Take Action Today! New Mexico sportsmen should contact their state representative and ask them to vote NO on HB 366. New Mexico members can contact their representative by using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Center. (UPDATE! The meeting time has been changed once again. It is now Saturday, Feb. 9, at 9 a.m. in room 309).
New Mexico Rep. Matthew McQueen (D-Santa Fe) has introduced legislation (House Bill 366) that would ban commonly used traps such as snares, conibear and leg-holds on public land. As a result of this bill, New Mexico trappers would be locked out of approximately 9 million acres of National Forest and 13 million acres of Bureau of Land Management property. These are public lands and should not be subject to political discrimination.
Currently, HB 366 is in the House Energy, Environment & Natural Resources Committee where it will receive a hearing on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 9 a.m. (note! updated time and location; the state has changed the meeting multiple times) in room 309 of the state capitol building (490 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501).
“House bill 366 discriminates against sportsmen who have paid for these public lands and continue to pay for their upkeep, protection, enhancement and management,” said Luke Houghton, Sportsmen’s Alliance associate director of state services. “This bill isn’t just discriminatory, it’s a threat to the public, pets and livestock producers.”
House Bill 366 is bad public policy and not only threatens agriculture but could also threaten public health and safety as many furbearing animals spread diseases. Trapping is already tightly regulated by the state and an outright ban would only create public safety concerns and property damage.
“Trappers are on the front lines, working hand in hand with state biologists on furbearer populations and habitat conditions, while removing excess animals which would otherwise endanger the health of pets and even humans, and cause untold property damage,” continued Houghton. “From preventing the spread of rabies by some populations of furbearers to mitigating livestock loss from carnivores and protecting private and public property from flooding damage caused by beavers, trappers proactively protect those in the suburban-wildlife interface and save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars annually.”
Both federal and state wildlife experts agree that trapping is an essential tool for the scientific management of wildlife and keeping pets and the public safe. According to the NMDGF, coyotes are thriving and must be managed. In 2010, the National Agriculture Statistics Service reported that predators throughout New Mexico killed 9,900 head of cattle at a loss of $5.3 million dollars. Of the predators, coyotes were labeled the major livestock predator.
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: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.