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Game Commission Re-cap
October 25, 2019
The NM State Game Commission held their most recent meeting in Farmington on Friday Oct. 25th. Public attendance was sparse.
DEPT. HABITAT ENHANCEMENT AND RESTORATION PRESENTATION
Dept. Wildlife Chief Stewart Liley provided the Commission with a presentation on the status of the Dept’s habitat enhancement and restoration efforts. Essentially it was a discussion on how the funds generated by the habitat management stamps are allocated for on the ground projects. Chief Liley indicated that the funds are primarily focused on Dept. owned properties first and foremost. He also emphasized that while the habitat management fund is a highly monitored area of funding (through the Citizen Advisory Committee) it is actually the smallest pool of funding that the Dept. generates. Because of this the Dept. has been working on ways to utilize these funds in ways that will give the Dept. the best bang for their buck. This strategy includes working with government agencies such as the US Forest Service, BLM, and other non-governmental organizations to build additional funding structures to enhance the benefit provided by each habitat improvement project.
SUBSEQUENT DISCUSSION ON THE FAIR CHASE RULE
The Dept. provided a subsequent presentation on the development of a rule that deals with the idea of restricting public availability of wildlife tracking data. The rule is in response to Senate legislation that was signed into law during the past legislative session. The legislation provides for a prohibition on the distribution of wildlife location data collected by the Dept. Basically the Dept. now has the ability to delay releasing collar or other location gathering data so as to prevent hunters or other public individuals from knowing exactly where wildlife are located at any given time. The rule would also withhold (temporarily) some of the Dept. aerial and ground survey data. This agenda item was presented to the Commission for discussion purposes only and will voted on for final adoption at the November meeting.
UPDATE ON THE MEXICAN WOLF RECOVERY PLAN
The Dept. provided a presentation on their request to rejoin the MOU with the Fish and Wildlife Service as it relates to the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program. The Dept. feels that this step will do several things for the Dept. Signing onto the MOU will provide the Dept. with the status of “cooperating agency” and will allow the Dept. to have more hands-on involvement with the recovery efforts. With this partnership the Dept. would assign 2 employees to be involved with the recovery efforts full time. The Dept. feels that being more involved will help them to have a better understanding of wolf population numbers as well as to deal with livestock depredation issues (which have increased exponentially over the past year). The Commission voted in favor of rejoining the MOU.
The Dept. also updated the Commission on the details of the recovery efforts planned for 2020. The USFWS plans to cross foster as many puppies as are logistically possible during 2020. The Commission authorized the Director to allow the 2020 plan for cross fostering and to allow for the importation of wolves into captive facilities in NM for management purposes.
SPECIAL DRAW ALLOCATION PROCESS
Chief Liley provided the Commission with a brief summary of how the big game draw functions. First and foremost, the Commission sets the level of take by Rule every 4 years. Every year when the application period ends for the draw, each individual application is assigned a random sequence number. A computer program then examines each application in numerical order starting with the application randomly assigned #1. When an application
is examined, the computer attempts to fulfill the first, second, then third hunt choices subject to the quotas (84% resident, 10% outfitter pool, 6% non-resident DIY).
The Dept. always runs into an issue in making this draw allocation work exactly according to the quota statute because there is an inherent flaw in the mathematics written into the law. According to the statute the Dept. must allocate a minimum of 84% to resident hunters (the 10% and 6% pool do not have that caveat). The statute also states that if the allocation results in a fraction of a tag than the Dept. shall round-up for anything over 0.5 and otherwise round down. However, mathematically it is impossible to follow both requirements in the statute. In the past the Dept. has handled this fractional remainder by adding tags to the draw. However, Department Director Mike Sloane does not wish to continue this practice. The Commission voted to approve the issuance of permits strictly based on the minimum 84% (no longer adding tags to the draw).
ODDS AND ENDS
The Dept. provided the Commission with a presentation regarding legislation (Recovering America’s Wildlife Act) moving through Congress that would provide for federal funding for non-game species. The Commission voted to approve writing a support letter in favor of the legislation. The Dept. also provided a presentation on the 2019 Nuisance Abatement report. In 2019 racoons dominated the complaints by individuals of nuisance wildlife. Over 30% of all reports were racoon related followed by bear, elk, beaver, and cougar.
During the general public comment segment of the meeting opposition was expressed by several entities to the Certification of Non-navigable Waters Rule. In response, the chairwoman requested that the Non-navigable Water Rule be put on the agenda for the November meeting.
Next Commission Meeting – November 21, 2019 (Roswell, NM)
COMMISSIONER CONTACT INFORMATION
(You are welcome and encouraged to contact the Commissioners any time to voice your opinion)
Joanna Prukop - Chairwoman
District 4: Santa Fe, Taos, Colfax, Union, Mora, Harding, Quay, San Miguel, Guadalupe and Torrance counties.
Roberta Salazar-Henry – Vice Chairwoman
District 2: Catron, Socorro, Grant, Hidalgo, Luna, Sierra and Doña Ana counties.
District 1: Curry, De Baca, Roosevelt, Chaves, Lincoln, Otero, Eddy and Lea counties.
District 3: San Juan, McKinley, Cibola, Valencia, Sandoval, Los Alamos and Rio Arriba counties
District 5: Bernalillo county.
Appointed At-large – Conservation Position