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Trapping Rule Open for Public Comment 

Last Updated: 06/06/2011



New Mexico Department of Game and Fish


The Trapping and Furbearers Rule (19.32.2, NMAC) with proposed amendments is available for public comment. 


Click here to download.


Proposed amendments to the current rule are highlighted in yellow.
Alternatives are highlighted in blue.


Please review and send any comments to or to the postal address listed below.


Trapping Rule Comments
Wildlife Management Division
PO Box 25112
Santa Fe, NM 87504



The Department contracted with the USGS New Mexico Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit to conduct a literature review and investigate potential affects of regulated furbearer trapping on Mexican gray wolves in New Mexico. The Department’s recommendations are based, in part, on information that has been provided by several federal agencies in response to the Department’s request to seek such information pursuant to a 2010 Executive Order of former Governor Richardson.  Subsequent to the work being completed by the USGS, the Department has been informed that the final report is not to be released to the public.  A copy of the memo that prohibits release of the report can be reviewed here.
The State Game Commission (Commission) and Department’s authority to regulate trapping is pursuant to Chapter 17 NMSA 1978.  Specifically, Chapter 17 Article 5 NMSA 1978 – Trappers and Fur Dealers sets forth the policy and authority by which the Department regulates furbearer trapping.  Article 5 also clearly enables residents of New Mexico to protect their livestock, domesticated animals and fowl without subject to the trapping rules and regulations set forth by the Commission.  Following is a brief summary of the statutory language found in Chapter 17 Article 5 NMSA 1978.  The relevant statutes can be viewed on the New Mexico Compilation Commission’s website at New Mexico Compilation Commission - Search Statutes, Rules and Decisions.


Coyotes and Trapping


Fur-bearing animals are defined in 17-5-2 NMSA 1978 and include muskrat, mink, weasel, beaver, otter, nutria, masked or blackfooted ferret, ringtail cat, raccoon, pine marten, coatimundi, badgers, bobcat and all foxes.  Coyotes are notably absent from the list of fur-bearing animals as defined in statute.  Furthermore, 17-2-3 NMSA 1978 defines protected wildlife species without mention of coyotes.  Given the general provisions of Commission powers as defined by statute, the Commission and Department does not have the authority necessary to regulate the take, capture, killing or possession of coyotes and therefore cannot regulate coyote trapping by New Mexico residents.


Seasons, Regulations and Licensing


17-5-3 through 17-5-4 NMSA 1978 broadly direct the Commission to set seasons and regulations governing the means by which fur-bearing animals may be hunted, taken, captured, possessed, or killed.  The attached rule is promulgated under this authority and defines the methods and manner by which fur-bearing animals may be taken in New Mexico.  17-5-5 NMSA 1978 specifically defines the licensing requirements for trapping in New Mexico.  In part, it states “Trapping of animals, both fur-bearing animals and nongame, by a resident in order to protect his livestock or domesticated animals or fowl shall not be subject to rules and regulations on trapping made pursuant to Section 17-5-4 NMSA 1978 or to licensing requirements provided in this section.”  This specific section (17-5-5 subsection F NMSA 1978) precludes the Commission and Department from implementing any rules or regulations that would hamper the ability of residents to protect their property through trapping fur-bearing animals and coyotes by any means or method.