California officials on Wednesday banned coyote hunting contests that have sparked a culture clash between wildlife advocates and ranchers who offer cash and prizes to marksmen who killed the most animals.

It was the first ban of its kind in the nation, according to Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote, which petitioned the state to end the contests that occur almost every month in California or nearby states.

The vote by the state Fish and Game Commission allows hunters to shoot as many of the predators as they wish year-round but stops the awarding of prizes.

Commission vice president Jack Baylis said the state also needs to limit how many predators a hunter is permitted to kill while respecting responsible hunters and allowing ranchers to manage their livestock.

“Awarding prizes for wildlife killing contests is both unethical and inconsistent with our modern understand of natural systems,” Michael Sutton, president of the commission, added during the meeting in the Van Nuys area of Los Angeles.

Wayne Raupe, president of the California Bowmen Hunters/State Archery Association, defended the contests as a way to control coyote numbers.

“They’re in our neighborhoods,” he said. “We see them all the time.”

The board approved the ban with a 4-1 vote.