ALBUQUERQUE — The board of directors of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation has adopted a resolution expressing opposition to coyote-calling contests — events in which hunters compete for cash or cash-equivalent prizes awarded for killing coyotes.The board’s resolution states that such contests stand in violation of the North American Model of Wildlife Management, which prohibits commercialization of wildlife.
The resolution specifies that the board’s opposition to coyote-calling contests applies only to competitions involving cash or cash-value prizes. “The NMWF has and will continue to support the taking of coyotes through legal and ethical trapping or hunting, including non-monetized competitions involving calling and shooting,” the resolution states.
In addition, the resolution states that the NMWF board, “finds that competitive killing of multiple or unique coyotes for cash or cash-value prizes reflects badly on hunting and hunters, as it is deeply offensive to many people in both the non-hunting and hunting communities.”
The federation, founded in 1914 by pioneering conservationist Aldo Leopold and other sportsmen, is the oldest and largest group dedicated to the interests of sportsmen and women in the state.
The resolution quotes Leopold’s writings in his book, “A Sand County Almanac,” in which he emphasized in the importance of respect for all wildlife and his opposition to wanton waste. “Voluntary adherence to an ethical code elevates the self-respect of the sportsman, but it should not be forgotten that voluntary disregard of the code degenerates and depraves him,” Leopold wrote.
Jesse Deubel, executive director of the NMWF, said the resolution against coyote-calling contests reflects the organization’s position wildlife management decisions must adhere to the principles of the North American Model. “The future of hunting demands not only that we as hunters follow an ethical code that shows respect for wildlife, but also that we follow the principles of scientific wildlife management,” he said.
The federation has opposed legislation now pending in the New Mexico Legislature that would ban trapping on public lands. Deubel has testified against the bill, saying that any regulation on trapping should come from the state Game Commission.
Another pending bill to outlaw coyote-calling contests passed the New Mexico Senate on Wednesday and is pending in the House.
The legislative push to end coyote-calling contests follows an executive order issued by New Mexico Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard in early January banning the contests on 9 million acres of New Mexico state trust land.
In her executive order, Garcia Richard said the contests were inconsistent with sound land management and hurt the natural order between predators and prey.
“These are not hunting contests, they are animal cruelty contests,” Garcia Richard said when she announced the ban. She said the ban wouldn’t affect ranchers who lease state trust land and kill predators that threaten their livestock.
Read the Resolution Here: Coyote Resolution