Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

From the strange, but true: Coyotes for a cause January 26, 2018

Thousands gather each summer in Faribault for the Straight River Stroll to raise funds for cancer research and to remember, celebrate and pray for those touched by cancer. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2010.


WHEN IT COMES TO RAISING money for cancer research and cancer support groups, I typically think of a cancer walk, silent auction or such. Not a hunt.


A hunter in a Minnesota field, used here for illustration purposes only. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


But a group in Blooming Prairie—just south of Owatonna—has organized the 1st Annual Coyotes “Fur” Cancer Fundraiser for this Saturday, January 27. A coyote hunt (yes, you read that right) coupled with a chili and soup feed, and a raffle will raise monies to help locals dealing with cancer.

On its Facebook page, event host The Cue Company restaurant promotes the fundraiser:

Enjoy the day by hunting coyotes with your comrades in your personal favorite spots. At dark bring all your coyotes to the back parking lot of The Blooming Prairie Cue Company for a group hunting picture. All coyotes will be collected and sold to a fur buyer with the profits being donated to The Blooming Prairie Cancer Group.


I photographed these bras dangling from Hotel Donaldson in downtown Fargo, North Dakota. “Bras on Broadway” raises funds for those fighting breast cancer and for the American Cancer Society. I like this creative idea to raise funds and awareness. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2012.


Alright then. That’s certainly a creative idea, but not one which appeals to me personally. I do, though, appreciate the efforts of organizers and the end goal.


At the Rice County Steam and Gas Engines Show, this John Deere tractor helped raise cancer awareness. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2011.


Coyotes, by the way, are not a protected animal in Minnesota. They are, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, our state’s most abundant large predator. About 4,000 are shot or trapped here annually for their fur, described by the DNR as soft, warm and luxurious.


I’m uncertain whether White Fox Fur & Feather Company in Pemberton buys coyote pelts. But when I photographed the business in 2010, the company was looking for deer hides. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2010.


I realize the threat coyotes pose to livestock and other animals. I’m struggling, though, with hunting coyotes as a fundraiser. It’s certainly a novel, attention-getting idea, but…


UPDATE, 1:30 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2018: The Coyotes “Fur” Cancer Fundraiser raised $17,000 and counting, according to an article published in The Owatonna People’s Press. That far surpassed the goal of $2,000 – $5,000. Six hunting parties killed 24 coyotes. The animals’ fur will be sold with proceeds directed to The Blooming Prairie Cancer Group. Additional monies raised at the event came from a raffle, silent auction and chili and soup feed.

© Copyright 2018 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


19 Responses to “From the strange, but true: Coyotes for a cause”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Interesting. I never would have thought that a coyote hunt would be a fundraiser but leave it to Minnesota I guess to com e up with a different way to raise money for a charity. I guess if the pelts are donated for charity that is the goal and it might thin out the population a little bit which would help the farmers, etc. but you are correct — it is a little different.

  2. I think the hunt gives the men an option to get out and support, especially for those women in their lives with cancer. Some may be a little uncomfortable around a lot of ta ta stuff. There are so many ways to support and sometimes you have to add a twist for that involvement and engagement. Happy Weekend – Enjoy 🙂

  3. Lynne King Says:

    Hi Audrey.
    I personally oppose any kind of hunting that is done for sport. I understand hunting for food, and I also understand shooting, or trapping wolves or coyotes that are messing with your livestock. I have lost my Dad and his siblings to cancer, but when it comes to fundraising, I wish they’d find another way.

  4. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    I suppose that they would be killing two birds with one stone so to speak but I’ve never heard of that either. Interesting!

  5. Littlesundog Says:

    I am in favor of this fundraiser. Coyotes are a problem almost everywhere, so why not promote something that benefits both cancer research and farmers? Coyote pelts are not bringing much these days so the monetary benefit isn’t great, but I suppose every dime helps. And the meat won’t go to waste – nature takes care of all of that .I would have difficulty eating coyote knowing they’re full of fleas, often mangy, and they eat all sorts of nasty, dead animals, but I suppose it’s like wild hog. Some hogs are “cleaner” than others. You know right away if the meat won’t be good because it has a nasty smell to it when you’re skinning the animal. I’ve had some great wild hog meat. I bet coyote would be the same – it’s a decision made at the time of skinning. We’ve got a real problem again this winter with coyotes. I would like to see the population knocked down a LOT.

  6. Bernadette Says:

    I like how Blooming Prairie has taken an activity that is commonly done and tried to put an extra spin on it as a fundraiser. As one earlier post mentioned, this fundraiser reaches some people that might otherwise not get involved. More power to them for getting creative for a worthwhile cause.

  7. Brenda R Says:

    I read your post before going to work yesterday and had to chuckle when I saw the cover of the Mankato Free Press – Coyote Population on the Rise. While I agree it’s an unusual fundraiser- the coyote population does need to be thinned. Just last Sunday I was thrilled to hear a neighbor of ours had killed 4 coyotes from his yard. They live a short 1/2 mile from our house as the crow (or coyote) flies! We have heard the yipping of a pack of coyotes on many occasions coming home at night. Nothing scarier than carrying groceries in & wondering how far away they are! They are also a huge predator of pheasants- so is it any wonder why the pheasant population decreases and the coyotes increase? I agree it’s a great way to involve hunters in the fundraising!

    • I would find that frightening, too, to hear a pack of coyotes nearby.

      We just arrived home to see a fox in the woods behind our house, right here in the middle of Faribault. I happened to have my camera and got some shots. I am about to put them onto my computer. Hopefully I wasn’t too excited that my shots are blurry. We’ll see.

  8. Brenda R Says:

    Oh, and I loved the Bra’s on Broadway picture!! Gave the building a ’70’s hippie look when burning bra’s was a thing! 😀

  9. When I lived in Oregon, it was common for people to hunt coyotes. They would be paid for the pelts. Sometimes it was a way to raise money, as in your example. I remember the local VFW club hosting a hunt. I guess they are a pest in most places. I struggled with it too, but I guess as long as the population remains so large, we’re ok.

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