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, NOV. 27, 2007:

DEPARTMENT DIRECTOR FACES HUNTING RULE CHARGES

ROSWELL -- New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Director Bruce Thompson was charged Monday with hunting deer on private land without permission and illegal possession of a deer in connection with a Nov. 17 incident in which he allegedly killed a deer on private land without permission.

Investigators determined based on evidence and witness accounts that both misdemeanors were committed unintentionally. However, New Mexico law does not make allowances for lack of intent. If convicted, Thompson faces penalties of up to $500 fines and up to 6 months in jail for each offense. He also could face a civil penalty of $250 to reimburse the state for the deer.

"I have cooperated with the investigation and I will accept the consequences of my honest mistake," Director Thompson said. "I apparently used an incorrect entry in my GPS unit while conducting my hunt, but that is no excuse, and I expect to be treated like any other hunter who unintentionally violates wildlife regulations."

According to investigating conservation officers, Thompson allegedly killed a buck deer the afternoon of Nov. 17 on the Diamond T Ranch west of Roswell in Lincoln County . A hunting guide employed by the ranch owner said he saw Thompson with the dead deer, and later reported the incident to the owner, who then called a Department of Game and Fish officer. The hunting guide reported that Thompson said he believed he was on Bureau of Land Management land based on coordinates entered in his GPS unit.

Thompson's hunting license was valid on public land or on private land with permission. He has cooperated with investigators, answered questions and provided a written statement.

The meat from the mature buck deer was seized and sold -- as required by state law -- to an individual who previously had indicated an interest in acquiring deer meat.

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