WALTON COUNTY, Ga. - The Georgia Coyote Challenge kicks off Thursday and like every year, it’s not without controversy.
The challenge encourages hunters to kill coyotes to win a lifetime hunting license but a local group said these types of contests need to end.
“There are better ways to deal with it than try to kill your way out of a problem,” said Berry College professor Chris Mowry.
Mowry is also the founder of the Atlanta Coyote Project. He’s been studying the elusive predators since 2002 and working to put a stop to the Georgia Coyote Challenge.
“It’s a recipe for disaster in certain places,” Mowry said.
Mowry said when humans killed off the red wolf population, coyotes moved in.
“When we try to kill predators and remove predators, it often leads to unattended ecological consequences,” Mowry said.
Mowry said coyotes start to breed more and have larger litter sizes to fill the void.
Channel 2’s Craig Lucie went to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources offices in Walton County and spoke with a biologist about the ecological consequences. He said this will barely put a dent in the populations.
“It was mainly an educational campaign,” said DNR deer biologist Charlie Killmaster.
Killmaster said hunters kill 30,000 to 40,000 coyotes a year and the contest won’t trigger more breeding.
“This contest is not designed to do that and doesn’t do that,” Killmaster said. “We took about 200 coyotes in the contest last year which is not near enough to illicit a density dependent response.”
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