An “animal advocacy group” called Friends of Animals (FoA), founded in 1957, announced that its members plan to “descend” on Holley, N.Y., on Saturday, Feb. 16, to protest the town’s 7th Annual “Hazzard County Squirrel Slam.”
The Squirrel Slam is a hunting contest and fund-raiser for the Holley Fire Department. It lasts most of the day as teams of two go out into the woods to stalk and still hunt the red and grey squirrel – a favorite small game animal – and a farmer’s pest – in a competition that lands a prize to whoever brings back the biggest squirrel.
The humane society has written a letter asking organizers to consider stopping the event. Other activists have circulated petitions online that have prompted letters, phone calls, and e-mails to village leaders.
Adults and children, 12 and older, with a junior hunting license, requiring that they be accompanied by an adult, are permitted to compete in the Squirrel Slam.
“Holley officials are dead wrong in proceeding with this obscene killing contest involving children as young as 12 — which offers cash and gun prizes to participants who kill the heaviest squirrels,” said Edita Birnkrant, director of Friends of Animals New York.
“Firearms like an AR/22 Semi and other rifles will be raffled off as rewards after dead squirrels are weighed.”
In New York, squirrel hunting season begins in September and lasts through February.
Hunters are allowed to take six squirrels a day throughout that six-month period.