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Your NM state representative and senator are the people with the power to ban trapping. Find out who they are and let them know you oppose trapping on public lands. A simple phone call and email can make all the difference. GET INFO →
The New Mexico Legislature should ban trapping on public lands in New Mexico because traps harm people, animal companions, and whole populations of wildlife including rare species. Most New Mexican voters believe that trapping is cruel and unnecessary.
Traps indiscriminately harm people, pets and wildlife and should be banned on public lands. Learn More »
Trap Free Friends
New Mexicans want safe, trap-free public lands!
Trap Free New Mexico is a coalition of citizens, conservation organizations and animal welfare groups who oppose the cruel, damaging, and dangerous practice of trapping in New Mexico. Under-regulated and outdated, traps put citizens, pets, and non-target species at risk, including the endangered Mexican gray wolf. We seek to ban traps in New Mexico for the sake of public safety and New Mexico's native wildlife.
The New Mexico Game Commission and the Department of Game and Fish are spending your tax dollars defending the expansion of the cruel and barbaric practice of trapping when they should be revisiting an overbroad regulation that mandates killing wildlife whether it is warranted or not. Read the Editorial »
Arguing that the New Mexico State Game Commission violated the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) by authorizing cougar trapping that will harm endangered Mexican wolves and jaguars in New Mexico, The Humane Society of the United States, Animal Protection of New Mexico and longtime Mexican wolf enthusiasts Peter and Jean Ossorio filed a complaint in New Mexico federal court today. The lawsuit seeks to invalidate the upcoming cougar trapping season - currently scheduled to begin November 1, 2016 - to protect these endangered species from cruel and indiscriminate traps and snares. Read the Press Release
Center for Investigative Reporting: How Cruelty Killed the Bobcat
This audio podcast was featured as part of the recent Center for Investigative Reporting exposé on trapping.
Elections are coming up so make sure you are registered to vote!
It isn't just the presidency, all NM state legislature seats are up for election this year. The state legislature is where the decision will be made to ban trapping once and for all.
Please visit the Secretary of state website for instructions »
Of course everyone needs to vote in November! Be sure you are registered today. Our wildlife needs YOU!
Animal protection groups are challenging the New Mexico State Game Commission in state and federal courts, alleging that the expansion of cougar trapping it authorized last year is illegal.
Jessica Johnson of Animal Protection New Mexico called the Game Commission's action "an egregious decision that appears to be based on fictitious data."
Wildlife advocates on Wednesday said they will seek a court order halting a United States government program that allows tens of thousands of pelts from bobcats and a small number of gray wolves to be exported annually for sale on the international fur market.
Representatives of WildEarth Guardians said the little-known program should not continue without a detailed study of its effect on wildlife populations.
Animal protection groups are challenging the New Mexico State Game Commission in state and federal courts, claiming the expanded cougar trapping it authorized last year is illegal. Animal Protection New Mexico and The Humane Society of the United States filed notices on Thursday that they are appealing to the state Court of Appeals and also will sue the state Game Commission in federal court.
Trapped Cougar Released
Large Cougar Released From Trap in Pine Valley Mountains
A large cougar being released from a bobcat trap in the Pine Valley Mountains in southern Utah. Division of Wildlife Resources employee Mark Ekins took the footage after he responded to a call to help release a mountain lion on December 17.Posted by Washboard Road on Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Mountain lions are powerful animals. Releasing them from traps is a brutal and dangerous process, putting people and wildlife at serious risk. Most trapped mountain lions are not as fortunate as this one. The extent of this animal's injuries are unknown but it is likely that some injuries were inflicted in the intense struggle to escape. Help Stop Cougar Trapping »
Animal Protection of New Mexico, The Humane Society of the United States and New Mexico citizens announce appeal of the State Game Commissions cougar trapping rule
In a joint effort to ensure responsible, science-based wildlife management practices and protect New Mexico's animals from indiscriminate injury and killing, Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) and The Humane Society of the United States (The HSUS) have today initiated a state appeal and a separate federal challenge of the validity of the expansion of cougar trapping in the Cougar Rule approved by the New Mexico State Game Commission. APNM and The HSUS are joined by concerned New Mexican citizens who run Search and Rescue missions in the expanded trapping areas and have had dogs injured in leg-hold traps, a hunting and fishing guide, and wolf advocates.
Hikers who take their dogs out on a popular trail in the Sandia Mountains are learning a harsh lesson. Somebody is setting traps out there, and there's nothing illegal about it. The trappers are going after bobcats and ringtail cats - not dogs - but their traps have snapped on many a dog leg this winter. We're talking about Hawk Watch Trail in Tijeras Canyon - a beautiful and busy place for dogs and their human companions. Watch the segment on KOB4 »
For people who love the outdoors, New Mexico is truly a magical place. You can hike for miles and miles on public land, marvel over indescribable vistas, gasp at exotic wildlife, desperately try to free your faithful dog from a hidden steel trap... Hold on. Traps on public land? Can that be true? Indeed it can. New Mexico True, as we like to say. Read the article in the Santa Fe Reporter »
A petition is circulating on the Navajo reservation to ban the use of steel-jaw leghold traps commonly used by hunters and trappers on Navajo lands to catch fur-bearing animals such as rabbits, deer, bobcats, coyotes and mountain lions. Read the article in Indian Country »
New Mexicans who enjoy recreating on our public lands need to be aware that trapping is still allowed and that encountering a trap while hiking, bird watching and enjoying these places remains a dangerous threat. The fur-trapping season began on Nov. 1 and won't end until March 15, but winter is when pelts are the thickest and have the most value. That makes stumbling upon a trapped animal or having your dog caught of special concern. Read the article in the Santa Fe New Mexican »
Across the United States, the resurgence of a frontier tradition - commercial fur trapping - is taking a hidden, often grisly toll on wildlife. The activity is legal. It is regulated by state agencies. And for the most part, it doesn't pose a threat to species' survival. But it is carried out in ways that often inflict prolonged suffering and capture many species - including mountain lions - by mistake. And much of it is happening on public land, including national forests, even wildlife refuges. Read the article from the Center for Investigative Reporting »
There is a dangerous predator in the Jemez that you might not be aware of. It's quiet. It lies in wait for unsuspecting prey. It's virtually invisible, indiscriminate, and here year-round. It causes untold suffering and often a painful, prolonged death ... yet we currently have no defense against it. None. Read the article in the Jemez Daily Post »
Z Jacobson was hiking with her dogs, Noodles and Lulu, and a friend along a new trail off Old Buckman Road in the Santa Fe National Forest on Thanksgiving Day. During the hike, they walked over to a cliff and were admiring the view when Jacobson heard what she described as "tremendous, horrible screaming" from her dog, whose right front paw was caught in a steel trap she said was about 30 feet from the trail. Noodles, a black-and-white border collie mix, was struggling futilely to free herself. Read the article in the Santa Fe New Mexican»
First, Rep. Zachary Cook, R-Ruidoso, introduced legislation that would have allowed for the indiscriminate killing of cougars. It would have legalized the same kind of hunting contests we now have with coyotes - shoot as many as you can and then leave the carcasses heaped in a pile. The bill breezed through its first House committee before the public got wind of it, and the backlash forced Cook to retreat. But the fate of the mountain lion in New Mexico is still in jeopardy. This time, it is the state Game and Fish Department posing the threat.
Opposition to Game & Fish Dept Plan to Expand Cougar Trapping on State Trust Lands
NM State Game & Fish Department officials are pushing to expand cougar trapping. But there are many who say we don't need any more traps on public land.
Visit stopcougartrapping.org for more information and to sign the petition.
You can email comments to: DGF-Bear-Cougar-Rules@state.nm.us.
CALIFORNIA BANS BOBCAT TRAPPING
California's Fish and Game Commission's Historic Vote Shows National Leadership on Wildlife Protection
Today, the California Fish and Game Commission voted 3 to 2 in favor of ending the commercial and recreational trapping of bobcats in California, becoming the first state in the nation to do so. "The Commission's vote is historic. Banning the cruel and unnecessary trapping of bobcats for the international fur trade is widely supported by the public and this vote shows California's continued leadership in protecting wildlife," says Camilla Fox, Founder and Executive Director of Project Coyote. "California is sending a strong message that the cruel and wanton killing of wildlife, especially for profit, is no longer acceptable."
Editorial: NM should get rid of, not expand, cruel traps
Why, in 2015, are the people entrusted with managing New Mexico's lands and wildlife for posterity trying to expand the use of a barbaric trap invented in the 1800s? Leg-hold traps have been banned in more than 80 countries that see them for what they are—archaic, cruel and indiscriminate as to what they maim and kill. Yet the state Department of Game and Fish wants to expand their use here, allowing private landowners to trap cougars on their property without a permit—which is now required—from November through March.
Editorial: NM can't get caught up in plan to expand cruel traps
The NM Department of Game and Fish spent 1 million New Mexico tax dollars on a comprehensive, peer-reviewed cougar study that did not support the claims of livestock predation. In fact it showed the opposite, that cougars prefer to dine on mule deer, antelope, rabbits, coyotes, skunks, small rodents, birds and reptiles. And Game and Fish has admitted that attacks on humans are extremely rare. Yet the department instead is proposing more, and more grisly, kills because some ranchers and farmers around the state have voiced concerns about predation.
Conservation Groups Ask New Mexico Game Commission to Oppose Cougar Trapping Proposal
Trapping Plan Would Increase Cruelty, Put Other Wildlife, Pets at Risk
SILVER CITY, N.M. - Eight conservation organizations in the TrapFree New Mexico coalition sent a letter today urging state game commissioners to reject the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish's proposed cougar trapping season. The coalition letter highlights the dangers traps pose to outdoor enthusiasts, nontarget animals and pets like the dog caught in a trap last month in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. Read the entire press release »
Mountain lion paw in wolf trap upsets ex-houndsman
A mountain lion paw found torn off in a wolf trap has a former houndsman asking for change in the way the state manages the predator. Every year, mountain lions die after being caught in traps set for wolves or other furbearers. Read the story in the Missoulian »
KOB 4 Albuquerque: Residents concerned over animal traps in the foothills
Some Albuquerque residents, living near the foothills, say they're concerned about the increase in trapping of animals in Sunset Canyon nearby. One woman's dog got caught in a trap. The area is a National Forest Wilderness, where dogs are permitted to roam off leash. The residents living nearby said they want the trapping in their area to stop. Read the article on KOB Albequerque »
Horribly Mutilated Dog Exposes New Mexico's Shameful Use of Leghold Traps
Named Cub by his rescuers, the dog was stabilized, treated for trauma as well as gunshot wounds and what remained of his back legs were amputated. Veterinarians believe Cub may have been caught in a wild animal trap; thus explaining the traumatic injuries. How the dog survived is anyone's guess, but it is believed he chewed off the lower part of his legs captured and crushed in the snare trap. Read the article | More information at NMDog.com
Vivid Photos of Bobcat's Injuries Reveal Lethal Dangers of Snare Traps
Volunteers from a wildlife rehabilitation group were able to capture this bobcat in a live trap and brought him to a vet, where the extent of his injuries became apparent. "He was in extreme pain," reported the animal care supervisor who attended to this animal's snare trap injuries. Read the article
2015 Legislative Report
Regrettably, the bill that would have prohibited traps from New Mexico public lands did not advance from the NM House Agriculture, Water & Wildlife committee. The Agriculture centered interests of the 8 committee members who voted to table the bill could not be overcome. The bill to prohibit coyote killing contests that previously passed handily in the NM Senate also fell to the same 8-2 vote cast by the same committee members.
Thank you to everyone who came out to the hearing despite bad weather. We had such an excellent turnout, larger and broader than ever! Veterinarians, hikers, hunters, teachers, trap victims, animal and dog advocates all offered factual, powerful, and heartfelt testimony.
Wildlife issues were given over to this committee as a result of the change in leadership in the House after the last election. The unfortunate outcome for these bills was a direct consequence of that change. In 2016, every legislator will be up for election again ahead of the next long session in 2017.
2015 Bill to Prohibit Traps on NM Public Lands
We are pleased to announce that the bill to ban traps and poisons on New Mexico public lands was introduced to the NM House of Representatives by Rep. Bobby Gonzales of Taos. You can find out more about House Bill 426 (HB 426) and follow its progress here.
Here's hoping we can stop trapping
In this day and age, that we allow these mindless and cruel devices especially on our public lands is unconscionable. Our neighboring states of AZ and CO have already done so. No animal should have to suffer this! Sign the TrapFree NM petition to end trapping on public lands.
New Mexico Ranks as One of the Top Five States to be an Animal Abuser
Kentucky, Iowa, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming are 2014's best states to be an animal abuser, according to the latest report released by the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF). Read the article »
Dog caught in foot trap northwest of Ruidoso
A Nogal resident and her golden retriever were hiking in the national forest near Loma Grande area on a favorite trail two weeks ago when the dog suddenly yelped in agonizing pain, his paw caught in a trap. Read the article »
Outside Magazine: The Hidden Danger Threatening Our Dogs
Trapping of bobcats, coyotes, and other fur-bearing animals is on the rise—with man's best friend the collateral damage. Read the article »
Fighting Trapping on Public Lands: It Began with a Screaming Dog
Current state regulations on placement of traps do little to protect domestic animals and wildlife from cruelty. Citizen action is vital in the ongoing movement to ban cruel and destructive trapping from our public lands. Read the article » [287 KB PDF]
Animal traps that grip or snare are banned in L.A. as 'inhumane'
The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to ban traps that snare or grip coyotes, bears, foxes and other animals in the city, deeming such traps inhumane. More »
Animal Traps To Be Banned In Los Alamos County!
After listening to presentations and public comment, the Los Alamos Council voted 7-0 to accept a trap banning petition, directing staff to draft a resolution compatible with the support of trap banning and return to Council with the resolution by the April 29 meeting. More »
Traps Pose Threat to Humans and Pets
Recent incident spurs local residents to action
"It seems like the laws are stacked against anybody out there doing recreational activities. We live in a state with all of these recreational opportunities, and now you have to worry about this small fraction of people who decide they want to do this extractive thing where you're going to be recreating." More »
New Mexico's Wildlife Mismanaged
Population Numbers Falling
Present regulations place no limits on the number of animals that a trapper can kill per year on New Mexico's state and federal land, lands that belong to all New Mexicans. In 2012 and 2013, 23,628 small beneficial carnivores like bobcats, fox, coyotes, ringtails, raccoons, etc., were reported to be killed, with 70 percent from trapping. Most surrounding states do not allow trapping on their public lands, so their trappers come to New Mexico. More »
Warning to Residents and Unsuspecting Tourists: Traps
On Friday February 14 2014, a dog I was hiking with was caught in a trap set about 50 feet from the Continental Divide Trail off Cottage San Road outside Silver City. It was a horrific scene as the dog went into a panic biting at the trap, biting at me and trying to free itself. More »
NM Game Commission Head Resigns After Illegal Cougar Killing
Scott Bidegain, the embattled chairman of the New Mexico Game Commission, resigned over the weekend after game officers filed a misdemeanor charge alleging he was an accessory to the unlawful killing of a cougar earlier this month. More »
Hikers Beware: Traps Can Strike Pets
Las Cruces: The scream is what sticks with Wendy Verona. "I've never heard him make a noise like that," Verona said, referring to her dog "Hank," a lab, who was caught in a leghold trap. Verona said she "had no idea" such traps are legal in New Mexico. Her dogs were not seriously injured, but Verona said other people hiking with pets should be aware of the state trapping laws - rules that some have criticized over the years for being too lax. More »
Game Officials' Removal Requested
Nine wildlife conservation organizations are asking Gov. Susana Martinez to remove New Mexico Game Commission Chairman Scott Bidegain and Commissioner Robert Espinoza from the panel for their participation in coyote-killing contests. More »
Alert: Traps Found Buried Near Trail in Los Alamos
The two couples were walking on the trail with their dogs when they spotted a small strip of fake fur attached to a fishing line hanging from the branch of a tree above them. As they stopped to figure out what it was, the Dubois' 11-year-old, 30-pound cattle dog mix started screaming "bloody murder." More »
Pet dog caught in trap meant for coyotes
Hikers beware: Trappers share those Sandia Mountain foothills, as two Albuquerque women learned Sunday when a dog caught its leg in a trap on U.S. Forest Service land. More »
Coyote Killer's Competition Not Welcome in Southern New Mexico
Las Cruces has an ugly secret. Each year, a Utah-based group named Predator Masters holds its annual "hunt and convention" here. They come to southern New Mexico to kill our coyotes. More »
Howling Mad: New Mexcians Demand an End to Trapping Following Another Trapped Pet Incident
Albuquerque Journal Letters November 19, 2013 [600 KB PDF]
2013 Legislative Results
March 6, 2013: House Bill 579 Dies in Committee
The bill that would have prohbited most trapping and poisoning of wildlife on our public lands was tabled by a 6-5 vote in the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Monday. Thank you to everyone who wrote and called committee members and their legislators. It was the first year this issue was heard, and it generated a lot of valuable discussion. We lost by one vote in committee and we will be back! Read the Legislative roundup from March 5, 2013.
February 26, 2013: House Bill 316 Dies in House Floor Vote
A bill that would have prohbited commerical coyote killing contests passed the House Judiciary Committe with a 9-6 but died on the floor after a vote of 30-38.
HB 579 NM WILDLIFE PROTECTION & PUBLIC SAFETY ACT AN ACT RELATING TO WILDLIFE; ENACTING THE NEW MEXICO WILDLIFE PROTECTION AND PUBLIC SAFETY ACT; PROVIDING FOR RESTRICTIONS ON THE USE OF TRAPS AND POISONS. More »
Trap Free New Mexico News
Taos lawmaker Bobby Gonzales to be honored for bill banning traps - Representative Gonzales (D-Taos) introduced a 2013 bill, New Mexico Wildlife Protection & Public Safety Act, which proposed to ban most cruel traps and poisons from New Mexico's public lands. More »
Leg-hold traps nothing but inhumane February 19, 2013 - Traps cruelly and inhumanely destroy wild and domesticated animals. Traps are not only a cruel and inhumane method of killing animals, but there is no science being used by N.M. Department of Game and Fish to manage this wildlife. Colorado and Arizona have banned traps. The use of leg-hold traps is a practice that should end. More »
ABQ kitten caught in trap - Police looking for owner of illegal trap February 7, 2013 - A steel trap closed on the foot of a kitten recently in Albuquerque, injuring the animal so badly that part of its paw had to be amputated. The trap removed the skin and exposed the bone on two toes. Animal Welfare officers believe someone set the trap in the Thomas Village area near Rio Grande and Indian School. More »
Editorial: Coyote shoot unworthy of hunting tradition November 15, 2012 - The notion that the Western tradition of hunting is to reward the person who brings back the most pelts is true - but only if modern hunters want to emulate the shameful example of buffalo hunting. It's time that the state of New Mexico makes these kill-all-you-see hunts illegal. More »
Editorial: Slaughter of Coyotes an Abomination Against Nature November 15, 2012 - The coyote killing "contest" being hosted this weekend by Gunhawk Firearms in Los Lunas is a disgrace to the state of New Mexico and to the ethics of hunting. With farms in New Mexico and northern California, we are no strangers to firearms or coyotes. But the days of mass killings of any wildlife should be long gone. More »
Ranchers, activists disagree on coyote killing contest November 9, 2012 - LOS LUNAS, N.M.
A contest to kill the most coyotes in rural New Mexico has sparked support and protest. GunHawk Firearms is moving forward with a contest that would reward the person who slays the most coyotes with three guns. Animal Protection New Mexico called the contest "repulsive." More »
New Mexico coyote killing contest causes outrage
November 5, 2012 - LOS LUNAS, N.M. Backlash over a controversial coyote hunt is building as opponents launch an online petition. The online petition against Gunhawk Firearm's weekend coyote hunt has been posted for less than a day and already has nearly 7,000 signatures. More »
Conservation groups sue to end trapping of wolverines in Montana - October 15, 2012 - Conservationists asked a state judge to end trapping of wolverines in Montana at a time when fewer than 300 of the elusive animals roam the Northern Rockies and Northern Cascades. "The state doesn't want to admit wolverines are almost extinct," said Michael Garrity, head of Alliance for the Wild Rockies. More »
State has spent more than $200K defending wolf lawsuit - August 29, 2012: SANTA FE - The lobo lawsuit escalated to six figures in five months. NM State wildlife managers spent more than $216,000 on outside attorneys in less than half a year to defend against a claim that they violated the federal Endangered Species Act relating to Mexican gray wolves. More »
Science News: Increase in Lyme Disease Mirrors Drop in Red Fox Numbers - June 18, 2012: The loss of red foxes can result in an increase in the abundance of the smaller animals that serve as hosts for bacteria-carrying ticks. Red foxes may have once kept those populations under control. More »
New Mexico Game and Fish Department Hires Washington, D.C. Law Firm to Defend Trapping in Wolf Recovery Area: Allocates $385,000 for Legal Fight for Policy that Kills Mexican Wolves - June 04, 2012: SANTA FE, NM - WildEarth Guardians has released records received from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish indicating that the state has reserved $385,000 in public funds to hire outside counsel to defend its current and ongoing authorization of coyote, skunk, and "furbearer" trapping within the Mexican gray wolf recovery area. Read the story »
Panel asks state to ban animal traps in New Mexico - April 12, 2012: FARMINGTON, NM - Ninety percent of New Mexico residents believe trapping should be banned on public lands, according to a report released today by a panel of seven New Mexico citizens. The report was created through online surveys organized by the People's Forum on Public Lands Trapping in New Mexico. Read the story »
Teen To Push for Trap Bans After Pet Dog Ensnared - March 6, 2012: A dog was caught in a wildlife trap during a family hike north of Taos on Feb. 26, not far from where a couple of dogs were caught in traps in late 2010. Read the story »
Groups Formally Call Upon New Mexican Officials to Ban Traps - Conservation Groups Formally Call Upon New Mexican Officials to Ban Traps Cruel, Indiscriminate, and Harmful to Wildlife and Recreationists. Read Story »
Trapped in the Past - New Mexicans are increasingly moving toward a consensus that foothold trapping of furbearer animals ought to be more closely regulated, if not mostly banned, as our neighbors in Arizona did in 1994. Unfortunately, the New Mexico State Game Commission has taken steps in the opposite direction. The game commission must stop ignoring public concerns about trapping. Read Editorial »
Pet Cat Sliced Nearly in Half by a Kill Trap - Caught right behind his front legs, the deadly snare quickly sliced through the cat's muscle tissue down to his abdominal cavity. From the description of his injuries it would appear that Churchill was victimized by a body-gripper trap although it is remotely possible that a common leghold snare was the villain. More »
Group files lawsuit over trapping in NM - Environmental group WildEarh Guardians is suing NM wildlife managers over a decision last summer to lift a trapping ban in southwestern New Mexico where the federal government is reintroducing Mexican gray wolves. Read Story »
ABQ Journal Editorial: N.M. Needs an Open Debate on All Trapping - There's been a lot of debate surrounding the state's decision to once again allow trapping in the wolf recovery area in southwestern New Mexico. There needs to be more, and it needs to cover more territory. Read Editorial »
NM Game Commission Votes to End Trapping Ban in Wolf Recovery Area - A subspecies of the gray wolf, the Mexican gray wolf was added to the endangered species list in 1976 after it was all but wiped out due to hunting and trapping. Read Story »
I Support Trap-Free Public Lands in New Mexico!
Many New Mexicans from diverse backgrounds are taking a stand against public lands trapping. Whether you are an artist, doctor, or elelmentary school student, let us know that you want to make New Mexico's public lands safe!
New Mexicans value the wildlife that still roams the state's deserts, grasslands, and forests. In fact, 63% of New Mexican voters believe that traps should be restricted or abolished on public land. Public lands and wildlife belong to us all, yet these vicious devices diminish and threaten these values. Join the movement to ban traps on public lands in New Mexico!
Trap Free New Mexico seeks to enact a ban on traps on public lands for the sake of public safety and New Mexico's native wildlife.
Traps are inhumane and indiscriminate, capturing and killing pets and wildlife, harming individuals and entire wildlife populations, even imperiled species such as Mexican wolves. More »
Tell the New Mexico Game Commission that you want to see a total ban of trapping on our public lands.
Contact your New Mexico State Senator and Representative and let them know you want traps banned from public lands.