Photo of lion on rocky ledge caught in snare trap. Text: Please tell New Mexico Game and Fish to vote No on lion trapping.


The New Mexico Game and Fish Department (NMGFD) opened it's cougar hunting regulations for amendments. This only happens once ever four years. On August 27, 2015 the NMGFD Commission adopted a proposal to allow the use of snares and traps to kill lions, as well as making it easier for deer and elk hunters to kill any lions they randomly come across. Trapping is a cruel and indiscriminate practice that injures and kills millions of wildlife and pets annually. The Commission ignored the voice of the public and the science. We lost this round but the fight is far from over.

OUTCOME: We Lost, and Apparenlty Never Even Had a Chance!

Over the jeering protest of several hundred wildlife activists, the New Mexico Game and Fish Commission unanimously approved their state game agency's recommendation to allow the trapping of mountain lions on private and state trust lands.

Observers of this blatant betrayal of the public trust knew from the start that this particular outcome was a forgone conclusion and that the "game" was rigged in favor of trophy hunters and a few moneyed interests.

Photo of commission meeting crowd.
A capacity crowd attends the State Game Commission meeting Thursday at the Santa Fe Community College to comment on bear and cougar kill limits.
Clyde Mueller/The New Mexican

The first sign that the fix was in came when Paul M. Kienzle III, the Commission's Chair tried to reduce the number of opponents by claiming that the crowd of concerned citizens exceeded the meeting room's capacity and refused entry to a large portion of the attending animal protection activists. Loud objections from those already in the room forced Kienzle to reverse his decision and allow the rest of the standing-room-only crowd to enter.

Then, just prior to the public comment period, one of the commissioners called for a vote on the issue. Once again protest from the crowd caused the commission to reverse itself.

However, despite the commission's desire to give the appearance that they were willing to listen to the public, they were unwilling to spend a lot of time doing so. Consequently, in the name of "fairness," the commission limited the time allowed for public comment to one-hour and split that time period evenly between opposing sides. Thus the 300 wildlife activists were restricted to the same 30 minutes of testimony that the 15 or so hunters and ranchers received.

In the end, the commissioners did what they apparently planned to do all along and voted to accept the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish's recommendations without changes to the rules.

Mountain lions can now be trapped without a permit anywhere in New Mexico except on federally owned lands.


MLF is forming a coalition to protect mountain lions in New Mexico. If you'd like participate and be contacted about volunteer opportunities, please sign up here, and be sure to check the box that says "Contact me about volunteer opportunities."

Wick Beavers, one of our supporters and a New Mexico resident, has started a petition to convince Governor Susana Martinez to ban the snaring and trapping of cougars on public lands. To get involved, you can click here to view and sign the petition.

Together, we can save the American lion!


The Game Commission has begun studying the trapping plan and other proposed changes to cougar and bear hunting rules. The Department is considering adopting a proposal to allow the use of snares and traps to kill lions, as well as making it easier for deer and elk hunters to kill any lions they randomly come across. They will make a final decision at their meeting on August 27.

Please take a moment to send a letter urging the state to vote against the trapping proposal.

Photo of lion kitten caught in leg-hold trap.
As part of a previous investigation into trapping, Born Free USA uncovered numerous cases of collateral damage. Pictured here, a nontargeted mountain lion cub is caught in a leghold trap.

Comments can be emailed to Darrel Weybright at:

Here's What to Say

In your email, please point out:

  • Trapping is cruel and barbaric. The American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, the World Veterinary Association, and the National Animal Control Association have declared that leghold traps are inhumane.
  • Traps don't care who they kill. Millions of "non-target" animals are also trapped, including companion animals and endangered or threatened species.
  • Animals frequently sustain severe injuries from being trapped. If not killed outright by the trap, animals can suffer physical trauma, dehydration, exposure to inclement weather, and predation by other animals.
  • Trapping should be banned statewide for anything other than rehabilitation or research.
  • Please Vote NO on the Cougar Rule Change!

Please also send MLF a copy of your letter and cc emails to Thank you!

Able to Attend in Person?

Submitting a hand-written letter in person or speaking to the Game Agency face-to-face is much, much more effective than sending an email. So if you are able to attend the final meeting, please do so.

WHEN: Thursday, August 27 beginning at 9:00 a.m.

WHERE: Santa Fe Community College, 6401 Richards Ave, Jemez Room

Pass It On

Please share this action alert with your friends and family through email and social media. Forward this page to your New Mexico friends and consider sharing it on Facebook.

Thank you so very much for taking the time to help protect New Mexico's mountain lions!

About the Mountain Lion Foundation

The Mountain Lion Foundation, founded in 1986, is a national nonprofit organization protecting mountain lions and their habitat. The mountain lion is also known as cougar, puma, panther, and catamount.

We believe that mountain lions are in peril. Our nation is on the verge of destroying this apex species upon which whole ecosystems depend. Hunting mountain lions is morally unjustified, and killing lions to prevent conflicts is ineffective and dangerous. There is a critical need to know more about the biology, behavior, and ecology of mountain lions, and governments should base decisions upon truthful science, valid data, and the highest common good. Conserving critical lion habitat is essential.

Together, we can save America's lion.

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