Hunters and Protesters Prepare for Squirrel Slam in Holley, NY

The little town of Holley, NY, population 1,800, will once again be the site of what must be the nation's largest one-day squirrel hunt when the eighth annual "Squirrel Slam" takes place on Feb. 22, according to Democrat & Chronicle.

The slam is a fundraiser for the Holley Fire Department. Last year's event drew some 1,000 participants, each of whom purchased a $10 ticket to vie for cash prizes. Last year's Squirrel Slam also attracted the attention of 100 animal rights protesters who rallied in front of the Holley firehouse and chanted "Shame, shame, shame on you," while a group of counter-protesters responded with "Squirrels taste good."

Animal rights protesters plan to return to Holley this year. In addition, two bills -- Senate Bill #4074 and Assembly Bill #03661 -- both of which would ban hunting contests, have been introduced into the New York legislature.

Athough the Holley Fire Department has picked a date for the hunt, there is no mention of the event on the department's website nor have officials returned reporters' calls. Nonetheless, some believe the controversy surrounding the event will increase participation in this year's Squirrel Slam.

Hunters as young as 12 years old are paired up in teams of two for the contest. Awards are given for the heaviest squirrel and the heaviest bag of five squirrels. Hunters must obey all laws and bag limits.