February 8, 2021

Petition Calls on Public to Voice Opposition of New Mexico Trapping Ban Legislation

Contact: Ellary TuckerWilliams, Inter-Mountain Western States Coordinator

Sportsmen and women are beginning to stir in New Mexico after a public lands trapping ban – erroneously titled the Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act (SB 32) – passed out of the Senate Conservation Committee (Committee) last Tuesday.

Nothing about SB 32 benefits conservation or public safety and the outdoor sporting community took note. The day after the Committee’s decision to pass SB 32, an online petition was started, allowing the public to demonstrate the level of opposition against the proposed public lands trapping ban. As of Monday morning, the signature tally had already reached over 8,000.

Backed by Animal Voters of America, in addition to an outright public lands trapping ban, SB 32 would severely limit the ability of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (Department) to utilize trapping in wildlife management. Additionally, the Department would no longer be able to rely on trappers for their assistance with population control, data collection, depredation mitigation, or human-wildlife conflict resolution.

Data submitted by trappers provides information on overall population numbers, sex ratios, age structure, disease prevalence, and numerous other factors that influence the health and sustainability of wildlife populations. Without the participation of the trapping community, the Department would be forced to take personnel and funding away from other conservation priorities to continue these basic but essential data collection efforts.

Additionally, SB 32 includes exemptions of formally recognized tribal members from the proposed trapping ban. Such provisions make the Department potentially vulnerable to discrimination lawsuits by requiring wildlife enforcement officers to determine an individual’s race and/or religion and whether their activities are classified as religious or ceremonial, if they were found trapping on public land.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted 2 opposition letters, one directly related to SB 32 and the other due to a lack of transparency surrounding the Committee hearing process. CSF registered to testify virtually but was not selected by the Committee Chairwoman to speak.

To learn more about the petition, visit Protect New Mexico’s Wildlife – Oppose S​.​B. 32.

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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