In a decision that pitted rural and urban lawmakers against one another, the state Senate voted Thursday to prohibit coyote-killing contests in New Mexico.
Senate Bill 268 carried 26-15 and now moves to the House of Representatives with a little more than a week remaining in the session. The Senate approved a similar measure two years ago, but it died in the House.
Coyotes in New Mexico are an unprotected animal, meaning they can be killed at any time and in any number without a hunting license. But Sens. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, and Mark Moores, R-Albuquerque, sponsors of the bill to outlaw killing contests, say the events are inhumane and give New Mexico an ugly image.
“Sometimes their carcasses are just left out in the desert,” Steinborn said, the coyotes and their pelts discarded as worthless.
He said there are 20 to 30 commercial coyote contests annually in the state. Several were held last year in the Las Cruces and Silver City areas, he said, and as many as 30 coyotes were killed each time.
He told of contestants who drove around downtown Albuquerque with dead coyotes to boast about their kills.