Posted at: 11/17/2012 6:33 PM
Updated at: 11/18/2012 12:16 PM
By: Adam Camp, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Gunhawk Firearms reports there have been 22 coyotes killed so far in the state-wide coyote hunting contest. It runs through Sunday afternoon.
Rick Gross of Gunhawk Firearms, the organizer of the contest, said the amount of coyotes killed should show perspective to the controversial hunt.
"There's no question it was blown out, as if we were going to try to slaughter a species because we understand the ecosystem," Rick Gross said.
Hunters are only allowed to hunt on private land, which Gross said holds the biggest problem for ranchers.
Animal rights advocates have said the hunt is bad for the environment and cruel, but no protestors showed up Saturday to boycott Gunhawk Firearms in Los Lunas, the organizer of the event.
Gross said he understands protestors calling the hunt cruel, but said the coyotes are the cruel ones.
"From people that have 40 lambs slaughtered at a time, and, apparently, it's not just for food, it's for fun. They might eat one and kill 40," he said.
Another hunter outside the store did my do this coyote hunt, but has hunted coyotes in the past.
"I'm a big supporter of it. There's a large number of them, and also they're predatory, get in and get livestock," Rick Henderson said.
Gross said there are between 150 and 200,000 coyotes in New Mexico. But e said they are becoming a problem for man than just country people now.
"I have three dogs that I love, they are like my kids. And coyotes come up right to my fence, and I'm inside the city," Gross said.