NM Game Commission honors David Soules - Albuquerque Journal

NM Game Commission honors David Soules

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

The New Mexico Game Commission on Friday honored David Soules, the commissioner and Las Cruces outdoorsman and conservationist who died suddenly in March at age 63.

Soules was instrumental in the creation of Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument in 2014, including protections for many cultural sites that he mapped himself.

A former engineer at White Sands Missile Range and amateur anthropologist, Soules enjoyed backpacking, swimming, canoeing and hunting. Game and Fish Director Michael Sloane said Soules’ “passion for wildlife and wild spaces was clear.”

“He was at once playful and inquisitive, always setting you at ease, but asking important questions, and always willing to share,” Sloane said.

New Mexico Game and Fish officers present a flag to the family of the late Game Commissioner David Soules. (Courtesy of NM Department of game and fish)

Xochitl Torres Small, a friend of Soules and a former U.S. representative, said she will miss spending time exploring new places with the outdoorsman.

“David taught me the joy of discovery, knowing that it was so much more often a process rather than a destination,” Torres Small said.

Soules served on the New Mexico Wild board for 11 years. NM Wild Director Mark Allison said Soules was an “evangelist for the land.”

The New Mexico State and Colorado State alum was also a member of the Las Cruces chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Mule Deer Foundation, Doña Ana County Associated Sportsmen, New Mexico Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Ducks Unlimited.

John Cornell, a state representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, said the outdoorsman was a “compassionate, intelligent friend.”

“He knew every square foot of southwest New Mexico, and he was the best damn spotter I ever hunted with,” Cornell said.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham appointed Soules to the state Game Commission in 2019. He helped negotiate an easement with the State Land Office for hunting and fishing access on state trust lands.

“David Soules was a devout conservationist, an engaging storyteller, beloved husband and father and grandfather,” Lujan Grisham said.

The governor has not yet appointed a commissioner to fill the vacant seat.

Theresa Davis is a Report for America corps member covering water and the environment for the Albuquerque Journal.

 


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