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House panel kills ban on coyote-killing contests

A House committee today killed a bill that already had passed the Senate that would have banned coyote-killing contests.

The House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife Committee tabled the legislation on a vote of 8-2.

The bill’s supporters said the contests — in which contestants can win prizes for killing the most coyotes — amount to a blood sport and give New Mexico a black eye.

The issue was highlighted recently with the discovery of dozens of coyote carcasses dumped in the desert outside Las Cruces after a contest.

But opponents objected that the contests provide a less-expensive way for ranchers to cut down on populations of coyotes that prey on their livestock. They argued that the contests are an important tool in predator management.

The same House committee also killed by 8-2 a House bill that would have banned the use of trapping and some poisons on public lands in the state.

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