The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is proposing changes to state trapping rules that are inadequate to protect people and wildlife.
Please attend Thursday’s meeting of the New Mexico Game Commission in Santa Fe and share your view in a two-minute comment.
What: Game Commission meeting (fill out a speaker card at the door to be allowed 2 minutes of public comment)
When: Beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 22 Agenda here
Where: Room 317, state Capitol, 490 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe
Proposed changes by Game and Fish to trapping include:
- Adopt year-round seasons for raccoons and nutria.
The vast majority of public lands in New Mexico will still be open for leg-hold traps, lethal snares and conibears with these few closures to most trapping:
- Part of the Organ Mountains National Monument east of Las Cruces
- the Sandia Ranger District in the Cibola National Forest,
- A small strip of the Española Ranger District in the Santa Fe National Forest,
- A small strip of the Questa Ranger District in the Carson National Forest,
- Increased setbacks from trailheads, but not from trails or roads,
- Increased trap check times for underwater traps
No bag limits are proposed for fur-bearers! None of the proposed changes would fundamentally change why most New Mexicans oppose trapping, which include:
Traps are cruel: Trapped animals are subject to dehydration, starvation, broken bones, predation, dislocation, self-amputation, and emotional trauma. It is not uncommon for leghold traps to be found with only a paw/foot left in them.
Traps are indiscriminate: Traps frequently maim and kill non-target animals, and there are many such instances across the state. Risk can be mitigated, but there is no way to bring that risk to zero or an acceptably low number. Traps can still catch animals as small as chipmunks. In New Mexico, non-target animals that have been killed or maimed by leghold traps include black bears, Mexican gray wolves (over 40 cases, including some by Wildlife Services), ravens, owls, mountain lions, and bobcats. Many other species are at risk, including domestic animals.
Leghold traps are a public safety hazard: Along with non-target wildlife, leghold traps have injured and killed domestic dogs and cats in nearly every county in New Mexico. Last year at least two dogs (Roxy and Ranger) were killed by traps in the state and a handful more were injured (Kekoa was among multiple dogs that lost a leg).
Trapping is a drain on native wildlife populations for private profit: For only $20 ($9 for juniors), a trapper is given free rein to wreak havoc on native furbearer populations. There are no bag limits for furbearers in New Mexico and any trapper can kill as many animals as he or she wants. The exploitative killing of public wildlife for private profit is completely contrary to the North American Model of Conservation tenet to eliminate commercial markets for wildlife.
Please offer your two minutes of comment at the meeting on Thursday.
The Commission is also considering changes to the bear and cougar rules. The kill limits for both species are unjustifiably high. Please consider saying a word to the Game Commission about them too.
Thank you and I hope to see you there on Thursday!
Mary Katherine Ray
Wildlife Chair, Rio Grande Chapter Sierra Club