Every year, leg-hold and body-crushing traps are hidden throughout New Mexico’s public lands by trappers hoping to exterminate certain wildlife species or simply make money from furs.
These are the same public lands where New Mexicans and tourists go to enjoy the great outdoors with their children, their friends, and companion animals. The last thing they want to see is their child, their dog, or a beautiful wild animal caught—or killed—in cruel and outdated traps.
The State Game Commission, which oversees the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish, is considering mild changes to trapping regulations—but the changes proposed are far too weak to make any meaningful difference to the safety of our public lands and the integrity of our ecosystem.
Here are the proposed changes the State Game Commission has shared so far—and why, though not necessarily harmful, these changes are not nearly enough:
- Mandatory trapper education: This seeks to ensure compliance with trapping laws and regulations, but we know that even legally set traps perpetuate the commercially driven killing of furbearing animals and have injured dogs both off and on-leash.
- Increasing “set-back” distances from trails: Trappers themselves say this will only make it less likely that they will check their traps as often as required by law, and these requirements rely on the false notion that recreation of public lands does, and should, be limited to on-trail activities.
- Clarifying the definition of a trail: For purposes of set-back distances from trails, this acknowledges that the public already hikes on un-marked trails and paths but, again, this relies on the false notion that the public only has a right to enjoy recreation on trails and paths, and not on open land or forests.
- Allowance for the NMDGF Director to close areas to trapping: Without guarantees that closures will indeed happen, this does little to protect the public and our ecosystems.
- Trailhead signs with trapping warnings: When trapping is legal throughout a national forest or other federal land where people engage in outdoor recreation, a sign at a trailhead does not keep people or their animals safe. In fact, even while New Mexico advertises itself as a tourist destination, it may only discourage residents and tourists from using our public lands at all.
Your voice matters, here are three ways you can be heard on this important issue:
- Attend in-person the Listening Session on trapping rule changes in Albuquerque: Tuesday, November 27th, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM, at the NM Department of Game & Fish Northwest Regional Office, 7816 Alamo Road NW in Albuquerque.
- Attend in-person the Game Commission meeting in Roswell: Friday, November 30th, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Roswell Convention and Civic Center Exhibit Hall, located at 912 N. Main Street.
- If you cannot use this form or attend these in-person meetings, comments can be provided by mail: New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Attn: Furbearer Rule Development, P.O. Box 25112, Santa Fe, NM 87504; or by direct email at .
Thank you for being a voice on this important issue. And thank you to Animal Protection of New Mexico for developing the above content.