New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Dan Williams, (505) 476-8004
Public contact: (505) 476-8000
dan.williams@state.nm.us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, AUG. 7, 2007:

SMALL-GAME SEASONS APPROACH WITH REVISED DATES, RULES

HELICOPTERS WILL ASSIST BIGHORN SHEEP WILDERNESS TRAPPING OPERATION

MADDOX LAKE CLOSING TO PUBLIC USE

SMALL-GAME SEASONS APPROACH WITH REVISED DATES, RULES

SANTA FE -- As evening temperatures begin to cool, hunters' thoughts turn to the field and their trusty firearm or bow. This fall, small-game hunting opportunities begin a week earlier than usual in the Pecos area of northern New Mexico, where the State Game Commission has established an experimental grouse season.

Blue grouse season opens Aug. 25 in the new GS-1E area, seven days before the area's first archery elk hunt and the traditional Sept. 1 opening for grouse, squirrels, doves and band-tailed pigeons. All grouse hunters in the special GS-1E area must have a free grouse permit in addition to their hunting license. Permits are available at Department of Game and Fish offices in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Raton, Roswell and Las Cruces.

All hunters are encouraged to obtain and read a copy of the 2007-2008 Small Game & Waterfowl Rules and Information Booklet, now available online at the Department's website, www.wildlife.state.nm.us, and available in late August at Department offices and license vendors statewide. The booklet contains specific details about seasons, bag limits, license requirements and other important information hunters are responsible to know.

Don't miss the Sept. 8 application deadline if you're hoping to hunt sandhill cranes or participate in youth waterfowl hunts at Bernardo Wildlife Management Area this year. Applications are being accepted on the Department website or on paper forms submitted by regular mail and postmarked on or before Sept. 8.

The application deadline is Nov. 3 for all special-permit and youth-only light goose hunts, and special-permit pheasant hunts.

Also new this year:

·         There is no daily bag or possession limit for Eurasian collared doves, and the season for the species has been extended to Sept. 1 through Dec. 30. All field-dressed Eurasian collared doves must have one feathered wing attached until it reaches home.

·         There is no tagging requirement for sandhill cranes taken in the Middle Rio Grande Valley, Estancia Valley or in the southwest portion of the state.

·         Another sandhill crane season has been added for falconers.

For more information, please visit the Department website, www.wildlife.state.nm.us or call (505) 476-8000.

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HELICOPTERS WILL ASSIST BIGHORN SHEEP WILDERNESS TRAPPING OPERATION

PECOS -- Hikers in the Pecos Wilderness may see helicopters carrying equipment and possibly bighorn sheep for several days this month as the Department of Game and Fish conducts a sheep trapping and relocation project.

The action will begin early Wednesday morning when a helicopter with the New Mexico National Guard moves trapping equipment and supplies to an area near Pecos Baldy. The Department and the U.S. Forest Service have agreed that using helicopters is the least disruptive method to accomplish bighorn trapping operations in wilderness areas, which normally are closed to all motorized vehicles. The project will end by Tuesday, Aug. 14.

The Department hopes to trap as many as 60 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep from Pecos Baldy, where sheep populations have grown to the point they are stressing their habitat. The captured sheep will be ferried by contract helicopter to the Jamie Koch Recreation Area at Willow Creek in Pecos Canyon. They then will be loaded onto livestock trailers and taken to the Dry Cimarron River area of northeastern New Mexico, and the Rio Grande Gorge, where they will augment existing small herds.

For more information about New Mexico's bighorn sheep and the state's bighorn restoration projects, please call Elise Goldstein at (505) 476-8041 or visit the Department website at www.wildlife.state.nm.us.

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New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Contact: Mark Madsen (505) 624-6135
mark.madsen@state.nm.us 

MADDOX LAKE CLOSING TO PUBLIC USE

HOBBS -- Maddox Lake near Hobbs will be closed to all public use beginning Sept. 1, 2007, as the lake owner begins using the water for irrigation. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has leased the lake from EXCEL Energy for years as a public fishing water. EXCEL used the lake to store waste cooling water from its adjacent electrical plant, but did not renew the Department lease this year and will begin converting that use to agriculture irrigation.

Efforts will be made by the Department to net and relocate any fish left in Maddox Lake. Those fish will be stocked into other local public fishing waters such as Green Meadows, Harry McAdams, Eunice and Jal lakes.

Maddox Lake and the surrounding property will be posted against trespass beginning Sept. 1.  Department of Game and Fish officers and officers from other law enforcement agencies will enforce the posting and anyone found trespassing will be prosecuted. Anyone convicted of criminal trespass will face revocation of their hunting and fishing privileges, along with fines, court costs and possibly incarceration. 

For information about the closing of Maddox Lake, please contact Southeast Area Fisheries Manager Shawn Denny, (505) 624-6135 or shawn.denny@state.nm.us.

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