Coyote contest banned on state trust lands

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New Mexico State Land Commissioner Ray Powell announced that the participants in the commercial Coyote Killing Contest, being run by the Gunhawk Firearms store in Los Lunas, are not authorized to access New Mexico state trust land.

In a letter sent Thursday to the owner of Gunhawk Firearms, the commissioner informed the sponsor of the event that state trust lands may not be used for this purpose. The contest is scheduled for this weekend, Nov. 17-18.

“The participants in this commercial and unregulated exploitation of wildlife do not have a permit or lease to be on State Trust Lands,” Powell stated in the release. “Individuals killing coyotes on State Trust Land will be considered in trespass.

“When our native predators or wild domestic dogs kill our agricultural and companion animals, the specific offending animal needs to be removed in a prompt and humane way. The non-specific, indiscriminate killing methods, used in this commercial and unrestricted coyote killing contest are not about hunting or sound land management.

“These contests are about personal profit, animal cruelty, and the severe disruption of the delicate balance of this desert ecosystem,” Powell stated. “These lands support our public schools, universities, and hospitals, New Mexico’s important agricultural industry, our unique wildlife populations, and the cherished natural world we call home — New Mexico. It is time to outlaw this highly destructive activity.”

The State Land Office administers 13 million acres of trust land throughout the state.