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.
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Recently, two Montana state representatives have proposed more aggressive legislation addressing the state's gray wolf population. These bills range from the addition of a wolf tag into big game combination tags, to year-round sanctioned harvest without a license, use of snare traps, and private reimbursement of wolf harvest. Currently, the wolf population in Montana sits at 850 wolves, which is 700 over the state’s minimum recovery goal of 150 wolves. Which of the below options for wolf management do you support? (Select all that apply)Vote Here
- Regulated hunting under the management of the state fish and wildlife agency during a specific season (22.92%)
- Year-round hunting of wolves without a license (14.58%)
- The use of snares (trapping) without hunting allowances (2.08%)
- A combination of hunting and trapping during specific seasons regulated by the fish and wildlife agency (37.50%)
- The establishment of a bounty program to incentivize harvest during specific seasons (2.08%)
- Other (0.00%)
- I do not support the take of wolves (20.83%)