Pennsylvania Coyote Hunter Wins Biggest Cash Prize in History of Contest

In Pennsylvania's largest annual coyote hunting contest, hosted by the Mosquito Creek Sportsmen's Association for the 24th year this past weekend, hunter Ryan Bemis bested nearly 4,000 entrants by bagging both the largest female coyote—weighing in at 45.05 pounds—and the largest total cash prize ever awarded in the history of the event. His coyote came in third place overall and first place among the females, bringing Bemis's total prize earnings to $10,990.40, according to PennLive. He and his dogs hunted despite extreme weather conditions in the Northeast.

News of Bemis's record-setting bounty comes at an interesting time for coyote hunting contests, when many states hold them as a way to manage predator populations, and yet controversy has driven some states to consider banning hunts with cash prizes. California signed off on a ban in December 2014, and Nevada and New Mexico are considering similar bans, according to the Reno Gazette-Journal.

That hasn't slowed popularity of the three-day Frenchville, Pa. hunt, during which participants bagged a total of 162 coyotes, with each claiming a prize of $99. Organizers awarded a total of $31,824 in prize money. Kristian Karpulk took the top male coyote prize of $7,956 for a 51.1-pound 'yote that he called into shooting range.