Senate Bill Banning Coyote Killing Contests Passes First House Committee

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Senate Bill Banning Coyote Killing Contests Passes First House Committee

SANTA FE — A vote of 3-1, the New Mexico House Consumer & Public Affairs Committee passed Senate Bill 76 Thursday to prohibit coyote killing contests statewide.

Coyote killing contests are organized events in which participants compete for prizes—typically cash, firearms, and commemorative belt buckles—by attempting to kill the most, the largest, and the smallest coyotes over a period of time. There are at least 25 to 30 such contests known to be held throughout the state each year. A “small dog” winner at a recent New Mexico coyote killing contest was a 9 lb. coyote pup.

Killing contests have harmed New Mexico’s reputation, as national and even international media has spotlighted the contests’ horrific aftermath. Many New Mexico hunters purport that killing contests violate conservation hunting ethics by promoting wanton, commercialized and wasteful killing.

At the hearing, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation announced its board of directors recently passed a resolution in support of SB 76.

Despite assertions made by killing contest proponents, published peer-reviewed scientific studies have concluded that random mass killing disrupts coyotes’ social order, often causing more breeding within the pack and higher likelihood of “rogue” behavior by more pack members, making human-coyote and livestock-coyote conflicts more likely.

“The public testimony at today’s hearing displayed the diverse breadth of support for banning gruesome killing contests, including rural New Mexicans, livestock owners and lifelong hunters. It’s long past time for New Mexico to shed this bloodsport from its image and promote thoughtful, humane wildlife management,” said Animal Protection Voters’ Chief Legislative Officer Jessica Johnson.

The bill next goes to the House Judiciary Committee.