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, at the same time the New Mexico State Game Commission has taken important steps in the opposite direction. Increasingly, the commission seems to serve only a tiny minority — only 1,921 furbearer licenses were sold for 2009-10. But more than 40,000 people hike in areas where traps could be set.
The latest evidence of an out-of-touch game commission came in July, when it ignored 12,000 public comments advocating a ban on trapping on public lands. Worse than ignored — the commission lifted a year-old ban on furbearer trapping in the Gila and Apache national forests that had been enacted to protect reintroduced Mexican gray wolves.