Commission approves new rules for big game

By QCS Staff

The New Mexico Game Commission meet in Tucumari recently and approved new rules for the 2007-2009 big-game hunting seasons that set hunt dates, bag limits and opportunities according to the most current data on wildlife populations, distribution, habitat, and management objectives.

The new rule apply to the 2007-2008 and the 2008-2009 hunting seasons.
They provide for public and private land elk hunts, cougar hunting, and furbearer hunting and trapping rules based on new population and habitat assessments.
The Game Commission sets hunting and trapping rules every two years for deer, elk, antelope, oryx, bear, ibex, bighorn sheep, barbary sheep, javelina, turkey, cougar, and furbearers. The process included months of public meetings and assessments of thousands of public comments and recommendations by telephone, regular mail, and e-mail.

 Some highlights of the Department of Game and Fish 2007-2009 big-game hunting rules:

Elk
• Seasons, numbers of licenses and bag limits on public and private lands were adjusted based on management goals and sustainable harvest objectives for the various elk populations in the state. These adjustments will provide significant hunting opportunities while sustaining the wildlife resource.
• Overall, the number of public and private elk licenses available each season was slightly reduced while the numbers of licenses for youth and mobility impaired hunters increased.

Cougar
• Development of a Cougar Population Assessment and Harvest Management Matrix led to the establishment of a Total Sustainable Mortality for each cougar zone in the state. The proportion of the Total Sustainable Mortality allotted to sport harvest was increased in some zones while decreased in others.
• Hunters are now required to call a toll-free number or visit a Department of Game and Fish office or the Department Web site:
http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/ ]www.wildlife.state.nm.us, to determine whether cougar hunting is open in the zone they plan to hunt in.

Deer
l Overall public permit numbers adjusted to improve the distribution of hunting opportunities based on demand and harvest objectives.
• Bag limit changed to one forked antlered deer statewide.
• Added a special white-tailed deer season in northeastern New Mexico.
• Added eight new youth-only hunts and six hunts for mobility-impaired hunters; and increased bow-hunting permits in Units 2A and 2B.

Bighorn sheep
• Provides for 22 licenses, including two new licenses in the Latir Wilderness, two new licenses in the Wheeler Peak area, one new license on the Pecos Wilderness, and continued hunts in the Peloncillo Mountains and Turkey Creek.
• Eliminated hunt in the San Francisco River area because of population declines due to disease.

For more information and details about the 2007-2008, 2008-2009 big-game hunting rules, please visit the Department Web site, [ http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/ ]www.wildlife.state.nm.us, or check out the 2007-2008 Big Game & Trapper Rules & Information booklet, available in late December at license vendors or any Department of Game and Fish office.
This information was compiled by the state’s Game Commission.