I was really disturbed to hear about the 2020 Hunt for the Cash Predator Bash taking place in Durand at the end of February.
This event, which is a competitive contest of who can shoot the most wild animals, amounts to nothing more than killing for entertainment. The winners, who will receive cash prizes, are determined by the most number of animals they kill.
These types of contests damage the reputation of responsible hunters. For instance, participants in wildlife killing contests often simply dump the bodies after cash prizes have been awarded. Further, Mike Finley, former chairman of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, said, “Killing large numbers of predators as part of an organized contest or competition is inconsistent with sound, science-based wildlife management and antithetical to the concepts of sportsmanship and fair chase.”
Wild carnivores play a vital role in our ecosystem, and killing them as part of contests will not increase game populations. The Pennsylvania Game Commission noted this in 2016 and concluded, “After decades of using predator control (such as paying bounties) with no effect, and the emergence of wildlife management as a science, the agency finally accepted the reality that predator control does not work.”
Sadly, Durand’s Cash Predator Bash is not an isolated event. In fact, nearly 20 of these wildlife killing contests are expected to take place in Michigan this year. These contests are a far cry from traditional hunting that involves fair chase, and they stand in opposition to Michiganders’ values of responsible conservation and respect for wildlife.
Indeed, because killing contests violate principles of sportsmanship and risk disrupting healthy ecosystems, several states have outlawed them, including Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Vermont.
Quite simply, contests like the Cash Predator Bash are not based on sound science, violate the concept of fair chase, and are inconsistent with respect for wildlife. Killing for fun shouldn’t have a place in Shiawassee County.