HOLLEY, N.Y. (AP) — A weekend squirrel-shooting contest in upstate New York is a sell-out, with all 1,000 tickets spoken for, organizers said, despite a push by animal rights groups and others to cancel the event.
The 7th annual “Hazzard County Squirrel Slam” will raise money for the volunteer Holley Fire Department, the event sponsor.
Critics have sought to stop the event through online petitions and protests, calling the event cruel and a bad example for children. The contest targeting red and gray squirrels is open to anyone over age 12 with a hunting license.
Supporters say hunting is just part of life upstate, including in the largely rural village of 1,800 people on the Erie Canal.
“This is a community of hunters and they’re going to hunt anyways. Why not hold a fundraiser that will reach our community,” the event’s chairwoman, Tina Reed, told the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester. She said the event has grown each year: This year, 1,000 tickets were made available after it sold out of 200 tickets last year.
State Sen. Tony Avella, a Queens Democrat, called the contest insane during an Albany news conference with the group Friends of Animals earlier this week. The group planned to protest outside the Holley Fire House on Saturday afternoon.
There’s no reason to expect a city boy to know from squirrel hunting, but it’s not too much to ask that he acknowledge his ignorance and keep his yap shut about an event occurring 300 miles away in a world he’s never visited. Besides, squirrels are tastier than the rats Mr. Avella’s constituents cook up.
UPDATE: According to MapQuest, it’s 6 hrs, 34 minutes, 368 miles from Avella’s home in Whitestone to Holley, New York