PREFATORY NOTE: We regret to report that the Holley Fire Department’s 7th annual Hazzard County Squirrel Slam began early Saturday morning with 1,000 registrants in two-person teams set out to bag the heaviest squirrels. The event, which sold out at 200 tickets last year, expanded to 1,000 this year and sold out again. Prizes ranging between $50 and $200 will be awarded to the first-, second- and third-place teams, as well the team to bag the single heaviest squirrel. A prize also will be awarded for the heaviest squirrel caught in a 14-and-under division, which is new to this year’s event.
Hunters could target squirrels anywhere in the state, but to qualify for the prizes, they returned to Holley for the evening weigh-in at 5. There is a maximum of five squirrels accepted per team.
“It ain’t like duck hunting, where you got to be out early when they’re flying,” said one hunter named Richard, who withheld his last name to protect his safety. “Squirrels move all day.”
Richard was joined by a couple of his sons for the event. Money raised is traditionally used to help offset the cost of equipment, Fire Chief Pete Hendrickson said.
READ THE REST OF THE STORY HERE [Democrat & Chronicle]
(Newser) – A fire department in rural upstate New York has an unusual way of raising money to buy new gear—a “squirrel slam.” Every year, the Holley department organizes a hunt, sells tickets, and hands out prizes for the best carcasses. (“Reds & grays only!!” says the rules.) This year, however, the squirrels have a little ammunition of their own in the form of social media, reports Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle. News of the Feb. 16 hunt is spreading quickly online, and opponents are trying to put a stop to it with petitions on Facebook and Change.org.
“Stop the mass slaughter,” demands the latter petition, whose author is particularly incensed that kids as young as 12 can take part. A blogger at Psychology Today similarly complains of the “barbarism.” The fire chief says he’s been fielding calls from all over the world—even Britain’s Daily Mail has weighed in with a story—but he insists the hunt will go on. In fact, almost all of the 700 tickets have sold already.
|“This is a community of hunters and they’re going to hunt anyways,” said the event’s chairperson, Tina Reed. “Why not hold a fundraiser that will reach our community?”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.Sen. George Maziarz, a Republican who represents Holley, defended the fundraiser, saying hunting, fishing and shooting sports are part of the region’s lifestyle.”It’s like a fishing derby but it’s squirrels, not fish,” Maziarz spokesman Adam Tabelski said Friday.|
_____________________________________________________________________Bang Bang, We All Fall Down
What you go and do
You go and give the boy a gun
Now there ain’t place to run to
Ain’t no place to run to
When he hold it in his hand
He feel mighty he feel strong
Now there ain’t no place to run to
Ain’t no place to run
– Tracey Chapman 
This February the Holley Fire Department of Hazzard County, New York, is holding its annual “Squirrel Slam” fundraiser. It marks its seventh year. An advertisement invites teams of two to “spend a day in the woods and then enjoy the party” – that is, killing squirrels. The first prize of $200 goes to the team that brings in the greatest number of dead squirrels. Additional prizes are awarded such as $50 to the 14-year-old-and-under participant who brings in the heaviest dead squirrel.