New Mexico Wildlife Federation discusses issues important to hunters and anglers
By Mike Michael, KSWV Radio | March 23, 2017
Cover photo: NM Wildlife Federation
Today on the Great Outdoors-New Mexico show, we had the pleasure of visiting with an old friend of the show, John Crenshaw, President of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. The NMWF is the oldest and most prominent sportsmen and sportswomen’s advocacy group in New Mexico.
We discussed several topics that are of significant importance to all hunters and anglers here in New Mexico: Transfer of public lands to Local and/or State control and management, the hunt application draw deadline which was yesterday and he gave us a legislative update regarding the very recent New Mexico State Legislature.
With regards to the ongoing controversy surrounding attempts by certain states to take over control of federal lands, we talked about what is happening in our lovely neighbor to the northwest of us, the State of Utah. Their congressional delegation has continued to seek transfer of federal lands to the state as well as rolling back designations made in Utah under The Federal Antiquities Act by former president Obama granted to existing federal public lands that created new National Monuments like Rio Grande Del Norte here in New Mexico. This has been so controversial that big outdoor brands such as North Face, Patagonia and Black Diamond have pulled out of two large outdoor expositions currently held twice per year in Salt Lake City, as they feel these efforts are impacting their businesses and some smaller shows are leaving Utah altogether. The good news for New Mexico is that these shows are considering moving here.
We also spoke about the hunt draw application deadline and discussed several statistics associated with the draw. The one statistic that gained most of our attention was the approximate 8500 landowner elk licenses that go unused. This is a very complicated issue to resolve but efforts are underway, begun by the NMWF, to begin a conversation about how to perhaps redistribute these licenses and/or incentivize the landowners who have these surplus licenses to provide hunting opportunities to hunters to who were not successful during the draw.
Another topic of conversation was a couple of bills that are of importance to the NMWF. First was the passing by both houses of the legislature by significant margin a bill that made the illegal hunting of trophy wildlife a felony instead of a misdemeanor. Game and fish officer too often find headless carcasses of dear, elk and antelope that were killed illegally for only their trophy head to be presumably sold to others. This felony designation will allow more tools to law enforcement to bring these unscrupulous game thieves to justice. This is currently on the governor’s desk awaiting action. Another was the ban on coyote killing contests. This bill cleared committee and made great progress during this legislature but time just ran out and it wasn’t passed.
Like always, we had a very interesting and informative visit with John Crenshaw with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. Stay tuned for another Great Outdoors-New Mexico program only on 99.9 FM and 810am KSWV next Thursday at 8:30am.