New Mexico officially implements trapping ban

A ban on the use of traps and snares on public lands in New Mexico went into effect April 1, 2022, according to a news release from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. The Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act was signed into law by the state legislature by a single vote in 2021. It makes it illegal to use “a trap, snare, or poison for wild animals for the purpose of capturing, injuring or killing an animal on public land”.

Rural residents and state wildlife managers opposed the ban, instead asking that new rules passed in early 2020 by the Game and Fish Commission be given time to work. These rules required trappers to take a training course and placed restrictions on setting traps near designated trailheads and on certain public lands.

This law had been controversial among trappers and animal rights groups, and the sharp divisions between the two groups persisted during the 2021 discussion of the Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act. Preparation for the vote on the law involved “emotionally charged debates in legislative sessions and state Gaming Commission meetings, with supporters and critics often separated by a rural divide,” according to the Associated Press. -urban”.

State Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell, a Republican from Roswell who is a rancher, criticized the bill – which became known as “Roxy’s Law” after a cattle dog died after being caught in a trap – to rely on emotion, not science. “Little or no consultation has taken place between proponents of the bill and sponsors, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fisheries, the farming community, the ranching community, the sports community of outdoors or the trapping community,” Ezzell said, as reported by New Mexico. Mexico Policy Report. “Again, there is a big disconnect between rural New Mexico and urban New Mexico.”

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More than 47 percent of New Mexico’s 77 million acres are public land, which is the 9and highest percentage among US states. With the new law, New Mexico becomes the latest of several Western states to enact bans or restrictions on trapping. Colorado prohibits trapping, snares, and poison on public and private lands, and Arizona prohibits the use of foot traps and snares on public lands with some exceptions. California and Washington also impose strict limits on trapping.

New Mexico’s trapping ban does not apply to tribal lands and provides exemptions for scientific research, ecosystem management and rodent control. Trapping on private land is still permitted.

Denise W. Whigham