HANCOCK COUNTY — Hunters killed 37 coyotes in Hancock, Shelby and Hamilton counties recently during a hunting tournament hosted by Highsmith Guns, a Greenfield-based gun store.

The 2017 Coyote Showdown began Jan. 27 and continued for 48 hours. Competitors had the chance to win door prizes and cash payouts for the top three teams. Thirty teams participated, with first place going to team “Paws Up” for bagging 11 coyotes. The largest coyote, checked in by team “Flat Liners,” weighed 41.9 pounds.

Organizers said the windy conditions during the tournament made hunting difficult.

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Tournament organizer Erik Fannin, of Stocose Outdoors, said the statewide tournament is in response to discussions with longtime friend, Shane Highsmith, owner of Highsmith Guns, and his conversations with customers and fellow hunters complaining about the declining deer population and the frequent coyote sightings hunters have experienced while in their tree stands.

“We’re listening to the hunters who are not seeing the deer numbers they are used to,” Fannin said. “Stocose Outdoors presented the idea of organizing a coyote tournament hosted by Highsmith Guns in order to help keep the rising coyote population in check.”

Coyotes are listed on the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website as a nuisance animal and are becoming more common in urban areas, according to a news release. They target fawns as an easy meal and have been known to kill adult deer, livestock and even pets.

Highsmith Guns plans to host another coyote-hunting tournament next year, organizers said.