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No protesters at NM coyote contest

Associated Press Modified: November 18, 2012 at 1:16 am •  Published: November 18, 2012

"We care about public opinion, we care," Gross told The Associated Press by phone on Saturday. "Honestly we took this over because a big gun shop pulled out because of threats. And we just thought that was wrong.

"We're going to stick to it no matter what — much more on principle."

People are upset over the idea of making a contest out of killing an animal that usually lives peacefully alongside residents, Susan Weiss, 74, who leads the Coexist with Coyotes group in Corrales, N.M., told the AP on Friday.

"There's a tremendous amount of arrogance in conducting this hunt," Weiss said. "(Chavez) is damaging the reputation of ranchers. He is damaging the reputation of legitimate hunters."

But Gross said the controversy was overblown.

"Of the estimated 300,000 coyotes in this state, maybe 100-200 are going to be taken in this hunt," he noted.

Plus, Gross said, ranchers are crying out for help.

"We get pictures from ranchers every day — they send us pictures of slaughtered livestock every day," he said.

The two-day hunt concludes Sunday.