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. 28, 2007:

HUNTING SEASONS BEGIN; OFFICERS WILL BE CONDUCTING ROADBLOCKS
HUNTING SEASONS BRING PARTIAL CLOSURES AT SARGENT, HUMPHRIES AREAS
ANOTHER DEER TESTS POSTIVE FOR CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE
CARLSBAD MAN PLEADS GUILTY ON NEGLIGENT USE OF FIREARM CHARGE
CLAYTON RESIDENTS ADVISED TO TAKE MEASURES TO AVOID MOUNTAIN LIONS
HABITAT STAMP PROGRAM ADVISORY COMMITTEES NEED VOLUNTEERS
DEPARTMENT SEEKS INFORMATION ABOUT POACHED ANTELOPE, ELK


HUNTING SEASONS BEGIN; OFFICERS WILL BE CONDUCTING ROADBLOCKS

SANTA FE - Hunting seasons for doves, blue grouse, band-tailed pigeons and squirrels open Sept. 1 in many parts of New Mexico .

This year, there is a new season for Eurasian-collared doves - Sept. 1-Dec. 30. There is no daily bag or possession limit for this species, however, hunters must retain one fully feathered wing on each field-dressed Eurasian-collared dove.

This year's first archery seasons for deer and elk also begin Sept. 1 and hunts of various species of big game continue into January. Department of Game and Fish conservation officers will be on patrol and at roadblocks statewide through the hunting seasons, checking hunters' licenses and making sure wildlife laws and other state laws are observed.  

Game and Fish personnel may be assisted by other law enforcement agencies during roadblocks. The U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Police, and sheriff's' departments assist statewide.

In southwest New Mexico counties - including Catron, Doña Ana, Grant , Hidalgo, Luna, Otero, Sierra, and Socorro -- Game and Fish officers are assisted by the New Mexico Livestock Board and the U.S. Border Patrol.

Hunters are reminded that the application deadline is Sept. 8 for all sandhill crane hunts and youth waterfowl hunts at Bernardo Wildlife Management Area. The application deadline for all Bernardo light goose special permit hunts, youth-only light goose hunts, and special permit pheasant hunts is Nov. 3.

Season dates, hunting areas, bag limits and other regulations vary by species.   Hunters are encouraged to consult the Department of Game and Fish rules and information posted on the web site at www.wildlife.state.nm.us . Paper copies of the 2007 Small Game Rules and Information Booklet should be available at Department offices in Las Cruces , Roswell , Albuquerque , Raton and Santa Fe before Sept. 1. They will be distributed to license vendors statewide as quickly as possible.

To report a violation, contact your local Conservation Officer or call the toll-free Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-432-GAME (4263).   Callers can remain anonymous and earn rewards for information leading to the apprehension of game law violators.

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HUNTING SEASONS BRING PARTIAL CLOSURES AT SARGENT, HUMPHRIES AREAS

CHAMA - Access to the Sargent and the Humphries wildlife areas near Chama will be partially and temporarily restricted to allow only hunters and anglers to use the properties during the elk hunting seasons that begin Sept. 1. The closures are for public safety, elk herd management, and to help minimize conflicts between hunters and other area users during hunting seasons.

During the elk hunts (Sept. 1-10, Sept 16-22, Oct. 6-10, Oct. 13-17, Oct. 20-24, Oct. 27-31 and Nov. 3-7), general public use -- including hiking, horseback riding and mountain bike riding -- on the Sargent Wildlife Management Area will be allowed only along the main road through the property up to the turn off to Nabor Lake. The property will remain open with no restrictions on days between the hunts.  

The Sargent area will remain open to anglers with no restrictions during the hunts.

The nearby Humphries Wildlife Management Area will be closed to all general public use except hunting   during the elk hunts. However, the Humphries will be open with no restrictions between the hunt dates.

For more information, please contact the Department of Game and Fish Northwest Area Office, (505) 222-4700.      

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ANOTHER DEER TESTS POSTIVE FOR CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE

LAS CRUCES - New Mexico recorded its 19th case of chronic wasting disease in deer in a sick animal found in the Bishop's Cap area of the Organ Mountains .  

Officer Richard McDonald investigated a report of an emaciated deer July 12. The animal was unaware of human presence, chronically thirsty, urinating often, and staying in and near a water source.   Officer McDonald followed the state's protocol for disease surveillance by killing the animal and sending it to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Albuquerque for testing.  

Based on the symptoms and the area from which the deer came, the laboratory was instructed that chronic wasting disease (CWD) was highly probable.   Laboratory diagnostic testing confirmed presence of CWD in this deer. This is the 19th deer with confirmed CWD found since it was first detected in New Mexico in 2002.   Two elk have also been found with CWD.  

This deer was in Game Management Unit 19, where special CWD restrictions already exist for hunters.

Anyone who finds a deer or elk that appears unaware of human presence and displays symptoms including droopy ears, emaciation, chronic thirst, frequent urination, and reluctance to leave water, should report their observations to the Department of Game and Fish, Wildlife Management Division, (505) 476-8127.

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CARLSBAD MAN PLEADS GUILTY ON NEGLIGENT USE OF FIREARM CHARGE

CARLSBAD - A Carlsbad man pleaded guilty to a charge of negligent use of a firearm after using a scoped rifle to watch Department of Game and Fish officers at work.

Conservation Officer Terry Nelson issued the citation to Elias Montoya, 29, after Officer Bryan Nygren observed Montoya using a scoped rifle to watch officers, including Nygren, check fishing licenses on the Pecos River. Montoya admitted to using the scope to look across the river, but denied pointing the rifle at officer Nygren. An Eddy County magistrate fined Montoya $500 plus $67 in court costs.  

Scoped rifles are not spotting scopes and should never be used as one. The Department trains thousands of hunter education students every year. They are taught never to point a firearm at anything they don't intend to shoot, and to treat every firearm as if it were loaded. Binoculars and spotting scopes should be used for observing wildlife or people.

Anyone with information about game law violations can report them to Operation Game Thief at 1-800-432-GAME (4263).   Callers need not identify themselves or testify in court. If the information leads to the apprehension of the game law violators, the caller could be eligible for a cash reward.  

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CLAYTON RESIDENTS ADVISED TO TAKE MEASURES TO AVOID MOUNTAIN LIONS

CLAYTON -- With recent sighting of mountain lions around Clayton, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish suggests residents take precautions to reduce the risk of human interaction with large predators.

Lions are generally attracted to communities for food. They are most active from dusk to dawn, although they sometimes travel and hunt in daylight. Lions prefer to eat deer; however, they also kill elk, porcupines, small mammals, livestock and a variety of domestic animals such as dogs and cats.   Here are some ways to protect yourself, your family and the lions from unwanted encounters:

Mountain lion encounters and attacks are extremely rare, but if you do encounter a lion in the wild or in town:

New Mexico regulations allow anyone to kill a lion or other predator that has killed livestock or presents an immediate threat to human life or property. The person taking such action must report it to the Department of Game and Fish within 24 hours.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is responsible for managing, conserving and protecting wildlife. If you have an encounter with a lion or an attack occurs, please immediately contact the Department of Game and Fish, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours, contact your local conservation officer, the New Mexico State Police, or your local sheriff's department.

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HABITAT STAMP PROGRAM ADVISORY COMMITTEES NEED VOLUNTEERS

ALBUQUERQUE -- The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is seeking individuals interested in serving as advisors for the Habitat Stamp Program. Volunteer advisors review and prioritize habitat improvement proposals and forward their recommendations to the State Game Commission.

Since 1990, all anglers, hunters and trappers who use U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management lands must purchase a $5 Habitat Stamp. The program uses the money for on-the-ground habitat improvements. In 2005-2006, the program spent $2.8 million to complete 100 projects around the state, including riparian enhancements, wildlife watering sites, habitat surveys and vegetative treatments.

Citizens are involved in every aspect of the program, advising which habitats are most in need of improvement.   Citizens represent sporting, environmental, or public land permittee interests and meet each spring to prioritize local habitat proposals.   Volunteers serve three-year terms on five regional committees. They are appointed by the State Game Commission.

"What separates this program from other typical government programs is its citizen participation," said Dale Hall, Habitat Stamp Program manager. "Currently, we are looking for volunteers to assist the Department of Game and Fish in incorporating New Mexico's Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy into project selection and design process."

Many current Citizen Advisory Committee members' terms expire December 2007. Committee members represent sporting, environmental, and public land permittee interests.   They meet in April each year and attend field tours in summer months.

To volunteer, contact Dale Hall at (505) 222-4725 or at dale.hall@state.nm.us before October 1.

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DEPARTMENT SEEKS INFORMATION ABOUT POACHED ANTELOPE, ELK

SPRINGER -- Department of Game and Fish officers are looking for information about two wildlife crimes that occurred Aug. 24 in northeastern New Mexico.

An antelope was shot and left near the Craft Ranch, southeast of Abbot.

An elk was shot on the Wagon Mound Wildlife Area, northwest of Wagon Mound. Portions of the meat and the head were taken.

The Department offers rewards for information that leads to the arrest or charges against wildlife law violators. Please call toll-free, (800) 432-4263 if you have any information regarding this crime or any other. Callers can remain anonymous and receive $350 for information about cases involving antelope and $750 involving elk.

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