The New York State Humane Association has called for the cancellation of an annual squirrel hunting contest in Columbia County scheduled for later this month, according to the Albany Times Union.
The Kingston, New York-based group opposes the Germantown Sportsmen’s Association’s Feb. 27 event because it focuses on the “wanton destruction of defenseless animals.”
However, hunt organizers said they have no plans to cancel the hunt, now in its seventh year, “despite receiving vulgar phone calls and even death threats from across the United States,” the newspaper reported.
Participants in the “Squirrel Scramble” will pay $20 to pair up into teams of two. Organizers say the event helps encourage outdoor activity and reinforces the club’s membership drop.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation does not endorse or condemn such contests.
Squirrel hunting is legal in New York and upstate from September 1 to February 28. Hunters can hunt gray squirrels, black squirrels, and fox squirrels from dawn to dusk. The daily catch limit for rodents is 6 squirrels.
Red squirrels are “an unprotected species and can be taken at any time without limit,” according to the DEC website.
The state Humane Association recognizes that squirrels are not endangered in this state. His justification for opposing the event centers on animal cruelty.
“Killing in the name of fun and family ties seems contradictory and disrespectful to living things and their place in nature, and squirrels have their place in nature like all wildlife,” wrote the president of the Humane Association, Harold Hovel, in a February 5 petition. the club to replace the hunt with an event that focuses on “promoting family values.”
A spokesperson for the jocks club, who requested that his name not be released because of the threats, told the Albany Times Union: “We are looking for ideas on how to get people back outside instead of sitting in front of the computer and on Facebook. Just because you’re hunting doesn’t mean you want to kill something. It opens up the opportunity to see things you wouldn’t normally see.”
“Any harvested game that is not saved by participants is saved for their annual game dinner and offered to local wildlife rehabilitators who use it to feed raptors and animals that will be released back into the wild so they can maintain their hunting instincts. HudsonValley360.com reported.
The poster for the event said that there will be a first-place cash prize for the heaviest legal limit group of squirrels and “additional weight for black and red squirrels.” All legal firearms will be allowed.
Due to the coronavirus, the sign also notes: “Masks are required in the club and please social distance.”
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