The 7th annual "Hazzard County Squirrel Slam" will raise money for the volunteer Holley Fire Department, the event sponsor.
Prizes ranging from $50 to $200 will be given out Saturday for the largest squirrel shot and the heaviest group of five squirrels. Five rifles and shotguns are to be raffled off, according to a flier on the western New York fire department's website.
Critics have sought to stop the event through online petitions and protests, calling the event cruel and a bad example for children. The contest targeting red and gray squirrels is open to anyone over age 12 with a hunting license.
"Declaring someone a winner for killing the most animals influences children and the wider community to believe that wildlife is unimportant and killing for a monetary prize is meritorious," Brian Shapiro, New York state director of the Humane Society of the United States, wrote in a letter to Holley Fire Chief Pete Hendrickson.
Supporters say hunting is just part of life upstate, including in the largely rural village of 1,800 people on the Erie Canal.