Gambling Laws Challenged over Coyotes

Written By Janice Doughtrey

Gambling laws get challenged in order to save coyotes due to questions raised by animal rights group

One small area in the western part of Kansas had plans to host a coyote hunting contest that was going to attract the attention of hunters from all over the state, but their plans have been squashed by an animal rights group that is challenging the contest against the state’s current gambling laws.

The claim was raised by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, which is an organization that isn’t even based in Kansas but actually comes out of San Francisco. They filed a lawsuit against the organizers behind the hunting contest, known as the WaKeeney Hunt, in order to try and stop them from being able to hold the contest. The organizers behind the contest have affirmed that the lawsuit was settled by agreeing not to hold the contest or any future hunting contests, and to cover the $2,000 in legal fees that were built by the animal rights organization.

The lawyer for the animal rights group argued that having a hunting contest was more of a game of chance than skill, relying on the fact that the coyotes would be in the areas that the hunters would look. Participants were required to pay an $80 participation fee in order to enter the contest, and since money was being handed over for a monetary reward following a game of chance, Kansas state gambling laws come into play. The prize being awarded would have been $500 to whoever could kill the highest number of coyotes in a single day.

Anytime that you pay to play in a contest or event that relies on a high level of chance you are dealing with a form of gambling. These types of contests are not allowed in Kansas because of the level of gambling involved, which is why the operators were forced to back down rather than face the full punishment that may have been inflicted had the case gone to court.

These type of coyote calling and hunting events will involve hunters that use mouth devices or electronics in order to mimic the sounds of animals that coyotes usually hunt. These sounds include bird chirps, rabbit noises, and even larger animals such as fawns. These types of contests are not uncommon in the United States.

Another major event that recently got shut down was the Midwest Coyote Calling Event, which was held in another part of the northwestern area of Kansas. This was an event that had been going on for 20 years. It was a big community event in which even landowners would allow hunters to come onto their property because the reward for them would be a reduced number of coyotes that would hunt their livestock. The Facebook page of the organization said that they had downed over 4,300 coyotes throughout the history of the event, equating to about 215 coyotes a year. The closure of this event was unrelated to the gambling laws that affected the other coyote hunting event.