New Mexico Debates Trapping Restrictions, Ban

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The New Mexico State Game Commission will meet on Sept. 18, at 9 a.m. to hear feedback and debate restrictions on trapping, including a ban on cougar trapping. The meeting will be held at the Lodge Resort, Pavilion Room, 601 Corona Place, Cloudcroft, New Mexico 88317.


Take Action Today! New Mexico members should attend the meeting, provide testimony and send in written comments to the New Mexico State Game Commission. Members can contact the commissioners by phone at (505) 476-8027.


Cougar Trapping Ban

The cougar ban (Bear and Cougar 19.31.11 NMAC) would ban trapping for cougar on both public and private land. According to the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish (NMDGF), there are 3,000 to 4,000 cougars in the state. Cougar harvest numbers, which are set by the New Mexico State Game Commission, have not reached state maximum thresholds since 2016. Trapping provides an added tool to harvest cougars in situations when dogs and firearms are not as effective or can be used.

Predation on bighorn sheep is a major concern. According to NMDGF, “Data gathered from radio collared desert bighorn in multiple ranges in the 1990s demonstrated that cougar predation was responsible for 85% of all known-caused mortality on radio collared desert bighorn.” Ever since these findings, the department implemented a cougar control program to help bring bighorn sheep back from the state-endangered list.

Trapping Restrictions

The commission will also discuss and take testimony on a rule proposal that establishes setbacks of a half a mile from any trails, picnic areas, campgrounds and roadside rest areas. Additionally, several areas will be closed to land-set traps, including:

  • The Sandia Ranger District
  • The Eastern portion of Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks National Monument
  • Forest Service lands within ½ mile of NM Hwy 475 on the Santa Fe National Forest and NM Hwy 150 on the Carson National Forest

The Department has not been able to provide the total acreage affected by these restrictions.

“The state of New Mexico is increasingly becoming hostile to sportsmen and women,” said Luke Houghton, Sportsmen’s Alliance associate director of state services. “These proposals will harm other wildlife, the ecosystem, pose a danger to public safety and decrease trapping participation. The commission must hear from hunters and trappers opposing these regulations. ”

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.  Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: OnlineFacebookTwitter and Instagram.