New Mexico path through Tent Rocks.
Photo of a hunter, tourist, and conservative holding up signs saying they support a trap free New Mexico.


New Mexico still allows trapping on much of its public lands.

While trophy hunting threatens the future of lions in New Mexico, the recent authorization of trapping has exacerbated wildlife mortality and set the state back decades in terms of management attitudes. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Commission voted unanimously to allow the use of steel-jawed leghold traps and snares throughout the state, including in Mexican wolf and jaguar habitat. Cougar trapping in these areas presents a mortal and unlawful threat to these endangered animals because due to their similarity in size, prey and habitat preference they will inevitably be caught in traps set for cougars. As of February 2016, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimated that only 97 Mexican wolves remained in the wild in the US.

  • Return to the portal page for New Mexico.

  • The status of Puma concolor in New Mexico.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in New Mexico.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in New Mexico.

  • Cougar science and research in New Mexico.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!


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Speak up for New Mexico's cougars!

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) is seeking public comment on proposed revisions to the Bear and Cougar Rule. This rule dictates how bears and cougars can be killed in New Mexico and seeks to eliminate the use of "traps and snares as a method of sport harvest for cougar on private and State Trust lands."

The last day to officially submit public comment is the day before the State Game Commission meeting on November 21 where they will give their final decision. However, it is best to submit your comments prior to NMDGF making their final recommendations. Doing so will allow them to incorporate your comment into their decision making process as they make their final recommendations. In order to allow NMDGF to include your feedback, it is best to submit your comment for this rule before September 18th.

Here's what you can do:

Attend the public meeting:

New Mexico State Game Commission will meet on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 9:00 AM MDT where they will make a final determination on the rule.

Meeting address: NMDGF Office, 1615 W College Blvd, Roswell, NM 88201

Submit your comments:

By mail: New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Attn: Bear and Cougar Rule Development, P.O. Box 25112, Santa Fe, NM 87504

By email:

Click here to read our comment letter!

Talking points:

At the meetings or in your letter, urge NMDGF to:

  • Eliminate ALL recreational cougar trapping - Reverse the Game Commission's 2015 decision to allow the use of traps and snares as a method of cougar "sport harvesting" on both private and state trust lands.
  • Reduce annual cougar kill limits - The latest data and scientific literature show that NMDGF has dangerously overestimated the number of cougars in the state and applied inflated percentages of allowable kills.
  • Undo the double bag limits for cougars - Reverse the Game Commission's 2015 decision to allow cougar hunters who kill their bag limit of two cougars to then kill up to two more in cougar management zones where current unjustifiably high kill limits are not met. This move has not yielded the results NMDGF sought, and a double bag limit violates the precautionary principles that should guide careful cougar management.

Visit Animal Protection of New Mexico's website to see the original alert.

Graph of human-caused lion mortality in NM.

ON AIR: Phil Carter - One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

03/19/13 An Audio Interview with Julie West, MLF Broadcaster

In this edition of our audio podcast ON AIR, MLF Volunteer Julie West interviews mountain lion program manager Phil Carter of Animal Protection of New Mexico. Carter discusses the often ridiculous lengths the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish will go to to disregard the public, bury scientific research, and ignore all common sense. Trying to protect mountain lions in New Mexico and incorporate the best science into management has turned into a game of one step forward, two steps back.

Click here to view our Activist Guide...

Becoming a Mountain Lion Activist

There are lots of opportunities to take action!

Are you new to mountain lion activism? You want to change your local environment to improve it for cougars... but you don't know how to start. You may feel like you are all alone... but it takes just one person to change the attitudes and lifestyles of hundreds of others. You don't need to belong to a group. It doesn't take special skills or superhuman abilities. You just need to care enough about cougars to want to help them survive. You've already done the hard part, now let us help you with the next step.

Click here to open a new window and visit the agency's website...

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

Commonly abbreviated as: NMDGF

Michael Sloane, Director

Main Office:
1 Wildlife Way
Santa Fe, NM 87507
(505) 476-8000

Bear and Cougar Biologist
Rick Winslow
PO Box 25112
Santa Fe, NM 87504
(505) 476-8046

Please write to the director and express your concern for lions in New Mexico.

Thank NMDGF when they take steps to protect our state's cougars. When they fall short of expectations, politely ask for policy reform and more officer training.