State game hearing seeks public input

Freedom New Mexico

Confusion over proposed new rules for hunting on private property in New Mexico is prompting a special State Game Commission hearing.

The public meeting is at 1 p.m. Saturday in Albuquerque at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science.

The commission is interested hearing public concerns about a new rule requiring hunters, trappers and anglers to have written permission in order to take, or kill game on private land.

If they don’t have written permission, the law allows the states’ Game and Fish department to ticket hunters and seize any animals in their possession.

The meeting was prompted after several hunting and conservation groups protested the rule. They said it is frequently impossible for hunters to tell when they have stepped off public land onto private land.

The groups want a requirement that private land must be posted before the new law can be enforced.

“It has been an issue anywhere in the west,” said Greg Williams, media relations director for the Department of Game and Fish. “Often it is a checkerboard of public and private lands. The hills and bumps make it hard to tell where the two end and the other begins.”

A similar rule has been on the books for deer hunters the last four years.

The new rule was set to take place for all other game but delayed to allow for more public input.

“It is to be revised for the upcoming season, so the decision was delayed,” Williams said. “It gets pretty complicated out in the west and people are responsible for that. The commission wants to respect the rights of the landowners and the hunters and the respect of wildlife.”