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NM coyote contest winds down with no problems

Associated Press Modified: November 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm •  Published: November 18, 2012

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A coyote hunting contest organized by a New Mexico gun shop that set off protests from animal rights activists has ended without problems.

The hunt ended at noon Sunday and all hunters had checked in with the shop's owner by 2 p.m., Gunhawk Firearms business manager Rick Gross said. Gross didn't have a count for the number of coyotes taken, but said at last count. Saturday 23 coyotes had been killed and he expected no more than 60 would be shot in all.

Animal activists and the state's trust land commissioner were incensed when Gunhawk owner Mark Chavez said he'd go ahead with the hunt despite the protests. The store is about 20 miles south of Albuquerque in Los Lunas.

About 80 hunters actually participated in the hunt, and the one who shots the most coyotes will win their choice of a free shotgun or a pair of semi-automatic rifles.

Gross said he and his partner, Chavez, decided they needed to go ahead with the hunt on principal after a large shop in Albuquerque pulled out of a planned hunt a month ago because of pressure from activists. He pointed out that hunting coyotes is legal, and ranchers frequently lose cattle to the predators.

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