Carolina Coyote Classic coming back to Stanly County

Published 8:02 am Sunday, February 3, 2019

The Carolina Coyote Classic will have its sixth annual coyote hunting tournament in Stanly County on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

This will be the fourth straight year the tournament has been in Stanly.

“It’s my baby,” tournament creator John MacPherson said.

The tournament will be at the American Legion Post 76.

“This event brings in competitors and spectators from all over North Carolina and the Stanly County Convention and Visitors Bureau was instrumental in bringing this event to Stanly County,” said Chris Lambert, director of the CVB.

The tournament will begin at midnight Friday. Participants will have until noon Feb. 10 to hunt as many coyotes as possible in North Carolina or South Carolina.

The tournament was originally created by MacPherson to help control the surging coyote population in the Carolinas. Coyotes have no natural predators other than humans, he said.

“It’s something (killing the coyotes) that has to be done and has to be done on an annual basis,” he said.

“We put it together to have a tournament to bring like-minded sportsmen together and to help curb the coyote population,” MacPherson said.

MacPherson has a TV hunting show called “704 Outdoors,” which films different aspects of hunting and airs on the Hunt and Pursuit channels. Much of the hunting for the show takes place in Stanly.

He prefers hunting wild hogs and deer.

When not filming his TV show, MacPherson is a local goldsmith.

MacPherson and about 10 members of the show organize the tournament, but he and his crew will not be hunting.

“I’m a firm believer that you don’t participate in an event that you host,” he said.

Last year’s tournament attracted 88 hunters who killed 67 coyotes, the biggest of which weighed a little more than 40 pounds, according to Carolina Sportsman.

MacPherson is hoping this year’s tournament exceeds those numbers.

The tournament has two main classes people can register for: The Coyote Derby, which costs $100 either per hunter or per two-man team and the Fat Dog Contest, which costs $25 per hunter.

The participants must possess a valid hunting license and must have properties to hunt in the Carolinas.

The Coyote Derby will award cash prizes to the top three hunters with the most kills, while the Fat Dog Contest will award a predator hunting rifle to the hunter who killed the biggest coyote.

The coyotes must be killed during the three specified days and all coyotes must be on location at or before noon Sunday to be weighed in, MacPherson said.

All tactics for hunting the coyotes — aside from trapping them — are allowed, MacPherson said.

“They can use electronic calls, they can hunt during the day or at night, they can use night optics, they can use dogs,” he said.

Winners must also take a polygraph test and answer about six to eight questions to make sure they followed all tournament rules, MacPherson said.

But not all people are happy about the event.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) questions the tournament’s motives.

“Misguided killing contests tear families of wild animals apart leaving orphaned young to starve, and they prompt surviving pack members to breed in order to replace lost family members and more coyotes to move in from outlying areas for the available resources,” read a statement issued by PETA senior director Stephanie Bell.

“If killing coyotes controlled their population, this tournament wouldn’t be an annual event,” Bell added.

PETA said there are alternatives to hunting.

“The only effective coyote-management plans are based on public outreach and personal responsibility,” Bell said.

But MacPherson doesn’t believe PETA’s claim that the tournament separates coyote families and creates orphans.

“This was a lie and PETA knows it,” MacPherson said.

He added that because the coyote mating season is in January, February and the beginning of March, no puppies are born until mid-March and into May.

Only adult coyotes are hunted during the tournament, he said.

“PETA’s statement was made simply to trigger an emotional response from the general public that’s not familiar with coyotes,” MacPherson said.

For more information about the tournament, visit

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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