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1,500 prairie dogs shot in contest

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LOS LUNAS, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico gun shop owner who sponsored a prairie dog hunting contest says hunters bagged around 1,500 of the squirrel-like creatures during a weeklong competition.

Gunhawk Firearms owner Mark Chavez told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the winning hunter shot 239 prairie dogs in an event that drew dozens of participants.

Chavez says the contest last week was aimed at helping ranchers deal with prairie dogs.

Under the competition rules, the hunter who shoots the “most tails” wins a Smith and Wesson M&P 15-22 rifle. The shop gave participants T-shirts with images of the animal and the words, “You’re killing me smalls.”

The contest drew fire for animal rights groups who wanted the creatures relocated instead of hunted.

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