'Coyote Challenge' asks people to kill coyotes for free hunting license

Critics are outraged over the state of Georgia's plan to invite people to hunt or trap coyotes to win a prize.

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is calling it the Georgia Coyote Challenge. It starts in March and lasts through August.

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The challenge gives participants the chance to get a lifetime hunting license. Some biologists told WSB-TV they are stunned by this.

For more than a decade, the Atlanta Coyote Project has been filming, documenting and tracking coyotes in metro Atlanta.

Chris Mowry, who started the Coyote Project, says the contest is inhumane.

"Initiating this in March is intended to coincide with pup-rearing season," Mowry said. "Both parents are involved in the feeding of the offspring, and so that will kill the parents and they will not be able to then feed those offspring, and then they'll just die by starvation. So it's really adding to the cruelty (of) it all."

They would like the DNR to rescind the challenge, but the DNR said, "Coyote predation is scientifically shown to negatively impact wildlife populations, kill livestock, kill domestic pets and contribute to undesired human-coyote interactions."

Coyote trapper Tim Smith with animal control company Catch It Wild said he will participate in the challenge to get a lifetime hunting license, but says his phone will always ring.

"We get them every day -- dog comes up missing, cat comes up missing," Smith said. "Since you can't fire weapons in city limits, the DNR says you can trap them."

The Atlanta Coyote Project operators told Lucie they are already working with state legislators to ban this type of hunting challenge, which they say other states have done.

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