Arizona Game and Fish Commission approves rule prohibiting organized predator killing contests


PHOENIX — Under a new rule approved by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission in a unanimous vote on Friday would designate a predator or fur-bearing hunt contest, as defined by the rule, an unlawful manner and method of take for these species.

The rule next goes to the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council (GRRC) for its review. If GRRC approves the rule, it could become effective Jan. 1, 2020.

According to the Commission, the “intent in adopting this rule is to address social concerns over formally organized and publicized contests that award prizes to competitors that kill the largest number or variety of predators or fur-bearing animals, as these are the types of events that have caused the strongest public objection.”

“To the extent these contests reflect on the overall hunting community, public outrage with these events has the potential to threaten hunting as a legitimate wildlife management function,” said Kurt Davis, a member of the Arizona Game and Fish Commissionin a press release. “Regulated hunting fundamentally supports wildlife conservation efforts in North America. The loss of hunting would equate to a measurable loss in conservation efforts, and would represent a failure of the Commission to fulfill its duty to conserve wildlife for the beneficial use of current and future generations.”

For the purposes of the rule, “contest” means a competition where participants must register or record entry and pay a fee, and prizes or cash are awarded to winning or successful participants.

The rule would not apply to lawful, regulated hunting of predators and fur-bearing animals, nor would it apply to events such as fishing tournaments.

The Commission proposed the rule at its March 15 meeting, and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was posted in the Arizona Administrative Register on April 12, opening a 30-day comment period. Game and Fish received more than 4,800 comments during the comment period.

Predatory animals as defined in A.R.S. § 17-101 are coyotes, bobcats, foxes and skunks. Fur-bearing animals are weasels, raccoons, beavers, badgers, ringtail cats, muskrats, otters and bobcats.


  1. This (predator hunting contests) is not a biological problem, but it certainly is a social problem. Therefore, I applaud the Arizona Game & Fish Commission for doing the socially responsible “right thing”.

    Generally, I think their decisions should be based solely on the science, but these issues are equally important. The North American Model works well, and should be followed whenever possible.

    Thanks! A retired AZ Game Warden

  2. I love that Arizona is taking in consideration the lives of our beautiful animals.This shows real respect and responsibility of not only being a permit less gun ownership state, but a state where many people enjoy not only hunting and fishing but hiking, camping, riding, etc…
    The caged kill is evil and pointless except to show God and others how self centered we really are. It’s times like this when it’s embarrassing to be a human being.

  3. Thank God…have not read the entire proposed new rule, but I’m elated. Arizonans continue your hard organizational work to expose and terminate the savagery of our wild life.

    • Esteban, I agree that such predator or fur-bearing hunts are unnecessary in the 21st Century, as the pelts of both predatory wildlife and fur-bearing ones look much better on the animal than hanging on an interior wall of a home as a trophy or on the exterior barn wall. I was always taught to “eat what you kill,” and I don’t know of anybody chowing down on cajun-spiced coyote on a spit or a heapin’ helpin’ of bobcat burgers or puma pate or roasted raccoon. That said, even in this century, the Phoenix area, Flagstaff, Yuma, and Tucson are the leading metropolitan areas of Arizona, leaving quite a lot of natural habitat out there for fur-bearing and predatory wildlife. They can and do reproduce quite regularly with or without the encroachment of humans. For years now, I’ve tried to convince the federal and state powers that be to get with the federal program that distributes Raboral in high rabies-vector areas, as so many people allow their domestic pets to go outside (domestic cats) or do not kennel them (domestic dogs). There has to be a better way to control the wildlife population other than predatory hunts, but what do we do about the wildlife population growth which will occur in the absence of such hunts? We could trap, sterilize, and release, RFID-chipping said wildlife in order to keep track of the population. The trappers and vets who catch, sterilize and release the wildlife could have the pre-exposure rabies vaccinations. I’ve had them in order to be a volunteer at a wildlife rehab facility; no big deal. Such a program would require more wildlife population monitoring by AZGF and other governmental agencies, but it’s a viable alternative to the method of taking wildlife that AZGF is bringing an end to. When we first moved to Tucson, the Pima County Sheriff’s deputies were occasionally seen near the banks of the Rillito River bed, answering the call of a concerned neighbor who had seen a Mountain Lion roaming the area. There’s bobcats, coyotes, raccoons, and an occasional bear still in my neighborhood, but me and my neighbors leave them alone, keep our pets indoors, and don’t leave food out for them. Without the hunts, which I don’t care for, the wildlife population will increase which will increase the chances of human/wildlife contact with such diseases as rabies. There’s got to be a system whereby we humans and our native wildlife can coexist without slaughtering them in hunt contests, as well as insure that there will be a continuance of healthy wildlife.

      • Veronica, you do make a few interesting points, but….
        There is a difference between biological carrying capacity and social carrying capacity. Too often the latter is problematic because some humans are simply intolerant of wildlife.
        I respectfully suggest you have missed the point of the AZ F&G ruling; It would NOT prevent the hunting of those particular species. The difference is that hunting for cash prizes or other rewards in “contests” would be eliminated….and rightly so. Too, there is often a profit motive on behalf of those who sponsor these contests and that is wrong. The “privilege” of hunting according to already established regulations will remain unchanged.

  4. If this ruling is approved, the population of the listed fur-bearing wildlife will increase more than 10 fold, increasing the chances of humans coming in contact with them and thus furthering the chances of humans and domestic animals being exposed to rabies as well as other diseases carried by such vectors as raccoons, coyotes, and skunks. Is the AZGF working in a coordinated effort with the Dept. of Agriculture and the Dept. of Wildlife to make massive distributions of Raboral wafers which have been proven to be effective in working as well as vaccinations with said wildlife vectors of rabies? After a conversation with one state official, she stated that the distribution to wildlife of Raboral was too expensive. Clearly, she has never been in an ER with her frightened child crying as the medical staff administered the series of shots to her child after being exposed to a rabid animal, wild or domestic.

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