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AZ Game and Fish to vote Friday on new rule for predator killing contests

The Arizona Game and Fish (AZGFD) Commission will meet Friday, June 21, with a single item on its agenda: to approve the Notice of Final Rulemaking for R12-4-303 Unlawful Devices, Methods and Ammunition.

The commission meeting begins at 8 a.m. in its department building, 5000 W. Carefree Highway in Phoenix, with most of its members appearing by telephone.

Predator killing contests have taken place in Arizona and in Yavapai County, and drawn condemnation by members of the Prescott community and around the state. The Game and Fish Commission recently drew up a new ruling and posted it for public comment, now closed.

The Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, while not enacting an ordinance that can be enforced, did express an opinion on these contests by approving a proclamation on Dec. 19, 2018. The proclamation opposes the indiscriminate killing of wildlife in the form of wildlife killing contests.

The supervisors supported the proclamation that reads, in part, “Whereas, wildlife killing contests that are conducted for profit, entertainment, prizes, and for the ‘fun of killing’ glorify killing for its own sake, and are unacceptable; Whereas, predators, including coyotes, are an integral part of the ecosystem and play a critical role in maintaining a healthy balance of plants and animals in the ecosystem by preying on species such as rabbits, mice and other rodents,” before approving the proclamation.

The Game and Fish Commission establishes policy for the management, preservation, and harvest of wildlife across the state.

Friday’s agenda item states, “The proposed rulemaking will designate a predator/fur-bearing hunt contest, as defined by the rule, an unlawful manner and method of take for predator/fur-bearing species. A rule that provides clear instruction about the legal hunting of predator/fur-bearing species provides for the conservation, maintenance, and utilization of wildlife under the jurisdiction of the State for the benefit of all the citizens.”

Here is the proposed rule: R12-4-303: Unlawful Devices, Methods and Ammunition, section A. 4. A person shall not by any means:

i. Participate in, organize, promote, or solicit participation in a contest where a participant uses or intends to use any device or implement to capture or kill predatory animals or fur-bearing animals as defined under A.R.S. § 17-101.

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

In the summary section of the agenda item, it states that the Commission’s intent in adopting the rule is to speak to social concerns associated with these types of contests, which it describes as “contrary to the important principle that the take of wildlife should not be allowed to go to waste or taken for economic gain.”

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