Coyote Killing Contest: 22 Animals Killed In ‘Heinous Killing Contest’ Sponsored By Gun Store

By Amir Khan on November 18, 2012 9:16 AM EST

Coyote
A coyote killing contest is being called a "heinous killing contest" by its opposition (Photo: Creative Commons)

A coyote killing contest sponsored by a New Mexico gun store has drawn extreme outrage from animal protection groups, who called the coyote killing contest a "heinous killing contest." So far, the gun store reports that 22 coyotes have been killed in the coyote killing contest.

The group Animal Protection of New Mexico posted a petition on its website rallying against the coyote killing contest, which is sponsored by Gunhawk Firearms of Los Lunas, N.M. And lest you think it's all animal lovers who are opposing the contest, the APNM said many hunters and gun owners oppose the coyote killing contest as well.

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"The organizers of the contest have consistently claimed that any criticism of this event is an infringement upon gun-ownership rights and hunting privileges," the organization said in a statement. "However, on our petition against the contest, over a third of signees have self-identified as gun owners, and a tenth are hunters or anglers."

However, Rick Gross, with Gunhawk Firearms, said the people participating in the coyote killing contest are only allowed to do so on private land, where ranchers have issues with coyotes killing livestock.

"From people that have 40 lambs slaughtered at a time, and, apparently, it's not just for food, it's for fun," Gross told KOB, an ABC affiliate, about the coyotes. "They might eat one and kill 40."

Gross also said that the backlash against the coyote killing contest was overblown.

"There's no question it was blown out," he said. "As if we were going to try to slaughter a species because we understand the ecosystem."

Rex Wilson, president of the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, told the Associated Press that coyotes are pests.

"They survive in the wild by killing what they can, including livestock and pets," he said. "The people protesting this contest have obviously never seen a calf chewed up by a coyote, or watched a mama sheep try to revive a dead lamb."

But the APNM isn't swayed, urging people to sign a petition to put a stop to the coyote killing contest.

"If you haven't already, please use the following items as a guide to publicly denouncing this distasteful, unethical event, and share this email with friends and family," the organization says. "Please add your voice to the majority of New Mexicans against wanton killing for its own sake."

Mark Chavez, owner of Gunhawk Firearms, said his plan is to sell each of the coyote pelts from the animals killed during the coyote killing contest and donate the money, according to Yahoo! News.

"[I'm] going to show the public this is not a waste," Chavez said. "I would like to raise about $2,500. I think that would be a nice scholarship for someone."

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