Protest over NM coyote killing contest

Activists protest New Mexico coyote killing contest

Activists are protesting a coyote killing contest sponsored by Gunhawk Firearms of Los Lunas, New Mexico. The idea is for teams to shoot as many coyotes as possible during a certain weekend. The activist group Animal Protection of New Mexico has organized a petition against the event, calling it a “heinous killing contest.”

Native American Joseph Patrick Aguino is quoted on the APNG website as saying, “I . . . oppose the killing of coyotes as a form of a contest. We as Native American Indians do not believe in senseless killing of Mother Nature’s creation . . . Trees, plants, animals and water, all in balance of life; one needs the other to survive.”

Others argue that this is not senseless killing. They say that coyote populations need to be kept in check and that shooting the predators is humane because most kills are instant. They point out that coyotes are killing off wildlife such as turkeys, pheasants, ruffed grouse, rabbits, and deer. Coyotes are also attacking people’s pets and ranchers’ livestock.

“The people protesting this contest have obviously never seen a calf chewed up by a coyote, or watched a mama sheep try to revive a dead lamb,” Rex Wilson, president of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, told The Associated Press.

Mark Chavez, the owner of Gunhawk Firearms and organizer of the contest, told NBC News that he plans to sell the coyote pelts and hopes to raise about $2500 for a scholarship for an agriculture student. For the winning teams, he is offering the choice of either a Browning Maxus 12-gauge shotgun or two AR-15 semi-automatic rifles.

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