Germantown squirrel hunting controversy

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

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

“Your ‘scramble’ is part of a pattern of wildlife killing contests around the country and New York State where competitions take place to kill large numbers of coyotes, rabbits, pigeons, snakes, prairie dogs, and others, almost always in the name of charity or “good fun,” though sometimes used as a fundraiser also,” Wrote Dr. Harold J. Hovel, Chairman, 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 contradictory and lacking in respect for living beings.”

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

“We feel strongly that our event is legal, a traditional sporting activity and protects the environment from overpopulation, The Association spokesperson wrote in a statement. “We also feel that this can be a positive experience for those involved.”

Harvested animals not kept by the hunter are saved for the Association’s game dinner or donated to local wildlife rehabilitators who use it for feeding birds of prey and other animals that will be released back into the wild.

In a statement, the New York StateDepartment of Environmental Conservation (DEC) said, “The DEC does not condone nor sponsor hunting contests and requires that participants follow all harvest regulations and adhere to the rules of ‘fair chase.’”

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

According to the Spokesperson for the Association, local law enforcement will be on hand for the event.

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