Advocates want bill banning coyote killing contests

COYOTE

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) – Opponents of coyote killing contests around New Mexico are gearing up for another attempt to have the practice banned.

At least 10 environmental groups plan to urge lawmakers during this year’s legislative session to back legislation that would outlaw hunting coyotes for entertainment.

Southwest Environmental Center executive director Kevin Bixby said he recently counted nearly 40 coyote carcasses dumped in the desert in Las Cruces, the Albuquerque Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1Dgh3QB ). He said the animals were left stuffed with wooden blocks inscribed with the date Dec. 21, a practice used in coyote hunting contests.

“They are just being killed, and they are being killed for sport,” Bixby said.

Bixby said letting people kill unlimited numbers of coyotes disrupts the natural ecosystems. It also undermines coyotes’ own ecological role as predators, he added.

Coyote hunting being billed as an event is a common practice around the state. In November, a Roswell gun shop drew criticism for hosting a competition where the prize was two assault rifles.

A state House bill prohibiting coyote hunting contests failed in the 2013 legislative session. Organizers of hunting clubs have said they have the right to hunt and hunting coyotes is not illegal.

Currently, there are no limits on how many animals can be killed.

California became the first state last month to ban wildlife-killing competitions.

Environmentalists in New Mexico say their proposed bill would not ban killing coyotes that threaten livestock or pets.

“They are commercial events: killing animals for the purpose of entertainment, prizes and publicity,” said Guy Dicharry of the Los Lunas-based Wildlife Conservation and Advocacy Southwest. “You’re really out there trying to win. This is not focused on predator management. It’s random.

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Information from: Albuquerque Journal

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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