Posted at: 09/24/2013 2:04 PM
Updated at: 09/24/2013 2:09 PM
By: Elizabeth Reed, KOB.com
Photo: KOB File Photo
Conservation groups outraged by a prairie dog hunting contest organized by a Los Lunas gun shop last month are giving New Mexico a nickname that they say "more accurately represents the state's treatment of wildlife."
"The Land of Entrapment" won in the groups' online poll asking respondents to pick a new slogan for the state.
"The responses revealed a lot of sadness and anger from residents and visitors alike," said Taylor Jones, representative for WildEarth Guardians. "Respondents agreed that killing contests and leg-hold traps all over public lands aren't 'enchanting.'"
The animal groups attempted to stop the hunting contest by writing an appeal to the organizer, Mark Chavez. They proposed a meeting with the gun shop to talk about other solutions for controlling the prairie dog population in New Mexico, but Chavez said the contest was a way to promote hunters' rights.
"People are trying to take our guns away and hunting is an avenue for them to do it," Chavez told KOB Eyewitness News 4 on the first day of the contest.
The hunt lasted 10 days across the state and mandated that competitors follow New Mexico Game and Fish guidelines.
After organizing the online poll, conservation groups say they have sent a letter to the New Mexico Tourism Department asking officials to "support future legislation to ban cruel treatment of wildlife and ensure that the state lives up to its current nickname, 'The Land of Enchantment.'"
The letter can be read on WildEarth Guardians' website.