Holley, N.Y. – A competition in a small town in Orleans County is stirring up quite a debate on social media and other places. Animal rights activists and even some gun control advocates are calling for an end to the “7th Annual Hazzard County Squirrel Slam.”
The squirrel hunting competition, sponsored by the Holley Fire Department, lasts most of the day on Saturday, February 16. Teams of two compete to bring back the biggest squirrel, and kids as young as 12 with a junior hunting license are allowed to compete as well, which has raised concerns with some in the community.
“I don't even think kids that young should be holding guns,” said Terrie Luxon when asked if kids should be allowed to participate.
And while Luxon’s views are shared by some, the event is still popular, and many residents don’t have a problem with it.
“We’ve lived in this area for 31 years. I don’t see a problem and I think its important for people to know that the meat isn’t wasted, the pelts are used,” said Kathy Nadelen.
The humane society has written a letter asking organizers to consider stopping the event. Other activists have circulated petitions online that have prompted hundreds of letters, phone calls, and emails to village leaders.
This week the Holley Fire Dept issued a statement saying they respect all opinions and have listened to all sides of this debate. But their raffle and derby will continue as scheduled on February 16th and they hope everyone can respect the freedoms and rights of those who wish to participate.
New York State law allows hunters 12-years of age and older to hunt with adult supervision and a junior license.
Squirrel hunting season begins in September and lasts through February. Hunters are allowed to take as many as six squirrels a day throughout that six month period.