Santa Fe Scoop

No protesters, just 1 kill at NM coyote contest

By Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE — Only one coyote had been shot so far and no protesters showed up Saturday at a New Mexico gun shop sponsoring a coyote hunting contest this weekend that set off howls of protests from animal activists.

In fact, television and radio reporters milling in the shop's parking lot were the biggest problem the hunt created, said Rick Gross, business manager of Gunhawk Firearms in Los Lunas.

Animal activists and the state's trust land commissioner were incensed when Gunhawk owner Mark Chavez said he'd go ahead with the hunt despite the protests.

The two-day hunt sparked thousands of angry emails, social media postings and a petition signed by activists from as far as Europe who have demanded that the hunt be called off. Last week, a small group of protesters held a rally outside of Gunhawk Firearms and waved signs denouncing the event as cruel and "bloodthirsty."

Gunhawk's Rick Grosse said Saturday each of about 100 hunters signed a pledge to only hunt on private land with the owner's permission. He said there's no shortage of hunting spots because many ranchers lose cattle to coyotes and are happy to see them gone.

The terms of the competition are simple: hunters have two days this weekend to shoot and kill as many coyotes as they can, and the winners get their choice of a free shotgun or a pair of semi-automatic rifles.

Gross said he and his partner, Chavez, decided they needed to go ahead with the hunt on principal after a large shop in Albuquerque pulled out of a planned hunt a month ago because of pressure from activists. He pointed out that hunting coyotes is legal, and noted that paid hunters government hunters take thousands a year to cut the population.

"We care about public opinion, we care," Gross told The by phone on Saturday. "Honestly we took this over because a big gun shop pulled out because of threats. And we just thought that was wrong.

"We're going to stick to it no matter what -- much more on principle."

People are upset over the idea of making a contest out of killing an animal that usually lives peacefully alongside residents, Susan Weiss, 74, who leads the Coexist with Coyotes group in Corrales, N.M., told the AP on Friday.

"There's a tremendous amount of arrogance in conducting this hunt," Weiss said. "(Chavez) is damaging the reputation of ranchers. He is damaging the reputation of legitimate hunters."

But Gross said the controversy was overblown.

"Of the estimated 300,000 coyotes in this state, maybe 100-200 are going to be taken in this hunt," he noted.

Plus, Gross said, ranchers are crying out for help.

"We get pictures from ranchers every day -- they send us pictures of slaughtered livestock every day," he said.

The two-day hunt concludes Sunday.

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Comment by Shari Shantasi on November 19, 2012 at 6:01pm

The other recently mentioned coyote kills in different areas were operating years before the one in Los Lunas. I can't get to the link just now, but the Journal North ran an article that mentioned who and where they have been.

Comment by Donna on November 19, 2012 at 3:24pm

I read 50 killed.....this is ridiculous!  Now other rod and gun shops across the state are mounting their own area coyote kills, feeling they have permission, as this one was allowed to move forward. 

Comment by Julie L on November 19, 2012 at 7:23am

At the root of this war on coyotes, shooting contests and trapping which indiscriminately maims and slowly tortures the animal, is the consumer demand for beef, particularly "free range" beef. If there was no demand for free range beef there would likely be no mass coyote killing contest and indiscriminate trapping. Boycotting free range beef, or even reducing beef consumption could help. If you buy free range beef from the local farmer's market or Whole Foods, some of your money may be going to the trappers and sharp shooters the rancher hires.

Are there any NM ranches who agree to coexist with coyotes? If so, they'd get my business. Lasaster Beef in CO does and their beef can be purchased at Vitamin Cottages and Whole Foods in Colorado.

Comment by Judy Prisoc on November 17, 2012 at 9:12pm

Thanks for the update on this story. I live at Park Plazas, a fenced community with lots of open space. We share our community with a coyote family who has been here for many years. The assumption is that we have a stable population that is acclimated to us. If the coyotes were killed, new coyotes would naturally move into the available space and they might be packs of young coyotes that would not get along with us. Random, wanton killing does not sound like a good solution to a coyote problem. Learning to protect pets and livestock and learning to live with coyotes makes more sense.

Comment by Claudia Inoue on November 17, 2012 at 8:43pm

Beautiful Coyote on our property last month...

Comment by Claudia Inoue on November 17, 2012 at 8:35pm

Thanks for posting this, Ben.

KOB TV is now reporting 2 kills...that is still 2 too many for me but thankfully not even close to the 150 dead coyoytes  I saw predicted in another article earlier today. Let's hope the count stays low for tomorrow as well.

I see coyotes on my property almost every day, actually, I have purposely provided them with drinking water ever since I moved to where I live now. I welcome them and thank them for sharing THEIR habitat with me.

YES, I have pets, small pets. 2 cats, 2 small dogs...Do I let them outside unsupervised? NO! Would I blame a coyote if it killed one of my beloved family members? NO, because it would only be doing what comes natural. Eould I be mad as hell at MYSELF for letting my pets be in a dangerous situation? HELL YES!

 I feel it is MY responsibility to keep my animals safe and out of harm's way, not the coyote's responsibility to NOT kill and eat them if I have them the opportunity.

Actually, we have a great horned owl that hangs out in one of our aspen trees at night....I consider it as much if not more of a danger to my small animals than the coyotes because no type of fencing will keep an owl away from a pet, they can swoop down anywhere. Does this mean I am standing out there with a shotgun trying to kill the owl? NO! It simply means that I go out with my dogs at night in the dark with a string flashlight and I stay with them while they do what they need to do.


Why is it that people want to kill everything that is inconvenient to their life style without any regards to anyone else's right to live?

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