Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Coyote Killing Contests - New Mexico Leads the Nation

FINALLY!!! New Mexico Senator Mark Moores & Representative Jeff Steinborn introduced a bill to outlaw coyote killing contests (more info here)The Southwest Environmental Center (SWEC) in Las Cruces, New Mexico sent a notice prompting the following email to my contacts...

On Sat, Jan 31, 2015 at 1:55 PM, Wahnfried wrote:

My apologies to any of you who may be annoyed by yet another societal entreaty.

Killing contests, contrary to what one might think, have little impact on coyote populations. They ARE however, an obscenity and affront to human dignity. Do you know anyone who would stand and proudly announce their participation in this activity? And the days when wanton killing in the name of sport can be tacitly condoned by the state are long past. 

As you probably know, I've spent much of the last five years travelling throughout the west. It isn't a new activity and in the '80s and early '90s it was common to hear coyotes, especially in the single-digit hours before dawn and again around sunset. Now however, it's a rare treat. Most of the blame can be laid on cattle ranchers and the focused removal of any animal that competes with cattle forage including the billions of mice that are the mainstay of a coyote's diet.

The predations of cattle ranching are far removed from coyote and other wildlife-killing contests, but the contests are often "sold" as a nuisance abatement and public service...for ranchers. Regardless of who or what's to blame for the dawn and dusk silences, this legislation is a no-brainer. And, contrary to the implications in the paragraph that begins "If you live in New Mexico....." I think hearing from you out-of-staters might give them REAL pause for thought.  After all, tourists are a large part of our economy. That said, I find it incredible that we're a leader in contests to kill what is probably our most beloved icon.

Happy New Year!!

MFH


One of the folks I sent the above to wrote back...

If I'm gonna kill something, it'll be something that is causing harm to someone else in the way of life threatening shit... I have killed animals, but it ain't my deal. If something was endangering someone or something I would. 

My father is the "great white hunter". He, in fact, roped a mountain lion and brought it in to town alive to collect on bets, and then killed it for the bounty. I thought it was a big kitty and wanted to pet it.

This is not the same one. There were A LOT of them. Well, it IS my dad. There is only ONE of HIM.



DECADES LATER:



Yeah, that's me and dad with a stinky dead lion.




I (MFH) hadn't thought about this for many years, but while looking at the above picture I recognized his grin from my teen years in the South. It was a common sight on (white) peoples' faces as they egged on the police in the race-riots of the '60s. They thought the police were performing a public service.

Update 6:29 p.m.  2/4/15
I pulled this excerpt from an online post about recent developments. “These coyote-calling contests are a management tool,” said Phil Bidegain, a rancher from eastern New Mexico. “I think God did give us dominion over the animals.”

It's not clear if Rancher Bidegain advocates killing coyotes or just calling them. But I, Wahnfried der Nomad, disagree with him. And while I respect his right to his opinion, be it calling or killing, it's time we stopped "letting" God take the responsibility for behavior that the majority of mere mortals deems no longer acceptable.

Remember Horton & the Who's!!


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