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Coyote hunting tournament kicks off near Indianapolis

GREENFIELD, Ind. -- A coyote hunting tournament kicked off Friday near Indianapolis, where growing urban populations have driven the coyote population up in recent years.

The Coyote Showdown, hosted by Stocose Outdoors and Highsmith Guns in Greenfield, is being held for the first time. Organizer Erik Fannin said the tournaments are becoming more popular in southern and western Indiana, so he wanted to start one in this area.

Fannin was also driven by his own personal experience. His dog, Maggie, was attacked by coyotes last month. Ironically, it happened after Fannin had been out hunting the animals that day.

"She was outside for about 15 minutes and then went to call her back in and she was laying on the front porch full of blood," Fannin said.

29 teams will have until Sunday to kill as many coyotes as they can. The group said that coyotes are actually considered a nuisance animal by Indiana's Department of Natural Resources, and their population has doubled in the last 20 years.

"A lot of hunters in this tournament are complaining about all the coyotes they’ve seen this year and were wanting to do something about it," Fannin said.

It's legal to hunt coyotes year round, as long as you're on private property and have the permission of the owner.

John Peterson, with Highsmith Guns, said the animals have grown in populated areas like Indianapolis and its surrounding communities, because as more people move in and own pets, food becomes more prevalent.

"They’ll eat just about anything and so it’s something we’re working really hard to try and control the population of," Peterson said. "We’re looking for responsible sportsmen to help control the population."

That's what the teams will do this weekend, as the seek to kill the most coyotes and take home cash prizes.

"(They're) becoming more of a nuisance in the urban areas, so we figured we’d try to thin out some coyotes," Fannin said.