By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
The Wyoming Wildlife Protection Group is not being warmly received outside of a popular Rock Springs bar that is endorsing a coyote-killing contest.
The organization is holding a seven-day protest outside of Buddha Bob’s Bar in an attempt to dissuade citizens from participating in the annual hunt.
But it’s not an easy job, said protest organizer Madhu Anderson.
Anderson told Cowboy State Daily that passersby routinely give the middle finger to the protestors and tell them to move back to California.
“They are very rude and not supportive at all,” Anderson said of people she has encountered outside of the bar.
“Most of the people in our group have lived in Rock Springs for many years,” she said. “I don’t know why they are telling us to go back to California.”
Buddha Bob’s is the meeting place for hunters taking place in this weekend’s Red Desert Predator Classic, a qualifying event for a contest known as the “Wyoming Best of the Best.” Teams collect points toward a championship by killing coyotes. Last year’s championship event was held in Rock Springs in November.
Anderson said despite not having a receptive audience, the protest will continue because she believes most people in Wyoming don’t support the idea of animal killing contests.
“We are fighting so hard because we know this wildlife killing contest is wrong,” she said. “I have friends who are hunters and they don’t support this kind of behavior.”
Anderson said many of the protestors have family members who are hunters and they don’t support killing contests either.
“I know we are doing the right thing by speaking up against these wildlife killing contests,” she said.
According to Anderson, wildlife management agencies and lawmakers in a growing number of states—including Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Vermont, and Washington—have banned killing contests in recent years.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department said, ”These kinds of competitive coyote hunts are raising concerns on the part of the public and could possibly jeopardize the future of hunting and affect access to private lands for all hunters.”
Contest organizer Mark Gillespie told Sweetwater Now that the goal of the contest is to help with the ecosystem.
“We’re doing nothing illegal. What we are doing is for fun. We’re doing it because we like to hunt coyotes,” Gillespie said.