Reno, Nevada, City Council Passes Resolution Condemning Wildlife Killing Contests
Legislation/Policy Article from

FROM Project Coyote
September 2021

Reno will join a growing number of states and counties that have formally criticized these contests, which award participants with cash, guns, or other prizes for killing the most, largest, or smallest of the target species.


The Reno City Council voted 6 to 1 in favor of a resolution condemning wildlife killing contests and calling on the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners to ban contests at the September 8th meeting, much to the relief of local residents, scientists, activists, and national wildlife conservation organizations. Reno will join a growing number of states and counties that have formally criticized these contests, which award participants with cash, guns, or other prizes for killing the most, largest, or smallest of the target species.

Naomi Duerr of the Reno City Council and a devoted leader of the effort to pass the resolution, introduced the resolution in honor of the late Norm Harry, a lifelong advocate for Nevada’s precious wildlife. “I initiated this resolution as I feel strongly about the detrimental effects these inhumane contests have on our native wildlife,” Councilwoman Duerr said.

Fauna Tomlinson, Project Coyote Program Associate and Nevada Representative, was also integral to the passage of this resolution in her hometown. “Today I’m so proud that Reno officially supports banning wildlife killing contests and I am sure Norm Harry would be proud too,” said Fauna Tomlinson. “Now we ask that the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners listen to their constituents, from Reno to Clark County, and enact a regulatory ban on these inhumane contests.”

The resolution recognizes that coyotes and other native carnivores play a key role in maintaining healthy ecosystems, such as controlling rabbit and rodent populations, and that wildlife killing contests threaten the safety and well-being of hikers, dog walkers, bird watchers, hunters, and other outdoor enthusiasts. Coyote killing contest organizers often justify the slaughter with claims that, by reducing the coyote population, they are helping to reduce conflicts with coyotes. “Wildlife killing contests serve no genuine ecological or wildlife management purpose,” said Michelle L. Lute, PhD in wildlife management and Project Coyote National Carnivore Conservation Manager. “These contests are mass slaughter events that may actually increase what are typically rare occurrences of conflict and undermine the valuable ecological roles of carnivores.”

Nevada Lieutenant Governor Kate Marshall raised additional concerns in a letter to Reno City Council members urging them to vote in favor of the resolution. She says that wildlife killing contests “are decidedly not a part of Nevada’s heritage”, and growing awareness of the contests in Nevada are “undermining the public’s view of ethical hunting, and could jeopardize the future of traditional hunting.” Additionally, she points out that animals and wildlife contribute to communities, businesses, and the economy by attracting tourists to the state.

Eight states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Vermont, Washington) have prohibitions on killing contests. In March 2021, Clark County, Nevada passed a resolution condemning killing contests and urged Nevada to ban the practice immediately.

These resolutions are part of an expanding campaign to end the contests throughout the nation. “From documentary films to billboards and grassroots mobilization, we are raising public awareness about this barbaric practice, to educate, empower and inspire citizens to take action and join the growing movement to ban wildlife killings contests nationwide,” said Camilla Fox, Founder and Executive Director of Project Coyote and Co-founder of the National Coalition to End Wildlife Killing Contests. “Most people have no idea this cruel and unnecessary bloodsport is happening across the U.S. and they are shocked to learn that it is legal to slaughter animals en masse for cash prizes and awards. Once they learn about it, they want to know how they can get involved to help end this barbarity. That’s why we steer them to to learn how they can get involved in this growing movement to end killing contests.”

Project Coyote and its 50+ national wildlife and animal protection organization partners that have joined forces as the National Coalition to End Wildlife Killing Contests—will continue to raise awareness in pursuit of policy changes at local, state and national levels in 2021 and beyond.

Return to Legislation/Policy Articles