State planning to change antelope hunting regs

By Thomas Garcia: Quay County Sun

Quay County landowners voiced concerns about proposed antelope hunting regulations and how they would affect their safety and access to hunting areas.

Fifteen Quay County landowners attended a meeting Wednesday in Logan about the Antelope Private Land Use System (A-PLUS), for the 2009-2011 hunting seasons. The possible changes were presented by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

The proposed changes will affect the department’s northeast region, which includes Quay County, and will focus on making the A-PLUS system more structured and mathematically based, said Lief Ahlm, operations chief of the department’s Northeast Region.

The A-PLUS is used to determine the number of antelope hunting opportunities available on public and private lands.

“This change will best fit the hunter and the landowners,” Alhm said. “It will take into consideration both of their concerns. We had a good turnout and got some great feedback.”

The meeting in Logan was one of nine held across the state by the department to explain and get comments from landowners about the proposed changes.

Ryan Walker, game manager of the Northeast Region based in Raton, went over the proposed changes. Some will include an increase in the number of antelope doe hunts, a set day for unassigned and assigned hunting and a five-consecutive day hunting period, Walker said.

Quay County area landowners voiced many of the concerns expressed in other parts of the state, Ahlm said.

One of those concerns was the access to state lands via private property. A hunter can hunt on state land that is surrounded by a landowner’s property as its accessible by a county or state road, Alhm said.

“Many of the landowners here in Quay County have a county road going right through the middle of their property,” said Van Robertson of Nara Visa. “Will the Game and Fish Department have the manpower to cover the additional days of hunting.”

The department will have more officers assigned to the region during the hunts, Alhm aid.

Robertson said another landowner concern is safety. With five consecutive days of hunting a landowner’s neighbor could start moving cattle and be at risk from the public hunters, Robertson said.

Alhm said that under the new system public hunters will have a fixed weekend in October to hunt, the landowners will know when the hunters are coming and can plan around that date.

Landowner concerns from the meeting will be reviewed and incorportated into the propasal that will be submited to the state Game Commsion on Dec. 4, said Dan Williams, public relations director for Game and Fish.