Many of us New Mexicans are – or know – people who “fair chase” hunt on our public lands. Our state Department of Game & Fish (DGF) rules give over 80,000 licensed hunters seasonal opportunities to shoot wildlife game by arrow or gun. Some hunt for food, some for a trophy, many to maintain a family tradition.
Soon, our state game commission, which oversees DGF, will vote on a very different set of public land hunting rules – the trapping of “fur bearers.” Existing DGF trapping rules are plagued with environmental, economic and ethical problems. Their victims: native wildlife, taxpayers, and the domesticated animals and humans that use public lands.
It’s time for change.
New Mexico has only a few thousand licensed trappers – 2,037 in the 2017-18 season. Their traps “harvested” over 5,100 “protected furbearers”; 85% were foxes and bobcats.