Jena Doak, [email protected]
Sweetwater County, Wyoming — A small handful of Rock Springs residents have been protesting this week in front of Buddha Bob’s Bar at the Sands, encouraging people to boycott the business until the owner, Wing Lew, stops allowing participants in the coyote killing contest to gather there.
“She’s trying to hurt my business by boycotting,” said Lew. “Quite honestly, my bar regulars don’t really care. They care if their Bud Lite is cold. They have been in here this week saying, ‘I’m just here to support you.'”
Madhu Anderson, leader of the two to four protesters, claims that scientists across the country have stated that the contests serve no wildlife management purpose.
Regina Dickson, Information and Education Specialist at Green River’s regional office of the Wyoming Fish and Game Department, responded to such claims — claims which have also appeared in recent local press concerning the contest.
“I read the article and was thinking, ‘What science are you looking at?'” said Dickson. “She has a different perspective compared to the majority of the population of the state, and as far as the law goes, there really are no grounds to say the contest shouldn’t happen.”
In a written statement to Wyo4News, Anderson also attributes an opinion to scientists, saying that scientists call the contests “an embarrassment to their states’ hunting tradition.”
“It’s a way of life in Wyoming,” said Dickson. “This is the lifestyle in Wyoming, and predator control is one of the things that we do here. The fact that there are only eight other states that don’t allow it tells you something.”
Indeed, because coyotes are classified as predators in Wyoming, no licenses are required to kill them. There are no regulations.
“Quite honestly,” said Lew, “If they want to change things, they need to go to the judiciary level. They are not going to stop the contest this way. If we didn’t have it here, another venue would.”
Lew shared some information that Anderson did not mention in her written statement and personal interview.
“She called the Department of Health,” said Lew. “I got a phone call from them asking if we were taking dead animals inside the building. They asked if we are taking them into the food truck. I said, ‘absolutely not!’ So she’s using every angle possible to stop the contest.”
Lew doesn’t hold any ill will against Anderson.
“Anderson would be better off protesting during the day when people could see their signs,” said Lew. “Instead, they are standing in the cold dark, when hardly any people are driving by.”