our state’s most treasured resources will not continue. The indiscriminate, inhumane killing of our shared wildlife in exchange for cash prizes is a waste of life, and I am proud that New York State is taking the lead in outlawing these contests. Thank you to the dozens of organizations and countless advocates who supported this legislation, and Governor Hochul for signing it into law.”
Protect the Adirondacks congratulates Governor Hochul, Assemblymember Deborah Glick, Senator Tim Kennedy, and the dozens of organizations that worked on this issue and legislation over the last twenty years.