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:
- 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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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?