County commission to decide on road closure

Alisa Boswell

Roosevelt County Commissioners will be asked Tuesday to close a road.

The reason for this road closure is cattle rustlers and quail poachers.

But unlike cowboys from fictional westerns, Roosevelt County resident Leroy Redcliff’s battle with trouble makers has been very real.

“The road is being closed down for the simple reason that no one lives there anymore,” Redcliff said. “People will sneak in there to shoot quail all the time and they open the pasture gate and get the cows all mixed up.”

Three Roosevelt County residents — Douglas Toombs, David Watson and Leon Musick — are recommending the commission allow a one-mile stretch of South Roosevelt Road U on the outskirts of Portales to be closed.

The portion of the road to be closed is the last mile of the southwest side of the road near South Roosevelt Road 29, which is a dead end and some ranch and cattle land.

Redcliff said the problem is he keeps his cows with calves separated from the others, so the calves are properly fed and nurtured. Calves or mother cows wandering from one another can cause the calves to go hungry.

Redcliff said along with several incidents of people sneaking into his two pastures to steal calves from them, they are also sneaking in to shoot quail, leaving his pasture gates open when they leave which allows the cows from his two pastures to get mixed.

“There are certain birds that migrate at certain times of year, but quail aren’t one of those,” said Marlene Bernal, of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish out of Santa Fe. “So hunting them all year round is a bad idea.”

Bernal said hunting quail is only legal during quail season Nov. 15 through Feb. 15. She said consequences for hunting them at other times of the year vary, depending on court officials.

“If we hunt them all year round, there will no longer be a bird,” she said.

Redcliff said he has never reported the cattle thefts and quail killings to the county authorities, because he believed it would do little good since he could not identify the culprits carrying out these acts.

“There used to be a gate there but there’s a cattle guard there now,” Redcliff said. “People are running in and out of there all the time. I just want people to stay out of my pasture.”

Toombs, who lives half a mile north of the southwest end of Road U, said he and the other two county residents chosen to make the decision for the road closure were chosen due to being the other three land owners on the southwest end of the county road.

“The road doesn’t go to anything but his (Redcliff’s) windmill,” Toombs said. “He’s just wanted to keep the general public off his land.”

Toombs said the three other residents with land on this side of Road U had no issues with closing the portion of the road, because each land owner will have a key to the gate which will block access.

He said he, Watson and Musick met on the road Monday morning along with the county road commission to make the decision to recommend the commission allow the road to be closed off.

“You’d have to have a high clearance vehicle after you get passed that mile they’re wanting to close,” Toombs said. “It’s private roads. Just ranchers go across to feed the cows, so they haven’t been maintained in 20 something years. It’s been almost ten years since a road grader has been down that road to maintain it.”