Germantown squirrel hunt controversy

GERMANTOWN, NY (NEWS10)—The Germantown Sportsmen’s Association was founded more than 40 years ago to promote the local interests of hunters interested in hunting, archery and other outdoor pursuits. In recent years, that has included Squirrel Scramble, an activity for young hunters ages 12 to 15.

On February 5, the New York State Humane Association sent a letter to the Germantown Sportsmen’s Association expressing its opposition to the event.

“Their ‘fight’ is part of a pattern of wildlife killing contests across the country and New York State where competitions are held to kill large numbers of coyotes, rabbits, pigeons, snakes, puppies from prairies and others, almost always in the name of charity or “good fun,” although it is also sometimes used for fundraising,” wrote Dr. Harold J. Hovel, president of the New York State Humane Association. “No one is suggesting that squirrels are an endangered species, but killing in the name of fun and family bonding seems counterintuitive and disrespectful to living things.”

The event promotes hunter safety and the rules and regulations for hunting in New York State.

“We strongly believe that our event is legal, a traditional sporting activity and protects the environment from overcrowding,” the Association’s spokesman wrote in a statement. “We also believe that this can be a positive experience for those involved.”

Captured animals that do not stay with the hunter are saved for the Association’s hunt dinner or donated to local wildlife rehabilitators who use them to feed birds of prey and other animals that will be returned to the wild.

In a statement, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) said: “The DEC does not endorse or sponsor hunting contests and requires participants to follow all harvest regulations and adhere to ‘fair pursuit’ rules.”

After many harassing, threatening, and vulgar phone calls to the phone numbers listed on the Squirrel Scramble flyer, the Germantown Sportsmen’s Association decided to hold the event on Saturday, February 27.

According to the spokesman for the Association, the local police will be available for the event.