For immediate release
Date: October 26, 2021
Logan Christian, Conservation Advocate, Mountain Lion Foundation
916-442-2666 ext. 108
New Mexico Department of Game and Fish votes to amend the Furbearer rule prohibiting all “sports harvest” trapping on New Mexico public land.
Las Cruces, NM – On Friday, October 22, 2021, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) Commission approved changes to the Furbearer rule (19.32.2 NMAC) with a 5-0 vote. These changes conform to statutory requirements set forth in New Mexico Senate Bill 32, the Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act. The Act, better known as Roxy’s Law, was passed in March 2021 and prohibits all trapping on New Mexico’s public lands.
Overall, the rule change conformed to the Act’s statutory requirements. However, the Mountain Lion Foundation (MLF) and other members of the coalition Trap Free New Mexico signed and delivered a comment letter authored by Chris Smith of WildEarth Guradians outlining certain concerns coalition members have related to future enforcement of the rule. The letter clarified that existing closures will not be opened to any sport harvest trapping and that depredation trapping shall only be carried out as specified under exemptions in the Act. The letter also acknowledged that NMDGF will work with New Mexico Indian Affairs Department to ensure that exemptions for religious or ceremonial trapping will be carried out in a lawful and respectful way consistent with federal procedures for recognizing tribes, nations, and pueblos.
Logan Christian, Conservation Advocate for Mountain Lion Foundation in New Mexico, delivered a verbal comment at Friday’s Commission meeting affirming MLF’s support for the proposed changes. In line with the comment letter, MLF also urged the NMDGF to ensure that any future publications or communications make clear that the exemptions in the Act do not open any public land to “sport harvest” trapping.
MLF will closely monitor the new Furbearer rule as implementation and enforcement begins. New Mexico is setting an example for other states, and MLF and other Trap Free New Mexico coalition members hope that this is the first of many states to ban trapping on public land for the benefit of both public safety and wildlife.