Western NY squirrel hunting contest drew animal rights protestors

A weekend squirrel hunting contest to raise funds for a western New York volunteer fire company drew about 30 animal rights protesters and a heavy police presence following heated criticism of the once-obscure event.

Organizers of the "Hazzard County Squirrel Slam" say they sold 900 tickets at $10 each for hunters as young as 12 to vie for cash prizes for bagging the largest squirrel and the heaviest group of up to five.

Rochester-area media report that critics sent thousands of emails to officials in the village of Holley urging them to call off the hunt. Some threats among the correspondence prompted police to bring in extra officers from surrounding communities to monitor what turned out to be a peaceful protest Saturday.