Blog Archives

Raw Elk Draw Numbers

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Over the last few weeks people have been wanting to have the raw numbers that were used to calculate that 49.6 went to the E-plus program.  Here are the numbers that the NMWF got from the Department of Game and Fish


Elk tag IPRA results

EPLUS IPRA (April 2015)




Category: General

Comments Off on State of Trout in NM – Trout Unlimited

I have attached the Southwest Section of the “State of Trout” report that was created by Trout Unlimited.  Overall, it is pretty rough fish for native species.  Non-natives are doing pretty well.

Click on the PDF below to see the SW Report


Category: General

Comments Off on Taos Game and Fish Commission Meeting – My Feedback

Let me first say if you are a trapper or have a strong opinion about wolves being in New Mexico YOU NEED TO ATTEND and give your opinion at the Game and Fish Commission Meetings.  Anti-Trappers and Pro-Wolf people are VERY ORGANIZED and are INVOLVED.   If we sit back we will BE RUN THE HELL OVER!

During the comment period for Bear and Lion Management it was said and I agree, “If we took a vote right now to abolish trapping it would be a landslide”.  From the looks of it there were 2 trappers(including myself) and 25 anti-trappers.

Other issues in no particular order:

  1. Valles Caldera  – There will be hunting, fishing and trapping in 2015 and the Game and Fish has 3 years to come up with a  long-term plan.  One thing that was encouraging is that there was discussion about increasing the numbers of species that could be hunted. I suspect deer or grouse?  One thing that I would like to get a feeling for is if sportsmen want Rio Grande Cutts in the creeks.  This might mean removing the browns.
  2. Bear and Lion – Over all there will be an increase of about 20% for bears and the department is also trying to find ways of hitting the harvest goals for mountain lions.  That includes trapping.  The opposition to any increased  bear quotas and the use of snares and lion trapping was VERY STRONG.  There was also discussion of having a split season for bears.  I commented on the rules and I had three points; the Department should be sending emails to sportsmen when a bear region closes and it should also send one when it reopens, The Department should have a split season, the graph that was presented basically shows that most bears are taken during the first 2 days of the season and when the archery hunts starts.  I suggested that if they were going to have split season then need to push it into the rifle hunts so rifle hunters can hunt bears before the regions closed.  Lastly, I suggested that if they wanted to hit to harvest goals they should decrease the cost of the lion tags(this would need to be changed by legislation)
  3. Conservation Plan- I  commented that Trout Unlimited is working on an aggressive Gila and Rio Grande Cutthroat plan and that we would like to be involved.  I also thanked them for start the reintroduction of Rio Grande’s in the Lincoln.
  4. Shooting Ranges – The Department has a number of projects to get new shooting ranges all across the state.. Good Stuff..

The only other issue that I think was of major concern was the E-plus program.   As you probably know the New Mexico Wildlife Federation recently asked for the % of LO vs. Public Draw tags.  Well, 50% of the elk tags get skimmed right off the top and are given to LO.  This isn’t good.  The Federation has also been asking for a Commission to take a look at the program but that have not been given a response.  IMO, we at least deserve a response.

To make a long story short Garrett V. from the Federation was able to get the Commissioner  Kienzle ON RECORD saying that they would “discuss”  E-plus with Director Sandoval.  This is good first step and it is basically what we had to do with the quota issue.  This is a small victory.  I also had a sidebar discussion with Commissioner Ramos and he mentioned that “it was on the agenda.”.  I am not exactly sure what that means but they at least know that sportsmen are fed-up.

I think everyone agrees that the E-plus system is broken and it needs to be revised.  We need to make sure that we support the Federation on this one.



How about a picture of a Gila Trout?



Category: General

Clean Water Act! – Video

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Support the Clean Water Act…


Category: General

OMDP – Anniversary

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This is dated but it is good stuff….


As we reflect on the one year anniversary of the designation of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument – an effort supported by sportsmen, community leaders, faith groups, veteran organizations, businesses and many others – our community is fortunate to now have one of the largest national monuments in the country right at our back door.

Since the designation on May 21, 2014, sportsmen have continued to hunt, camp, hike and recreate in the monument just as before the designation.

As a thank you for everyone who supported our monument, the New Mexico Wildlife Federation and our valuable partners in Las Cruces – some of whom have been advocating to protect these areas for 20 years – sportsmen hosted a public celebration May 16th at the Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park. Volunteers fed an estimated crowd of 425 with delicious New Mexico game meat, from elk fajitas to oryx tacos along with deer, ibex, wild turkey and Barbary sheep. Our supporters from High Desert Brewery provided beer and the fabulous local band Gold Hearted Crows kept us entertained all night.

The monument never would have happened without the efforts of hundreds, and we can’t name them all, but special recognition goes to President Obama, Senator Tom Udall and Senator Martin Heinrich. We were honored to have Sen. Heinrich as our special guest, who said he was very pleased to see how the whole community was embracing the new monument.

There are many reasons why protected public lands are important to sportsmen and local communities. Obviously, protection from development and managed encroachment from humans is critical to wildlife habitat, which leads to more and improved hunting opportunities and ensures that future generations will have the same opportunities that we now cherish.

Protected public lands make sense economically, also. New Mexico sportsmen hunt and fish primarily on public lands. Hunting and angling in New Mexico are a $613 million industry, contributing to almost 8,000 jobs, $55 million in federal taxes and $51 million in state taxes, according to a recent study commissioned by the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish.

The same study also broke it down by counties. Dona Ana County hunters and anglers contribute greatly to the state figures – supporting nearly $41 million in economic activity in 2013.

Dona Ana County sportsmen and women spend a lot of money hunting and fishing all over and sportsmen from all over spend a lot of money in Dona Ana County. Because of the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, the money spent locally should grow.

Protected public lands are our history and heritage, and say a lot about where we are heading in our future. After just one year, we are already experiencing the value of having a national monument in our back yard. In 100 years, future generations will look back at our efforts and thank us kindly for our efforts and foresight.

John Cornell

President, Doña Ana County Associated Sportsmen


John Cornell
Sportsman Coordinator
New Mexico Wildlife Federation
100 Juh Trail, Hillsboro, NM  88042
575-740-1759 Cell

Category: General

Rio Grande Cutts in the Lincoln?

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P1060710 As a child living along the dry and arid banks of the Rio Grande in Las Cruces, NM our family vacations usually meant heading to the hills of San Patricio and Ruidoso for a little camping and fishing.  We would camp on my great great tia’s homestead along the Rio Ruidoso catching brown trout on worms.  When I got older I found that there were plenty of brook trout that hid in the creek at Three Rivers Campground and while I was in college at Tech we used to fish Bonito Lake for stocker rainbows.  During those adventures it never occurred to me that I was fishing for trout that had been planted.  I wasn’t fishing for native and in many cases for wild fish.  They were just something on the other end of the line that usually ended being eaten.

Recently Trout Unlimited has just completed a new strategic plan to start pushing the reintroduction of wild and native trout back into traditional watersheds.  Below is a quick video.

I do want to stress that it isn’t about reintroducing native fish and then not allowing people to fish for them. It is about growing the fishing opportunities for a unique species.

As many of you know I have a special interest in the trout of southern NM. In the Gila we have our Gila Trout but I wasn’t sure what or even if there was a native trout fish in the Lincoln National Forest.    After chasing a few leads, I was able to find out that the native trout in the Lincoln NF is the Rio Grande Cutthroat(RGT).

So now we had a fish but are there any fish left?  I have heard rumors that the Mescalero Apaches had been playing with them but I couldn’t confirm. So I contacted Jeff Arterbern of the Gila Rio Grade Chapter of TU, he said that I was in luck, well kind of.  He said that Larry Cordova a Biologist for the Lincoln National forest had told him that there is a considerable effort to introduce native RGT’s back into their traditional watersheds.  Larry mentioned that the Little Bear Fire of 2012 had killed many of the streams in the Lincoln and that they were trying to use it as a reset, for my little fish.  In other words, the ash flows and floods had removed  many of the non-natives and that we have been given and opportunity to reintroduce RGT’s.

Like any investment the first step is to reduce any potential risks.  Larry invited Jeff and me on a “Fish Barrier Assessment” that was going to be conducted with the Dept. of Game and Fish and a “Contractor”.

Below is a picture of one campgrounds that was lost:


What does a fish barrier do? It isn’t magic it is basically a structure that is placed in the stream that allows fish to move downstream but doesn’t all fish to run upstream.  The idea is that you protect the fish above the barrier from the non-natives below.  In this case we wanted to keep the brookies, browns and rainbows below the barrier.  As a point of context; brookies tend to multiply in high numbers and overrun the habitat, browns will eat the RGT’s and rainbows will breed with the RGT’s and weaken the genetic purity of the RGT’s.

Here is the team looking at a potential spot:

There needs to be fish in this water:


So what does the future hold?  I have no doubt that we will be fishing for RGT’s in the Lincoln in the future.  When, I am not real sure but I do know that the Little Bear Fire has provided us a unique opportunity that we need to and will take advantage of.

Here is a cool picture of the team minus Larry…


Tight Lines.





Category: General

Photariums? Thoughts

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Still trying to wrap my head around this one.  There have been times when I have been a FISH KILLIN’, FISH FRYIN’, CATCH and RE-GREASE machine.  No fish was safe.  It was my personal mission to take my limit every time I was on the water.












Then I had that “Ah-Ha” moment.  My mom said, “Mijo, it would be a lot cheaper to go to Albertsons and buy fish if that what it is all about”.  Hmm…. Ok, Mom… Point Made.

I also believe that fishermen go thru stages; I want to catch a fish, I want to catch a few fish, I want to catch all the fish and then I just want to go fishing.   BUT that is a different story.

Anyway… I have always had the utmost respect for fish and have always treated them as “nicely” as I could.  I am sure if they could talk they would probably say something different, As I just jabbed a hook thru their mouth.

BUT there is a point where a fish is a fish…  What do you think of the Photarium?









Basically, the idea is that you get your hero shot and the fish stays wet.  Have we “Jumped the shark?”

I can see using this if you are cruising a river on a float trip, but I AM NOT packing one of these bad boys into the Wilderness.  :)

Here is a link if you are interested in finding out more info…

Btw- if they want to send me one for free, I will send some sweet pics of Gila Trout in one… heheheh

Tight Lines


Category: General

New Career Path – All In

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My resignation letter…  Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams


All ( I am sure I missed a few people so fwd if you want)

10 years ago when I first walked thru the doors in Long Island I had no idea what was in store for me.  I was a kid with dreams of trying to “make it in private industry”, and trying to make my mark in the world.  Ultimately, I was wanting to make a difference, not only for our clients but for my future.  I have had some amazing adventures, developed some great friendships and I will always be grateful for all the opportunities CSM/NTST has afforded me.    May 15th, 2015 will be my last day at NTST.

  • Harriett Carmine – (Harriet Tubman of the NTST Underground Network)  – What can I say?  When my mom and dad passed away you were the first one to reach out and see if I needed anything.  Your compassion and your ability to truly understand what is important will never be forgotten.  Just so you know every July 17th I say a  prayer for Neal and for your family.
  • John Blanchett – You have shown me that no matter what life gives us we need to keep moving forward.   We need to stay positive.  You never asked us to do something that you wouldn’t do.  You have been a true leader, mentor and friend.

Ok… Enough of that stuff… So what am I going to be doing?  I will be the New Mexico Sportsman Conservation Coordinator for Trout Unlimited. . I joke that I will be fly fishing for a living but that is only partially true.  I will be working on habitat/conservation issues in New Mexico.  The pay is going to be rough but I need to follow my passions.  I need to pursue what makes me and my family happy and healthy.



During the interview, I was asked why I wanted to work for TU.  I got a little choked up and I told them that I wanted my kids to point to the mountains and the streams and say “my dad fights for that”, I don’t’ want them to say my dad works for  “some company in KC”.  I want them to understand that their dad took a risk and  left a good job for the opportunity of  GREAT JOB.  I am sure that there will be struggles and battles but if I am going to fight I should fight for something that I believe in.  So next time when you are flying over my beloved State of New Mexico, look down, smile and say, “I know a guy that FIGHTS for all those amazing mountains and streams”.

Here is a quick little video that really made me think… I know it is about fly fishing but I think the underlying message is true.  If nothing else there is some great cinematography,  I hope the link works.

If you ever need help or just want to chat you can contact me at

As you know I have a hard time saying goodbye and I usually say something like, “Please take care of yourself”, so I will let my little Zoe give everyone a wave goodbye.












Jason, Candace and the Kids…

Category: General

Comments Off on Thinking about becoming “That Guy”

Stay Tuned…


Category: General

Trapping Ban – HB426

Comments Off on Trapping Ban – HB426

Well…The Trapping Ban Bill was just scheduled…  Here it is and it is ugly…





Category: General