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One of the biggest hurdles the hunting community faces is the opinion of non-hunters. They have no experience in the topic at hand but loudly voice their opinions anyway. Opinion based on emotions and buzz-words over facts.

That exact hurdle just caused the passage of New Mexico Senate Bill 76. The bill, which would outlaw coyote-killing contests, passed the Senate with a 22-17 vote. It defines a coyote killing contest as “an organized or sponsored competition with the objective of killing coyotes for prizes or entertainment.” It would make organizing a contest a misdemeanor and participating in one a petty misdemeanor.

If passed, it would still be legal to kill a coyote to protect person or property.

This bill is not so much about the divide between Democrats and Republicans, but the divide between rural and urban communities in New Mexico. Senator Jeff Steinborn (D) and Senator Mark Moores (R) co-sponsor SB 76. Steinborn says that coyote contests are “an abhorrent fringe activity”. Moores says he was disgusted by the people who participated in these contests.

Senator Greg Fulfer (R) says this “wouldn’t work in his area”. During the debate, he described in graphic detail the way coyotes attack livestock and other animals. “Think about how these bills are changing New Mexico’s culture,” Fulfer said.

Bills similar to this one have passed the Senate before only to die in the House. With the new composition of the New Mexico House of Representatives, the same may not be true this time. If it is passed, the coyote contest ban will go into effect July 1, 2019.

State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard (D), issued an executive order earlier this month that banned coyote contests on state trust land.

What do you think? Are coyote contests an “Abhorrent fringe activity” or an important part of “New Mexico’s culture”?

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