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Coyote-killing contest riles some

Albuquerque gun shop is sponsoring a coyote-hunting contest this weekend. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2017 Albuquerque Journal

This weekend, dozens of armed men and women will stalk the New Mexican countryside with one purpose: to kill as many coyotes as possible.

Coyote-killing contests are fairly common in the state; an Albuquerque gun shop is hosting this weekend’s.

They’re also highly controversial.

Participants in the contests say they are helping to control an animal that preys on livestock, while opponents say they represent the wanton killing of wild animals.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller has come down on the latter side of the debate.

“Mayor Keller has always opposed coyote hunting competitions,” said Alicia Manzano, Keller’s interim communications director, in a written statement. “To that end, the City of Albuquerque will strictly enforce any violation of ordinances pertaining to these competitions.”

The acting city attorney also sent a letter on Thursday to the owners of Butch’s Reloading, the business hosting the competition, highlighting applicable city ordinances that may apply to coyote hunts in the area.

However, Butch’s manager Aaron Segura said the competition will take place outside Bernalillo County on private land but declined to say exactly where.

“There’s plenty of ranches that welcome this all across the state,” he said. “Actually, every ranch.”

It’s the business’ second year hosting the two-day competition.

Competitors, who pay a fee to compete, use electronic and hand calls to lure the animals toward them.

Awards, including rifles and belt buckles, will be given to those who kill the most animals, along with the smallest and largest ones.

Pelts are sometimes harvested from the carcasses if their condition is good enough.

“We understand that people must protect their livestock and pets,” said Elisabeth Dicharry of Wildlife Conservation Advocacy Southwest, Inc., an organization that has worked to ban killing contests for years. “Coyote-killing contests do neither; coyotes causing no conflict whatsoever are targeted by contestants in a race to kill as many coyotes as they can.”

New Mexico’s legislature has thrice considered bills that would ban the contests.

The 2017 version passed the Senate 26-15 but died in the House.