Game Commission chair quits after cougar killing

Scott Bidegain of Tucumcari has  resigned as chairman of the New Mexico Game Commission after game-control officers filed a criminal complaint alleging he was an accessory to the unlawful killing of a cougar.

In his resignation letter, Bidegain stated he was present during a hunting incident earlier this month in which a cougar was killed and said the incident resulted in the misdemeanor charge filed in Quay County Magistrate Court.

Bidegain could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

Rachel Shockley, a New Mexico Department of Game and Fish spokesperson, said details about the incident could not be released due to an ongoing investigation.

Bidegain’s resignation letter said he believed it is in the best interest of the commission and the department that he steps down, according to a news release from the game and fish department.

“I am honored to have served on the commission and as its chair,” Bidegain wrote. “I think you should be proud to know that throughout this incident, the officers at the department acted honorably and professionally.”

The game commission elected Bidegain as its chairman in March.  He succeeded Jim McClintic, who died last year.

Bidegain works at T4 Cattle Company, a family-owned and operated cattle ranch. He also serves on the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association board of directors.

Bidegain was one of seven members of the game commission and represented the commission’s District 4, which includes Quay, Santa Fe, Taos, Colfax, Union, Mora, Harding, San Miguel, Guadalupe and Torrance counties.

Members are appointed by the governor and subject to confirmation by the New Mexico State Senate.

Sen. Pat Woods, R-Broadview, sponsored Bidegain’s appointment, which was unanimously confirmed in March by the state Senate.

Sen. Woods could not immediately be reached for comment.

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