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Los Lunas Gun Shop Promotes Bloodshed for Assault Rifle Prize
Mary Katherine Ray | Sierra
Club | 575.772.5655
Los Lunas, NM. Wildlife activists are calling for an end to a high-body count, coyote-killing contest in New Mexico that has no relation to hunting, involves no fair chase, and amounts to animal cruelty. GunHawk Firearms, the second business to attempt to sponsor a contest hunt in New Mexico this year, charges $50 for an entry fee to all contestants and then will award an assault rifle to the person who brings in the most coyote bodies during a two-day event in November. GunHawk Firearms claims that killing coyotes will help ranchers and farmers.
“Despite widespread misbelief, killing coyotes simply does not result in fewer coyotes,” said Wendy Keefover, Director of Carnivore Protection for WildEarth Guardians. “For decades, biologists have demonstrated through research that coyotes make up for their losses by changing their behaviors.”
Despite the war on coyotes since the 1850s, coyotes’ range has expanded three-fold. They now roam east of the Missouri River, north into Canada and south to Central America – even as they face a constant barrage of poisons, guns, traps, and aerial shooters directed at them. When their populations are exploited, more females breed, litter sizes grow, and coyotes immigrate from other areas to fill any vacancies. Adaptable, they can live as solitary individuals, as mated pairs, or in packs. Capable of hunting, scavenging or eating plants, coyotes mostly derive their diet from rodents and rabbits.
“This is not about a problem animal, this all about a business promotion that leads to the mass, statewide killing of coyotes,” said Guy Dicharry, a Los Lunas resident.
Coyotes actually benefit farmers and ranchers because they prey primarily on rodents and rabbits, which compete with livestock for forage or damage crops. Despite the pervasive myths, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has documented for decades that coyotes kill miniscule numbers of livestock, and that most unintended causes of livestock mortality comes from disease, birthing problems, and inclement weather, including drought.
The basic tenets of ethical hunting are to give for fair chase, not to use as animals as live targets, and to protect mothers and their dependent young.
“Contest hunts raise alarming ethical and conservation issues for all New Mexicans,” stated Mary Katherine Ray of the Sierra Club, “Mindless, random, body-count killing contests benefit neither nature nor livestock owners. They serve only to feed human blood lust and ego.”
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View Livestock Losses Data from the USDA