New Mexico: Update on Proposed Changes to Cougar Hunting and Public Comment Opportunities for Proposed Rule Changes to Furbearer

Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Inter-Mountain Western States Coordinator

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) has concluded public meetings on proposed changes to cougar hunting, as described in a previous article. The proposed changes include:

  • No longer allowing traps as a method for sport harvest
  • Reducing maximum allowable harvest
  • No longer allowing an additional two tags for cougar license holders who have successfully filled their original two tags

The New Mexico Game Commission is still accepting written comments on the proposed changes until November, before voting. Interested parties may still submit written comments to the following:

  • New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Attn: Bear and Cougar Rule Development, P.O. Box 25112, Santa Fe, NM 87504
  • DGF-Bear-Cougar-Rules@state.nm.us

In late October, the NMDGF is seeking public comment on proposed revisions to Trapping and Furbearer regulations by hosting 4 public meetings throughout the state. Proposed changes consist of:

  • Mandatory Trappers Education
    • A general trapper education course
    • New Mexico specific rules and regulations section
    • New Mexico species identification course
  • Closed Areas to Trapping Due to High Recreation Activities
    • The Sandia Ranger District
    • The eastern portion of the Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument
    • Forest Service lands within ½ mile of:
      • NM Hwy 475 (road to Ski Santa Fe) on the Santa Fe national Forest
      • NM Hwy 150 (road to Taos Ski Basin) on the Carson National Forest
  • Setback Distances
    • ½ mile from designated trailheads, signed roadside rest areas, picnic areas, occupied dwellings (unless permitted by the occupant or set by the occupant), and established and maintained public campgrounds or boat-launching areas
  • Explicitly prohibit the “take” of New Mexico threatened/endangered species
  • Water sets must be 100% submerged
  • Mandatory breakaway device for all snares set on land
  • Mandatory anchoring or drag system
  • Mandatory reporting of incidental wolf take

Opportunities for interested individuals to attend public meetings to discuss the proposed rule changes are:

  • Raton: 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. October 22 (NMDGF office), 215 York Canyon Road
  • Roswell: 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. October 23 (NMDGF office), 1615 West College 
  • Las Cruces: 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. October 24 (NMDGF office) 2715 Northrise Drive
  • Albuquerque: 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. October 30 (NMDGF office), 7816 Alamo Road

If individuals are unable to attend the public meetings, interested parties may submit written comment, either by letter or email at:

  • New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Attn: Furbearer Rule Development, P.O. Box 25112, Santa Fe, NM 87504
  • dgf-furbearer-rules@state.nm.us

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