Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is investigating a bear killed with arrows last month near Taos.
“A bear was shot with arrows in that area (Des Montes, north of Taos) on Oct. 29,” said James Pitman, Game and Fish assistant chief of information, in a phone interview Monday.
The violation is that “shooting an animal on the edge of a road is illegal,” Pitman said.
It’s illegal to “shoot at game on, from or across any paved, graded or maintained public road or within the fenced right-of-way of any paved, graded or maintained public road,” the agency’s website states.
Bear hunting was in season on that date, but ended Monday, Pitman said.
The agency has identified a suspect, he said, but a case report has not yet been filed. Pitman had no information on the bear’s gender or size.
Under Game and Fish rules, the “bag limit” for bears is one bear, and no cub under a year old or females accompanied by cubs may be taken, according to the agency’s website.
A 2001 Black Bear Study conducted by Hornocker Wildlife Institute for Game and Fish in two study areas, one in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Cimarron, found that, “among adult and sub-adult bears, most mortality was human caused. In addition to hunting, illegal kills and depredation kills were significant sources of mortality for these bears,” the study found. “Illegal kills were documented on both study areas, and many of the unexplained losses were probably due to illegal kills followed by destruction of the (radio tracking) transmitters,” the study stated.
There are an estimated 6,000 black bears in New Mexico, with adult males weighing up to 400 pounds and females up to 180 pounds.
“The name black bear can be misleading. New Mexico’s black bears actually come in a variety of colors, ranging from black and brown to cinnamon (the most common color), reddish and blonde,” according to the Game and Fish website.
“In New Mexico, bears have been documented to live 20-25 years. In most of their range where they are hunted. the average life span is 7-8 years,” the website states.