On August 22,the New Mexico State Game Commission began considering changes to regulations on trapping in the state proposed by New Mexico Game and Fish. Unfortunately, these changes are negligible and do almost nothing to alleviate New Mexicans’ concerns about trapping in the state.
As introduced, the proposal includes closing approximately only .5 percent of public lands to most traps on land, some technical requirements on how to set traps, mandatory trapper education, and increased setbacks from trailheads (but not from trails or roads). The proposal also calls for expanding to year-round trapping seasons for raccoons and nutria and increasing the timeframe a trapper has to check on underwater traps. Several game commissioners encouraged department staff to consider additional measures to appease trappers.
The proposal comes despite the success of a bill to restrict commercial trapping on public lands, “Roxy’s Law,” which made unprecedented progress in the New Mexico legislature earlier this year. Activists believe the legislation is necessary for protecting New Mexicans, companion animals, native wildlife, and public lands—and they fear the weak rule changes are meant to undermine the legislation with minor, superficial adjustments to the status quo: “The Department is trying to dance around the margins of the problem while the real solution is to get traps and snares off of public lands altogether,” said Guardians’ Chris Smith.
Read the press release.