Coyote hunting contest draws fire in New Mexico

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A New Mexico coyote hunting contest has drawn the ire of opponents nationwide, many of whom have signed an online petition demanding that the hunt be cancelled. Death threats have even been received by the owners of the gun store hosting the hunt.

The coyote hunting contest was originally the idea of Calibers Gun Shop of Albuquerque, but public pressure caused the store to cancel their plans. This week, however, Mark Chavez, owner of Gunhawk Firearms in Los Lunas, N.M, told the Las Cruces Sun-News his shop will sponsor the contest to be held Nov. 17 – 18.

According to a report on Albuquerque television KRQE, the online petition against Gunhawk Firearm’s coyote hunt drew nearly 7,000 signatures the first day. Comments on the petition and the store’s Facebook page range from support to death threats.

“Some of them are perverse, some of them wanting to line up all the rednecks and hunt them, some of them wanting to kill us or that we should be dead telling us to burn in hell,” store employee Josh Walters told KRQE. Most of the people signing the petition don’t live in New Mexico.

Chavez told the Las Cruces Sun-Times the public outcry against the hunt’s original host spurred him to keep the hunt going. He said decreasing the coyote population across New Mexico will benefit ranchers and recreational hunters who go after the state’s deer and antelope.

“I was raised on a cattle ranch and I know the importance of keeping the coyotes in check and keeping your herd strong,” Chavez said.

The New Mexico Cattlegrowers Association and New Mexico Woolgrowers Inc., say coyotes cause significant economic loss each year. In 2009, the last year reported, losses to predators in New Mexico included 5,500 sheep and 3,700 lambs. In 2010, the loss of beef cattle exceeded 220,000 head across the southwestern United States.

Despite criticism from animal rights groups and activists from across the nation, Chavez said organizing such a hunt is his right.

“This is perfectly legal. If somebody’s issue is that it is slaughter, they should take it up with Game and Fish. They won’t get anywhere because it isn’t,” Chavez said.

“I’m going to hang in there,” he declared. “I’ve hunted my whole life. I’ve never seen a shortage of coyotes.”

Chavez says he will require all hunters in the statewide contest to register and go through an orientation the Friday before the weekend-long hunt. Prospective hunters will be admonished to stay off game preserves and reservations, and to seek permission if they plan to enter private land.

The coyote hunt is open to New Mexico residents, and the orientation in Los Lunas is required along with a $50 fee and agreement to abide by the rules outlined during the orientation. The participants will have from dawn Saturday, Nov. 17, until 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 18, to collect and return coyote carcasses to a location near Los Lunas. The two-person team with the most carcasses will win their choice of either a Browning Maxus 12-guage shotgun or two Palmetto AR-15 .223 semi-automatic rifles.

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texas  |  November, 01, 2012 at 08:56 AM

When a new visitor comes out to the ranch, they are overwelmed by all the nature, when they see a deer or a coyote they get their camera out thinking how great the experience is, then when we get to the 160 acre wheat crop and there are 120 deer eating every last sprig of wheat, 160 acres times 20 bushels times $7 is $22,400 which is 1/3 of our income and we drive a little futher and that pretty coyote has killed a calf that is worth about $700 at 8 months of age, and they dont just kill one but three or four per year, so those pretty coyotes take about $2800 out of our pockets, If there is anyone out there who would prefer that i not shot them, please send me a ck, ill then let them graze on my familys income. In town you put up bars on the windows to keep unwanted people out, you put up surveillance cameras, arrest and prosecute criminals and send them to jail or prison for there crime against you, but you always expect ranchers and farmers to just live with the losses, what hypocrites

Steve Florschuetz    
Illinois  |  November, 01, 2012 at 09:19 PM

You pretty much said it all. I live in Illinois, but I have been in the cattle business all of my life, and it has always been a frustration when people who know nothing about farming or ranching think they know all of the answers. It will always be a struggle to keep people informed.

Virginia  |  November, 01, 2012 at 09:08 AM

The coyote is a problem here in Virginia as well. The prey on pets, as well as wildlife, and farm animals. One neighbor was on his porch, with his miniature dachshund. The small animal started barking at the treeline, and after a bit, a coyote came out and advanced toward the house, in broad daylight. It was only when the man stood up, that the coyote turned and left. The neighbor was unarmed, unfortunately. They are a prolific pest. I wish them a successful hunt in New Mexico.

Ron Parsons    
Missouri  |  November, 01, 2012 at 09:21 AM

Good for you. I am a hunter and the public does not understand that if the population of wild animals is not controlled by hunters then mother nature will control it by disease and other predators. The amount of money sportsman spend helps the economy with spending money at local businesses and helping the farmers and ranchers with the control of coyotes.

Barry B    
saskatchewan  |  November, 01, 2012 at 09:23 AM

If the nah sayers want to pay for losses do to coyotes,there is no hunt. Will they??? Good luck hunters!

Texas  |  November, 01, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Maybe there should be an open season on animal rights people.

California  |  November, 01, 2012 at 10:13 AM

It is s a sad day when so many people have lost touch with reality. I wish Mark Chavez and his business Gunhawk Firearms a successful promotion. If it were possible I would stop and support his business we need more people who are willing to stand up and not be bullied by people who live in a fantasy world.

Texas  |  November, 01, 2012 at 10:32 AM

I am in the minority here but part of our problem is how the public perceives us. We need to tell our story better and explain why control of predators (or avoidance of the reintroduction of some) is important. Some city folks and animal lovers (but not all) lack understanding of what it takes to provide inexpensive, plentiful and safe food for their consumption. I have recently chased off coyotes and scared off cara caras (Mexican eagles) from my calving pastures where they were patiently waiting to see if calves were born alive or dead of if their mommas would defend them. I don't shoot predators. I understand their importance to the entire ecosystem. I understand that some of us don't. However contests like this (however useful or within someone's rights to conduct or participate in it) doesn't do us any favors.

Middletown CT  |  November, 01, 2012 at 10:45 AM

The first time I saw a coyote was in Texas in 1979. I was in SA at Lackland AFB at the time, was raised in OH and moved here in '84. In '84 there were no coyotes in CT. Now there are plenty here and they take their toll on pet, livestock, etc. Because the (human) population is so dense, so few people hunt, the coyotes are bold, often venturing into people's yards. It is just a matter of time before someone's kid falls victim to one.

MI  |  November, 01, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Coyotes are a problem here in west Michigan. They chase our horses, eat our chickens, ducks, cats, etc. I've seen them chase healthy does across the corn fields. They are not afraid of people. We have three dogs and two small children. I worry about their safety. So we bought a 22/250...happy to say there is one deer killer far. It's never ending battle and we will take every opportunity to protect our herd and family. Go get those dogs!!

NH  |  November, 01, 2012 at 11:56 AM

ALL death threats need to be reported to law enforcement from local up to the FBI, really, no kidding. Protect yourself from anyone wanting to do you harm by walking away from a problem to taking full, decisive and legal defensive measures. I am not enamoured of anti-gun people, but would never dream of angering them let alone issuing a death threat. They have their full rights, too, but see it as a one sided affair. Anyone threatening my rights or my life does so at their own peril under the law. That is my last word on the subject....please, respect everyone or take full legal consequences. Depart in peace or leave in pieces.

Bea Elliott    
Florida  |  November, 01, 2012 at 05:00 PM

Oh but this is rich! Coyotes supposedly killed thousands of sheep and cows for food. But do tell... How many millions do sheep and cattle ranchers kill? The qualifying fact that should be noted is that coyotes MUST kill in order to live - They cannot survive without flesh, blood and bone. The same certainly can't be said for us humans. Your irrational justifications are all based on greed and gluttony - Nasty stuff to try to objectively defend. ~cheers~

missouri  |  November, 01, 2012 at 06:59 PM

i think we need to catch all the coyotes,wolves & cougars & drop them where these bleeding hearts live & see how long before they decide they aren't so cute

the q    
New Mexico  |  November, 02, 2012 at 02:09 AM

give them to bea elliott.

kansas  |  November, 02, 2012 at 09:20 AM

Hey Bea, how the heck are you! Nice to see you're back at work exposing and looking down your nose @ the Evil Livestock Producers and Companion Animal Keepers violating Mother Gaia. Oh, and Exposing your own Massive ignorance of biology, ecology and basic human physiology too. Find a mirror somewhere (you obviously have none in your home) and peak inside that hate speeh spewing mouth of yours. See those CANINE & INCISOR Teeth Bea? They have a Purpose! Those of us who are familiar with biology and evolution have learned that Human Beings are Omnivores and must, like all other Ominvores on earth, thrive by consuming Meat Proteins. Of course you, Bea, feel free to deny reality and facts as you test the limits of adolescent sarcasm. ~ Ta-Ta ~

daniel timberwolf    
Texas  |  November, 02, 2012 at 10:23 AM

It is incredible that you all consider coyotes as pests and a threat, while you completely set aside the fact that coyotes have ONLY that place to call home and their territories that have belonged to them loong before you move in and sized the land, trying to kick them out as pests. I live in Texas WE have coyotes and we have no problem with them you just need to LEARN that they deserve a place in this world and their homeland should be respected, and if you are not willing to do so then DO NOT be surprised by their response..

Colorado  |  November, 02, 2012 at 11:06 AM

I have grown up in a ranching community my whole life, and coyotes have never been a real threat to livestock. They are part of the bigger picture and do get a calf or and sick animal from time to time but that is to be expected in certain areas. You can't just eliminate part of the food chain on public land because its fun to shoot your gun. This contest is for lesser men looking for an excuse to kill recklessly. Get a guard animal for your herd and keep your little wiener dog inside and you'll avoid a lot of problems.

SD  |  November, 02, 2012 at 03:21 PM

No coyote hunt, or no amount of coyote hunting is going to eliminate ALL coyotes! They will only slow the population growth a bit. Range cattle are going to suffer some loss to coyotes, generally not a lot for any one rancher or locale, however, they do have value as consumers of small rodents and other pests. They also clean up carcasses of animals dying natural death, or road kill. In the eyes of normal people (those who are not trying to force vegetarianism or veganism, or other animal worship onto ALL citizens) such organized coyote hunts are no problem.

George hood    
Inez Texas  |  November, 02, 2012 at 04:07 PM

Dont cave in to these people they have never seen a baby calf eaten alive. We have to stand together or we will not survive . Just look at the way this country is going, they are going to force us out because we are not willing to speak up for ourselves.

George hood    
Inez Texas  |  November, 02, 2012 at 04:09 PM

Dont cave in to these people they have never seen a baby calf eaten alive. We have to stand together or we will not survive . Just look at the way this country is going, they are going to force us out because we are not willing to speak up for ourselves.

New Orleans  |  November, 03, 2012 at 09:50 AM

Coyotes are killing anything they can catch here! Cats, dogs, any domestic critter they can carry off! My place in Central Florida is devoid of all animals, no squirrels, no tortoises (protected), no snakes, turkeys, foxes of anything else that can be caught by coyotes! I say shoot the vermin!!!

November, 07, 2012 at 11:09 AM

I also live in Texas and I am faced with a coyote problem everyday, and there are also many contest that promote predator hunting all over the state of Texas ou just do not know about them.

Los lunas  |  November, 10, 2012 at 09:29 AM

Have you all lost your sense of decency and civility? This is not hunting, this is mass slaughter and teaches our children to kill for the fun of it is OK. Hunting is one thing--this is another--killing for killing sake is not the way the west lives--you all should know better. And I understand the cattleman's response but really, look at the data on how many coyotes kill livestock versus diseases. Find another way of taking care if your problems rather than taking out high powered rifles and killing animals in a spree of slaughter. What you are doing will take its toll on our society.

Wiley Coyote    
New Mexico  |  November, 13, 2012 at 03:48 PM

According to the US Department of Agriculture ( the following kill more cattle each year in the US than coyotes: Respiratory problems: 1,055,000 (Number of head) Digestive problems: 505,000 (Number of head) Calving problems: 494,000 (Number of head)) Weather related: 489,000 (Number of head) Unknown non-predator: 435,000 (Number of head) Other non-predator: 301,600 (Number of head) Other diseases: 179,500 (Number of head) Lameness/injury: 140,900 (Number of head) Coyotes: 116,700 (Number of head) If GunHawk Firearms was truly concerned with "keeping herds safe and New Mexicans in business." they would sell those firearms and donate the proceeds to New Mexico vets that care for livestock. Not as sexy but that would more effectively "keep herds safe and New Mexicans in business."

THE THRONE OF KINGS OF THE USA  |  March, 06, 2013 at 07:07 PM

so since youre threatening people yourself, have you got your green card yet boy


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