New Mexico Gun Shop Holds Coyote Contest, Receives Backlash

As an unprotected species that residents are allowed to kill year round — deemed a nuisance and a pest for farmers — you wouldn't expect much of an uproar when somebody decided to have a coyote killing contest.

But then you'd be wrong.

Gunhawk Firearms, of Los Lunas, New Mexico, announced that it would hold a contest in November for whoever brought in the most coyote carcasses, the prize being a high-end rifle. Since then owners said they have received death threats and backlash of various kinds, according to KRQE News. The FBI has even gotten involved in the matter, as owner Mark Chavez said numerous letters have targeted employees at Gunhawk and their families.

John Waters, an employee at Gunhawk, said the level of animosity leveled against the shop has been intense. Along with the 29,000 people who have signed a petition to end the contest, the gun shop has also received numerous threats of violence.

"Threatening us with explosives, burning down the shop, Molotov cocktails, and following you home to pick you off one by one," Waters told KRQE about the recent threats he and others have received. "Ridiculous. That's the best way to describe it."

This is only the latest in an ongoing battle between hunters and their often virulent opponents, who have taken to Facebook and other outlets over a National Geographic TV show, a wolf hunt in Minnesota and a hound dog that was killed in 2012 in Wisconsin. With reports that the first annual Minnesota wolf hunt ended in 147 kills, the drama doesn't appear to be on the downturn any time soon.

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