The Arizona Game and Fish Commission voted Friday to ban organized contests where hunters try to kill the most coyotes or other predators for prizes like cash or hunting equipment.
The 4-0 vote bans contests that require registration and a fee and award prizes for killing the most coyotes or other fur-bearing animals or predators. The ban needs final approval by a council appointed by Gov. Doug Ducey.
Coyote-killing contests have drawn the ire of activists in recent years. The Oregon Legislature is considering a law banning the practice, and New Mexico's governor signed a new law banning the contests in April.
The Arizona ban approved Friday doesn't apply to lawful hunting of predators or other fur-bearing animals.
The environment group Center for Biological Diversity hailed the vote but said it remained concerned that loopholes will allow some contests to continue.
Project Coyote, of the environmental protection group National Coalition to End Wildlife Killing Contests, said the events ignore the key ecological roles played by native predators such as coyotes.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department says that removing coyotes from one area only results in coyotes moving in from another area and breeding faster.