Legislative Update: NMWF Works to Kill Bad Bills Aimed at Sportsmen and Women
Today and earlier this week representatives from the New Mexico Wildlife Federation worked tirelessly at the state capitol to kill two anti-sportsmen bills, one directed at public elk tag allocation and one that could have decimated our elk populations.
We would like to recognize all the representatives who supported us on this issue and spoke out against these bills! The bills in question are HB 145 - the Big Game Depredation Fund Uses Bill and HB 333 Elk Hunting and Licenses and Grazing Allotments.
HB 145, Co-Sponsored by Representative Bealquin Bill Gomez, also died in committee last year because it violates the state’s anti-donation clause. Even if the bill didn’t violate the clause, NMDGF already has a robust, license-buyer supported depredation fund that provides more than $450,000 per year and more than adequately covers elk damage to the agriculture community.
HB 333, co-sponsored by Representatives: James G. Townsend, Bealquin Bill Gomez, Yvette Herrell, Candy Spence Ezzell, and Bob Wooley would have drastically decimated elk herds statewide to mirror domestic cattle stocking rates on state and national public lands – including the Valles Caldera National Park and Preserve. The bill died on a straight party line 6/6 vote.
Some key arguments against the bill include:
- NMDGF is required to manage on a statewide and unit level; not by land status. Management goals are set at the unit level not allotment levels.
- Livestock levels are adjusted quickly but wildlife herds can not.
- Hunting would have to occur during inopportune times of the year (full term pregnant cows or newly born calves could be accidentally harvested).
- Initial economic benefits would rise due to increased activity but in the long-run, economic activity would be diminished due to less licenses distributed in future years due to reduced herd sizes.
- Wildlife can move across allotment boundaries where as livestock cannot, therefore reductions in wildlife would serve no purpose.
- As we all know, elk don’t stay within fenced boundaries. The wholesale killing of elk in New Mexico would impact herds and hunters in Colorado and Arizona as well as the rights of New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona sovereign Tribal nations.
Plus many other issues. Get all the details on these bills on our website.
If you disagree with these bills and how your elected officials represented you, find their contact information above and voice your opinion today!
Thank you for your continued support, and stay tuned for more updates as the session continues!
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