April 19, 2021

Despite Outcry, New Mexico Loses Public Land Trapping

Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Rocky Mountain States Senior Coordinator


Why it Matters: On April 5, 2021, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed Senate Bill 32 (SB 32) into law, banning trapping on public lands in the state. Not only is this decision based on emotional propaganda founded by misinformation, it is also a devasting blow to science-based wildlife management in the state and the North American Model of Conservation. Despite being a tough loss for the sporting community, SB 32 is a perfect example of how powerful sportsmen and women can be when we rally together.

If you have been following along this legislative session, New Mexico has been consistently in the headlines, with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) reporting on the state not once, not twice but four separate times.  The New Mexico regular legislative session ended on April 9, following a few big wins for the outdoor sporting community and onebig loss in the form of SB 32.

Erroneously titled the Wildlife and Public Safety Act, SB 32 bans all trapping on public lands with minimal exceptions including Government agents working to resolve public safety issues, scientists conducting bona fide research, and Native Americans who are trapping for ceremonial or religious purposes.

From the very beginning of session, the New Mexico pro-trapping and science-based wildlife management community faced a monumental uphill battle. Years in the making and extremely well-funded, the proponents of SB 32 anticipated an easy win, but thanks to the dedication and sweat equity of a broad coalition of over 25 conservation partners, we did not go down without a fight. Despite a chaotic democratic process that lacked transparency, adamant science-based opposition from the outdoor sporting community, farming and livestock industry, and landowners at every turn, words of caution from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, and an online petition that garnered over 19,000 signatures, SB 32 passed out of the House by the skin on its teeth (35-34). Sixteen days later, Governor Lujan Grisham quietly signed SB 32 into law, 4 days before the end of session deadline.

While the battle for science-based wildlife management in New Mexico is not over, CSF will continue to work to ensure sportsmen and women are included in discussions surrounding implementation of SB 32. While this was a heavy loss for the outdoor sporting and agricultural community, CSF was proud to be a part of a diverse and dedicated coalition of conservationists and thanks everyone who participated in the fight to save trapping on public lands in New Mexico.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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