Scientists condemn controversial 'Coyote Challenge'

by: Craig Lucie Updated:

ATLANTA - A group of scientists is condemning the Georgia Department of Natural Resources “Coyote Challenge."

The challenge gives hunters and trappers the chance to get a lifetime hunting license.

The DNR said from March until August, for each coyote killed— up to five per month— a hunter will earn an entry into a monthly drawing for a lifetime license.

Berry College professor and founder of the Atlanta Coyote Project, Christopher Mowry, wrote an eight page letter to the DNR, calling the challenge reprehensible.

“I hope the DNR will change its mind and rescind this,” he said.

Mowry said the killing challenge contradicts what the DNR has said on its own website.


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“They state that they, along with the Georgia assembly, oppose bounty programs. If this isn’t a bounty program, I don’t know what it is,” he said.

Mowry said the challenge is not an effective way to manage wildlife. He said if you kill one coyote in its territory, it leads to more problems.

“It opens up territory for transient individuals. They are waiting for an opportunity to move in,” he said.

Channel 2’s Craig Lucie contacted DNR officials who said, “Science shows that the removal of coyotes during spring and summer improves the survival of young, native wildlife. Managing predator populations, such as coyotes, is no different than any other huntable species.”

Mowry said the timing is inhumane.

“It’s going to kill coyotes at a time when they’re raising pups and leave them to starve to death,” he said.

Mowry said we see coyotes in the metro area because humans wiped out the red wolf population, which allowed coyotes to move into the southeast.

Scientist believe the coyotes are an asset to Georgia’s ecosystem. 

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