Biologists with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish have undertaken population studies and other research to support their recommendations in the proposed Bear and Cougar Rule. It generally calls for a continuation of the hunting and management program as it has existed in recent years.
For nearly a century, hunters, anglers, trappers and recreational shooters have continued to stabilize conservation funding across the United States. Over 90 percent of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish budget comes directly from sportsmen - New Mexico's hunters, anglers, trappers, and recreational shooters. Together, they contribute over $45 million per year toward conservation projects that benefit game and nongame species alike. Responsible and scientific predator management programs are honored traditions, and critical to the game department's funding mechanisms.
From that perspective, it's alarming that we see a concerted effort by organizations to deluge the game commission with comments opposing the pending Bear and Cougar Rule. Predictably, anti-hunting groups have seized the opportunity to create controversy over predator management as a whole. They generally don't point to any scientific basis for their opposition, they simply don't like hunting. It's time to call on the commissioners to reject this perspective in favor of continuing to follow the recommendations of game department biologists.
Many anticipate that the anti-hunting groups are gearing up to mount an attack in the 2025 New Mexico State Legislature on the practice of hunting with hounds. This would follow their success in the 2021 General Session in outlawing trapping on public lands. Given the track record of anti-hunting organizations elsewhere in the country and worldwide, many fully expect that the effort to chip away at New Mexico's hunting traditions and at the principle of scientific game management won't stop with outlawing trapping or hunting with hounds. There's no appeasing these groups and they won't quit; they must be defeated or they will continue to try to eliminate New Mexico's responsible hunting programs.
Thank you in advance for standing up for scientific management of game and for stewardship of our state's proud hunting traditions.
Below are the subjects we are focusing on in email/comment form. Content provided by NM Wildlife Federation
Subject: Support our NMDG&F Biologists
The North American Model and the Public Trust Doctrine define fish and wildlife resources as the property of the people, to be managed by state and federal wildlife agencies entrusted with their stewardship. This model is the foundation of science-based fish and wildlife management, and we support legal bear and cougar hunting as an appropriate management tool. As caretakers of this trust, we believe you will advance sound stewardship policies that are guided by science over politics, emotion and conjecture.
The proposed changes to the bear and cougar rule represent modest adjustments to the current rule which has been proven to maintain healthy and abundant populations of both species over time.
We respectfully request that the State Game Commission prioritize the opinions of our dedicated department biologists and the recommendations developed from their science-based data such as non-invasive scat or hair sampling, remote/trail cameras, GPS collars, and other traditional measures.
Subject: Protect Hunting With Hounds
I know that you have received several emails requesting that you abolish the use of hounds and Bear / Cougar hunting in general. Considering our state has lost public land trapping, getting rid of hound hunting is a terrible idea. The state's predator population is already a problem and was even before the trapping ban. The use of hound hunting is essential to many ranchers to reduce the predator populations and instill a healthy fear of humans. Every state, without exception, that has banned hounds has suffered the consequences. California is the perfect example. One of the biggest lessons learned with the trapping ban is that compromising with anti groups does nothing but give them momentum. When the game department tried to bring trappers and anti groups together, trappers tried to find common ground to no avail. I beg you, please do not compromise.
Subject: Support the Bear and Cougar Proposal
I commend the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish biologists for their work on the bear and cougar rule. I support their proposed changes. The proposed changes in many instances reflect the success of game department management practices and resulting increased populations.
Thank you again for the opportunity to comment on this rule. I appreciate this commission's commitment to securing the future of hunting and conservation in our state.
Subject: Hunt for Food
I support the NMDG&F bear and cougar rule change proposal. The game commission should take some important steps to protect our state’s hunting heritage from criticism from non-hunters. During the last legislative session a bill failed to pass that would have required hunters to remove the edible portions of bear, cougar and javelina from the field. Enacting such a requirement would do much to head off anti-hunting sentiment.
The game commission needs to do what it can to enact and support prohibitions on the waste of game including bear and cougar and other game species. Hunting bears and cougars is a longstanding tradition for many New Mexicans and people who travel to New Mexico from across the country. In addition to providing conservation funding, economic benefits from outdoor recreation, being a critical population management tool and bringing families together in the outdoors, the harvest of a bear or cougar provides countless nutritional meals for the lucky hunter and all those he/she shares the bounty with.
Subject: Predator Hunting is Law
New Mexico state law that spells out the state’s bedrock policy of wildlife management. The law calls for providing “an adequate and flexible system for the protection of the game and fish of New Mexico and for their use and development for public recreation and food supply, and to provide for their propagation, planting, protection, regulation and conservation to the extent necessary to provide and maintain an adequate supply of game and fish within the state of New Mexico.” It is not only necessary and appropriate for NMDG&F to use scientific based management strategies including hunting to manage predator populations, but it is also the law.
Subject: Hunters Fund Bear and Cougar Management
Wildlife management is not a popularity contest. The charge to manage our game populations to provide public recreation and food supply is essential to the commission’s responsibilities.
Hunters have supported game management in our state for generations. The license fees and excise taxes they’ve willingly paid over the decades are responsible for the flourishing game populations that anti-hunters now would seek to protect from the very hunters who have nurtured them.
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