ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) - Another New Mexico gun shop is calling on hunters to help rid their area of coyotes, this time in Roswell.
Larry's Gun Shop has organized a coyote hunt for this weekend, and they already have a lot of farmers and ranchers standing behind them.
Similar contests have come under fire. And just like other contests, there are big prizes for the team that kills the most coyotes. The grand prize is an AR-15 rifle.
"We put it on just to help the local ranchers with all the problems they're having with coyotes, help control the population," explained Ronald Abernathy, salesman at Larry's Gun Shop. Shop workers told KRQE News 13 coyotes are a big problem for their customers and local ranchers.
Mike Corn's family has had roots in Roswell 135 years deep in the sheep and cattle business.
"I'm a sheep rancher and sheep and coyotes don't get along," Corn said. "It's getting so bad we just -- so many ranchers have gone out of business in the last 20 years."
Corn said it's not uncommon for those still ranching to lose up to 50 percent of their livestock to predators like coyotes. Next to drought, he said it's their biggest problem, so he welcomes this weekend's contest.
"It's a big issue, it's a very expensive issue, and it's an ongoing issue," Corn said. "It's important to manage the predators.
"You can't manage game and manage livestock without managing the predators as well."
But not everyone thinks the event is a good idea.
"I know they can do a lot of havoc for a lot of livestock and animals out in the county and I understand that," said Krystle Smith, who lives in Roswell. "But there's got to be a better way than making a game and a sport out of it, especially offering a reward for whoever brings back the most heads.
"That's not humane."
Similar contests in the recent past have sparked protests from animal activists across New Mexico. Some protestors went as far as threatening the hunters and gun shops .
But workers at Larry's Gun Shop said that hasn't happened so far.
"Everything has been positive," Abernathy said. "People are real excited about the hunt. They're excited about the prizes that we're offering. They're excited to get started, so we have a lot of local support here."
Each member of a two-person team with the most kills gets an AR-15 rifle worth nearly $2,000. Teams of two can sign up at Larry's Gun Shop from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday.
The entry fee per team is $300. Prizes for the most kills will be guns from the shop and cash.
State Rep. Nate Cote, D-Las Cruces, has introduced House Bill 316, which would make it illegal to organize, sponsor or hold animal-killing contests. Penalties would include fines up to $5,000 and up to a year in jail.
That bill as scheduled for a committee hearing late Wednesday.
The bicyclist killed in a collision at Kirtland Air Force Base on Wednesday has been identified as a marine corps veteran and long-time employee of Lockheed martin.
The people who benefit the most by earning their GED will soon have the toughest time getting it.
A man who carjacked a woman in a church parking lot will spend seven years in prison as part of a plea deal.
Flags were lowered to half-staff across South Africa and people in black townships, in upscale mostly white suburbs and in the country's vast rural grasslands commemorated Nelson Mandela with song, tears and prayers on Friday while …
The Sandoval County sheriff's sergeant hit while investigating a weather related crash remains in critical condition.
The New Mexico State Police officer who fired shots at a minivan full of children during a chaotic October traffic stop has been fired.