Outlaw coyote killing contests in the Legislature

Editor:

Since 1984 I have lived in Valencia County. I am a livestock owner, mother, grandmother, nurse, horse person, master naturalist and volunteer. I hold an NMDGF license. I became aware of killing contests in 2012 when I discovered killing contests advertised in Valencia County.

For the fourth time, a bill to outlaw contests has been introduced in the New Mexico Legislature. In 2015 and 2017, the bill passed in the Senate. In 2013, the bill made it to the House floor but did not pass. Most of the current legislators from Valencia County, including those representing Belen and Los Lunas, voted against this legislation in the past.

Coyote killing contests randomly target an important native New Mexico species that includes four distinct subspecies. Contestants use 21st century technology and electronic callers to find and kill coyotes. The contests are conducted for prizes, bragging rights and target practice. Contestants are usually awarded prizes for the biggest, smallest or most coyotes.

Twenty to 30 contests occur throughout New Mexico every year with some contests organized and promoted out of Valencia County. In February 2019, a contest was advertised for “central New Mexico.” Social media posts alerted contestants that the check-in — where they bring in the dead coyotes — would be in the Valencia County/Belen area. The organizers also advertised that contestants could “hunt anywhere.”

Contests occur because coyotes have no bag limits, no meaningful regulations by NMDGF and no reporting requirement. There is no scientific or management rationale justifying these killing contests. Contests do not protect livestock. If a rancher has a specific problem with predators, the recommended solution is a site-specific approach rather than a “scorched earth” indiscriminate approach.

The bill to outlaw contests is not anti-hunting, anti-coyote hunting, anti-ranching, anti-heritage or anti-gun. This is not an urban-rural issue as many of the contestants and promoters come from urban and suburban areas. This is a bill that outlaws only coyote killing contests.

Promoters and contestants have already said that, if coyote killing contests are banned, they will just go find other wildlife to kill in a contest setting. Clearly, it isn’t about coyotes or protecting livestock. It is about thrill killing for fun and prizes.

I hope Valencia County’s legislative representatives will vote to outlaw coyote killing contests.

Elisabeth Dicharry

Los Lunas

Help our representatives

Editor:

We all have a certain set of values that we abide by in our personal lives. One of mine is to make no promises that I can’t keep, followed up with doing what I say I’m going to do.

My friends and family know they can trust in me by my words and actions. They hold me to my word and we work it out together if a problem or miscommunication arises.

You and I place our trust in our elected officials by not only voting for them, but by watching their actions after they’ve been elected. Our civic duty doesn’t stop there either. It is our responsibility to let them know what we want and how we want it, rather than just sit back and complain after they’ve presented their bills or voted during a legislative session.

We simply cannot just be keyboard warriors on social media. We must get involved with the process and with making our wishes known, and that is why it is important to contact them by phone, email or in person to ask for more from them.

Town halls are a good place to interact personally with our local representatives. They typically hold them to hear our concerns and to meet their constituents and to explain how they are earning our trust. Remember, they do work for us!

I invite everyone to start visiting our Roundhouse from the comfort of your own homes to see for yourself which bills (if any) our representatives are putting forth. You might be satisfied or you just might need to get in contact with them to get further explanation, but you will also be performing an important function for you and for others by letting your voice be heard.

Click on nmlegis.gov/legislation. For our Washington reps, go to congress.gov/bill. So easy to help our reps represent us!

Michelle Tafoya

Los Lunas

New year, same problems

Editor:

We swore in our new county commission and through some parliamentary chicanery, the minority elected themselves to commission control. These are the same people who have us still waiting for any advancement of a county hospital that has been held up by commission inactivity since I’ve lived here.

The mid-river crossing to help ease the congestion on Main Street, which is constantly being restricted by repairs during rush hour or accidents that close the only east/west corridor (is an issue). It apparently didn’t bother the commissioners to see people injured, delayed and placed in unsafe conditions, even when they had the federal monies years ago and had them taken away.

This year looks already to be year of inaction, cow-towing to special interests, and a failure to consider the voters. We now have in the driver’s seat of the commission the same man who has been involved in past procrastination on these issues, and was the mastermind of forcing us to go with Universal for trash pick up, which has led to waiting extra days for pick up, and people being paid to take the trash to the transfer point only to find that they’re still dumping in the mesa.

New year same, old tired Valencia (County) politics. With these issues addressed, I don’t suppose anyone has thought we’d be more attractive to businesses.

Phil Collins

Los Lunas

(Editor’s note: Valencia County voters approved a $2 million bond for the east-west corridor project.)

Killed dog and left

Editor:

On Feb. 5, an unidentified female driver swerved into a driveway on Gabaldon Road in Belen, striking and killing a beloved border collie, who was on his own property.

To this person: instead of stopping and owning what you did, you fled. You are a coward and a despicable excuse for a human being.

Ann Ryerson

Los Lunas

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