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Game Commission Re-cap
August 23, 2018
The NM State Game Commission hosted their most recent meeting in Gallup. This was the first meeting for fisheries biologist Mike Sloan in his new position as the Director of NMDGF. The agenda was long and covered many highly important topics. There was also a high turnout of landowners, outfitters, and sportsman in attendance to provide public comment on the elk rule and E-plus changes.
The Dept. presented the Commission with information on individuals who have accrued 20 or more game violation points within a 3-year period. There was one guide on the list who was denied the renewal of his license based on a history of violation. The guide, Hayden Pierce, is not and has never been a member of NMCOG.
A number of individuals were revoked due to accruing 20 or more violation points in a 3yr period. All license privileges were revoked for the standard 3-year period.
SUBSEQUENT DISCUSSION OF POTENTIAL CHANGES TO THE DEER RULE
Wildlife Chief Stewart Liley presented to the Commission the Dept.’s updated recommended changes to the Deer rule. These recommendations have NOT been approved and were presented for discussion purposes only however, based on the statutory rule posting requirements these proposals will very likely be what is approved by the Commission in November. If you still need to send public comment to the Dept. please do so ASAP by sending an email to DGF-Deer-Rules@state.nm.us. The changes to the rule are as follows:
- Adjust some seasons for calendar dates
- Adjust draw license numbers based on biological data and management goals (see details below)
- Separate archery season into September and January (2 different seasons and draws) when a split
September and/or January season currently exists (see Table 1 at end of document)
- Create some new opportunities (see details below)
- Standardize most youth hunts to a 9-day hunt surrounding Thanksgiving week
Region Specific Proposed Changes
- Allow Either Sex (ES) white-tailed deer hunting for all white-tailed deer hunts in the northeast
- GMU 55: create new September archery hunt of 10 licenses in Valle Vidal
- Create new archery hunt of 10 licenses in Colin Neblett
- Create January archery hunt of 10 licenses in GMU 41
- License increases based on biological data (5% overall)
o GMUs: 41, 42, 43, 45, 47, 48, 57, 58, 59
- GMU 30: split 2 rifle hunts evenly (800/hunt; previously 1st rifle hunt was 640 and 2nd rifle hunt
was 960 licenses)
- GMU 31/33: Decrease youth licenses on Huey WMA from 2 hunts of 20 to 2 hunts of 10 licenses
each (the Department no longer has management authority over Brantley and Seven Rivers)
- Do not split GMUs 31 & 32
- License increases based on biological data (3% overall)
o GMUs: 28, 30, 31, 32, 36
- GMU 19: create any-legal-weapon hunt of 5 licenses on White Sands Missile Range; move off range
muzzleloader hunt from October to first weekend in December
- GMU 23: Reduce licenses by 13%
- GMU 24: Reduce licenses by 10%
- GMU 23 (Burros): Reduce licenses by 13%, decreasing from 2 regular any-legal-weapon hunts to
1, but lengthening the season to 9 days (35 licenses for mule deer and 40 licenses for white-tailed
deer [mule deer and white-tailed deer hunters will hunt at separate times]). Also, create a new
white-tailed deer hunt of 20 archery licenses in September.
- Allow Burros Archery hunters to hunt Silver City Management Area
- Move January FAWTD archery hunt from Jan. 1-15 to Jan. 16-31
o GMUs 23 (Burros & excluding Burros area), 24, 27
- Other license decreases based on biological data (6-8%)
o GMUs: 26, 27
- GMU 4: Create limited public and private hunt in late November (10 licenses each); Include
Sargent in draw for WMAs; Create September archery hunt for WMAs
- GMU 5A: Create late September muzzleloader hunt (public licenses = 10; private licenses = 50)
- GMU 5B: Create September archery hunt (10 licenses) and late September muzzleloader hunt (10
- GMU 14: Create January archery hunt (25 licenses)
- License increases based on biological data (5% overall)
o GMUs: 2B, 2C, 5A, 5B, 6A/C, 7, 8, 14
- License decreases based on biological data (4-7%)
o GMUs 10, 12
SUBSEQUENT DISCUSSION OF POTENTIAL CHANGES TO THE ELK RULE
Wildlife Chief Stewart Liley presented to the Commission the Dept.’s updated recommended changes to the Elk rule. These recommendations have NOT been approved and were presented for discussion purposes only however, based on the statutory rule posting requirements these proposals will very likely be what is approved by the Commission in November. If you still need to send public comment to the Dept. please do so ASAP by sending an email to DGF-Elk-Rules@state.nm.us The changes to the rule are as followed:
- Adjust seasons for calendar date shifts.
- Youth Encouragement hunts limited to resident youth who put in for the draw but were unsuccessful. If hunts are undersubscribed after 14 days, allow license to be sold to resident seniors (65 years and older) who put in for the draw and were unsuccessful.
- Move Antler Point Restriction (APR) hunts into the big game draw (GMUs 12, 34, 37)
- Adjustment to Core Occupied Elk Range (COER) boundaries in the primary elk management
zone (see details below and see EPLUS proposal for additional details).
o COER/primary elk management zone: the portion of land designated by the Department
as containing the majority of routine elk use, this is the area on which elk management
goals and harvest objectives are based.
- Adjust licenses to the current public-private split where COER boundary adjustments occur and
in situations where land ownership has changed.
Region Specific Proposed Changes
- GMU 42/47/59: Combine units to create new ES hunts; 1 any-legal-weapon hunt Oct.1-5 of 5
licenses and 2 new archery hunts in September of 10 licenses each.
- GMU 48: Move Dec. MB hunt to Oct.
- Separate youth only (YO) and adult hunts on Valle Vidal.
- Combine Colin Neblett north and south hunt zones.
- GMU 56: Create new any-legal-weapon MB (Oct 1-5) and antlerless hunts of 5 licenses each.
- GMU 57/58: Create new any-legal-weapon MB Oct. 1-5 hunt of 5 licenses.
- GMUs 46, 54, 55A: Establish Special Management Zones (see EPLUS rule change presentation).
- GMU 30: Create Oct.1-5 hunt of 10 ES licenses (any-legal-weapon).
- GMU 34: Increase female harvest.
o Increase draw A licenses to 3 hunts of 350 licenses and maintain youth A licenses at 120.
o Change MB hunts to ES hunts.
o Expand COER boundaries east and west.
o Change late season archery APR hunts in 34 to APR/A hunt and put in public draw.
- GMU 36: Increase MB and ES licenses by 15%.
- GMU 37: Move 10 MB licenses to new Oct. 1-5 hunt (any-legal-weapon). Do not create COER
- GMU 38: Create Oct. 1-5 hunt of 10 ES licenses (any-legal-weapon).
- GMU 13: Adjust COER boundary to the northwest (include the Narrows area).
- GMU 19: Create a new any-legal-weapon draw elk hunt of 3 ES licenses.
- GMU 21A & B: Create late season MB archery hunt of 15 licenses in each sub-unit.
o Extend 21B COER boundary south.
- GMU 23: Create late season MB archery hunt of 15 licenses.
- GMU 2: Remove quality management designation and
- GMU 4: Change bag limit on Wildlife Management Areas and private land from MB à MB/A,
create new antlerless hunt of 15 licenses (any-legal-weapon) on Rio Chama WMA, include Rio Chama as part of the Humphrees archery hunt.
- GMU 9: Eliminate all cow hunts and reduce MB & ES hunts by 25%.
o Adjust COER boundary to the east to include elk winter range.
- GMU 12: Create COER boundary to establish the “Fence Lake herd unit” with a “quality hunt
o This would move GMU 12 into the Departments primary elk management zone resulting
in the GMU being subject to the public/private split and private licenses being allocated
- GMU 14: Create Oct. 1-5 hunt of 10 ES licenses (any-legal-weapon).
- GMU 6B: Eliminate mobility impaired hunts, increase youth hunts from 35 to 60, and change
MB bag limit to ES and increase ES bow hunts by 5 licenses each.
SUBSEQUENT DISCUSSION OF POTENTIAL CHANGES TO THE E-PLUS RULE
The Dept. presented their subsequent changes to the E-plus. The Dept. is proposing to determine a definition for “meaningful benefit” and create a scoring criterion for properties to determine their level of “meaningful benefit”. Properties will be required to meet a minimum level of “meaningful benefit” to qualify for E-plus. This will help weed out a lot of properties that are currently enrolled in the Small Contributing Ranch program that are not truly providing benefit to the species or habitat. Under the new system SCR ranches will be issued tags based on their benefit to the species under the following categories:
Ranches that are contributing more to the habitat will have a better opportunity to receive tags. Also, any change or re-deeding of properties would result in an immediate re-evaluation of the property. This will hopefully dissuade landowners from attempting to play the system. Additionally, unconverted bonus allocations within the large landowners will be passed along to the ranches in the SCR program.
The Dept. has also determined that the COER terminology is confusing to most people. They are proposing to do away with the term inside and outside the COER and rather use elk management zones. They are also proposing going over the counter in several areas that are currently designated as “outside the COER”. These over the counter private land tags will be transferable with written permission. All tags in this segment will be ES. There will be consistent season dates and weapon types across this segment. Exceptions will exist on a case by case basis.
· Develop Commission approved Guidelines for program administration
· Define “meaningful benefit” based on biological criteria
· Use habitat-based evaluation to screen all properties currently in EPLUS
· Re-evaluate any properties with acreage changes
· Remove properties that don’t provide meaningful benefit
· Route Bonus and Unconverted authorizations through the SCRs first
· Eliminate SCR draw history system
· Develop a weighted draw for SCR properties
· Make outside COER private land tags available over-the-counter
· Added Antlerless as a tag option for outside COER (Secondary Mgt. Zone)
· Added proposed hunt dates for outside COER (Secondary Mgt. Zone)
· Allowed for a specific ranch code to be required before a hunter could buy an elk license OverThe-Counter.
FINAL PROPOSAL FOR CHANGES TO THE EXOTICS RULE
The Dept. presented their final proposals on the exotics rule. The Commission voted to approve the new 4-year rule unanimously.
SUBSEQUENT DISCUSSION ON POTENTIAL CHANGES TO MANNER AND METHOD RULE
Colonel Griego provided the Commission an update on their proposed changes to the rule that is basically the guts of NM hunting regulation. While this presentation was officially considered the “subsequent” discussion, it was actually the first time we’ve been able to see what the Dept. is considering changing in the rule. Which means you have less time than usual to voice your public comment to the Dept. It seems that the Dept. realizes this and as such they will be hosting several public meetings across the state where you can hear the rule changes, ask questions, and provide feedback. The public meeting schedule is as below followed by the Dept. recommended changes to the rule. If you wish to email public comment to the Dept. please send your emails to DGF-FieldOpsComments@state.nm.us
Public Meeting Schedule
Potential Rule Changes
Odds and Ends
The Commission approved the Dept.’s opening of the 14-day comment period on the Biennial Review of the Wildlife Conservation Act (WCA) which is the document that the Dept. puts together to describe the condition of the states species of conservation concern. The Commission also heard updates on the new Albuquerque and Roswell offices and were provided a presentation on the Dept.’s 2020 budget.
Next Commission Meeting October 4th, 2018 – Albuquerque, NM