ALBUQUERQUE, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- This weekend's coyote hunt in New Mexico will take place on private property, only, as it is banned on state and federal lands, organizers said.
More than 60 teams of hunters had signed up for the event at a cost of $50 per team and fanned out to thin the state's population of coyotes.
"I know coyotes need to be controlled," said Los Lunas hunter Arlen Anderson. "They're out there and they're doing damage."
Anderson and other hunters told KOB-TV, Albuquerque, coyotes are plentiful in New Mexico and a bane to ranchers.
"Two nights ago we had a pregnant ewe killed at my dad's house," he said.
Environmentalists contend coyotes are an important part of the state's ecology and hunting them is cruel.
State Land Commissioner Ray Powell joined the federal government this week in barring coyote hunters from state lands.
"I think he made a lot of people mad," said gun store owner Mark Chavez, an organizer of the hunt. "There's a lot of hunters and they pay taxes so they feel like should be able to hunt on state land."