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Letters to the editor

IN DEFENSE OF WILDLIFE

Stop barbaric hunting of wildlife

OVER THE LAST four years approximately 2,800 bears have been killed by hunters, and now N.M. Game and Fish may be considering a spring bear hunt. How barbaric and inhumane it is to hunt bears when defenseless bear cubs are just trying to survive. In the past I have mailed a letter to Gov. Susana Martinez asking her to step in and put an end to this barbaric practice but her reply was that she was turning this matter over to N.M. Game and Fish and letting them handle the situation. This is just letting the fox be in charge of the hen house.

It is time for Susana Martinez to put an end to the barbaric killing of bears and the proposed trapping of cougars. The majority of New Mexicans are opposed to the barbaric killing of wildlife. Why should the minority overrule the majority?

MAUREEN A. DECOSTA

Edgewood

Game Dept. or a hunting club?

I ATTENDED MY first-ever public meeting at the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish about the plan to expand hunting of bears and trapping of cougars. It was eye opening to say the least and heartbreaking if you care about wildlife.

My impression … after listening to their presentation was the NMDGF is a state government entity set up to promote and expand the hunting of these animals. It felt as if I was attending a hunting club meeting and the NMDGF were the sponsors. The sheer number of bears and cougars that are allowed to be killed is astounding – for cougars it’s over 700 yearly!

I came into this meeting very naive and had no idea that these animals where even hunted for sport and assumed they where only killed when a threat to people and/or livestock. I was unaware that (game hunting) is a big money business and the NMDGF seems to be highly invested in it.

It was also extremely disturbing to find out all the many ways the animals are hunted: by bow and arrow, chased down by dogs, and now the NMDGF is talking about introducing traps for yet another species. Traps are already allowed on public land for smaller animals like bobcats and foxes. How can such a small percentage of New Mexicans, i.e. the hunters and ranchers, be the decision-makers about the life and death of these animals?

Going into this meeting I guess I expected a government entity such as NMDGF to have a more balance approach to wildlife management and not be so heavily influenced by a small interest group.

PATTY JAMES-JARAMILLO

Albuquerque

Animals important to ecosystem

IN RESPONSE to Jan Hayes’ op-ed in the May 17 Sunday Journal, I just want to remind our governor and our state game agencies that there are many more non-consumptive users of our public lands than there are hunters and ranchers. The highest percentage of people using our lands are outdoor enthusiasts who shoot with cameras, not with guns. They are not looking for trophies or fur to sell to a withering market. They are looking for an opportunity to observe our wildlife in their native habitat and either record the images in their retinas and brain or a camera.

This ill-conceived idea that we need to be “harvesting” more of our wildlife is coming from the same small but vocal minority that hunts for fun or claims predators are the main cause of livestock loss. Our ranchers need to be examining the many non-lethal methods of predator control that are being used successfully in California – and not at the taxpayers’ expense. Between Wildlife Services’ aerial gunning and poisoning programs, coyote killing contests, bounties on coyotes and indiscriminate trapping, there are about 500,000 coyotes killed per year – that’s about one per minute.

Trapping is already a problem on our N.M. public lands in terms of the number of non-target animals caught each year. Now to propose trapping of cougars is indefensible. Born in Magdalena and raised in Datil, I have been around wildlife my entire life. I understand and respect them – I do not fear them. They have an important place in this ecosystem, but I can’t say the same for those who wish to destroy more of the animals that belong to all of us, not just a small minority who happen to have the governor’s ear.

JUDY PAULSEN

Corrales

Game Dept. stocked with insiders

I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY with the editorial of May 5 that proposed changes to the bear and cougar rule should not be allowed. The new rule would allow spring hunts of bears when they are weak from their winter’s fast and trapping of cougars virtually year-round. These rules are cruel (and) absurd, and there is no credible science that such draconian killing is needed.

I listened to and gave testimony in March on a terrible bill that would have declared open season on cougars in N.M. and removed all protections from the species. I realize the bill was tabled so instead of going through a public process that might have meant some accountability, its proponents favored this method of NMGF rewriting the bear and cougar rules to the specifications of hunters and the livestock industry. The proponents know the Game Commission is 100 percent stacked with ranchers and hunters, and even the so-called conservation member is a junior lawyer from Roswell with no apparent background in wildlife management.

When are real science and wildlife conservation goals going to enter into the equation? Now would be time to start.

EVALYN BEMIS

Santa Fe

‘Management’ of bears is tragic

I HAVE FOLLOWED the saga of the beleaguered Sandia bears for years, and the reckless so called “management” of them. We were told by NM Game and Fish there were 50-73 bears, and then they killed 130-140 bears in three years 2011-2013. NMG&F had assured the public there was plenty of forage, which was not true, and the proof was the number of bears going down into Albuquerque because they were starving. There was also a drought.

Now NMF&G is saying there are 28 bears left. I question the accuracy of those population statistics because of their unscientific counting methods and assumptions. To vastly increase the numbers of bear kills in the next five years will be a devastating blow to their survival.

This is not sustenance hunting. It is trophy hunting or killing for fun. There is no real wildlife management and stewardship in New Mexico.

Gov. Susana Martinez is completely indifferent to wildlife across the board, as her callous track record proves. We may as well call this The Killing Fields of New Mexico, not the Land of Enchantment.

KAREN BORCH

Albuquerque

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