New Mexico legislature moves to ban coyote killing contests

New Mexico legislature moves to ban coyote killing contests

New Mexico House joins Senate in passing bill which prohibits organized coyote killing for prizes or entertainment

SANTA FE, NM—Late Tuesday, the New Mexico House of Representatives joined the New Mexico Senate in passing a bill that would prohibit coyote killing contests across the state. The legislation, sponsored by Senators Mark Moores (R-Bernalillo) and Jeff Steinborn (D-Doña Ana), passed through the House with a 37-30 vote. The bill now goes to the Governor’s desk where she can sign it into law. New Mexico would be the second state to pass a legislative ban on coyote killing contests. Vermont banned the practice through legislation in 2018.

“There is absolutely no justification for this practice—killing contests are not wildlife management and they are not hunting. They are massacres and they need to stop.” said Chris Smith, southern Rockies wildlife advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “Thankfully, New Mexico is poised to end the violence.”

“We commend the New Mexico Legislature for joining State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard in declaring coyote killing contests as inappropriate, indefensible and something that should be banned statewide,” said Camilla Fox, founder and executive director of Project Coyote.

“Coyotes do not deserve to be vilified. They keep the balance of nature intact by controlling rodents and rabbit numbers leaving room for birds, pollinating insects, and other herbivores,” said Mary Katherine Ray, wildlife chair for the Rio Grande Chapter of Sierra Club. “A world without coyotes would be impoverished, more overgrazed and less biodiverse.”

“Like dogfighting and cockfighting that have been banned nationwide, coyote killing contests have no place in civilized society,” said Dave Parsons, science advisory board member for Project Coyote and an expert scientist for the bill’s sponsors.


Wildlife killing contests occur throughout the west and reward participants who shoot the most animals, the biggest animals, and even the smallest or youngest animals. Approximately 30 such contests take place annually in New Mexico. The best available science indicates that indiscriminately killing coyotes disrupts pack social structures, which can lead to increased depredation and compensatory breeding.


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