New Mexico Proposal Bans Cougar Trapping on 9 Million Acres of Public Land

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The New Mexico State Game Commission has proposed banning the trapping of mountain lions on all private and State Trust lands. The Commission will host a series of public meetings in August to take public comment.

Public Hearings:

RatonAug. 7: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Dept. of Game & Fish office, 215 York Canyon Road

Albuquerque – Aug. 13: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Dept. of Game & Fish office, 7816 Alamo Rd NW

Las Cruces- Aug. 15: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Dept. of Game & Fish office, 2715 Northrise Dr.

Roswell – Aug. 16: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Dept. of Game & Fish office, 1615 West College Blvd


Take Action Today! New Mexico members should contact the New Mexico State Game Commission and ask them to oppose the rule proposal. Members can comment by emailing DGF-Bear-Cougar-Rules@state.nm.us or calling 888-248-6866. Members are also encouraged to attend future meetings, which can be found by clicking on the link: http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/bear-and-cougar-rule-changes-topic-of-public-meetings/


Although trapping does not represent a large proportion of cougars taken, the state has been unable to meet harvest targets in many years. Cougars are increasingly involved in dangerous interactions with pets and even people, and are a natural predator for many wildlife species, including wild sheep, elk and mule deer; which makes the decision to ban trapping highly questionable.

“New Mexico’s political leadership is clearly targeting public-land hunters and trappers, and they’re starting with the 9 million acres of State Trust Lands,” said Luke Houghton, associate director of state services for Sportsmen’s Alliance. “First they banned forms of coyote hunting on those lands by executive action, and now they’re going after trappers and cougars.”

According to the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish (NMDGF), there are between 3,000 and 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. As a result, cougar numbers continue to increase and are becoming a greater threat to people, pets, livestock and populations of prey species.

In 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture found that cougars were the third largest threat to cattle in New Mexico. Banning trapping on private and public lands will likely increase livestock depredation by cougars because New Mexico ranchers often use state trust lands for grazing.

“There is no scientific reason to ban trapping of cougars, especially when trapping helps mitigate the loss to livestock,” said Houghton. “We hope the commission will vote against this rule. Trapping plays an important role in wildlife management, while providing an opportunity for sportsmen.”

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.