Court orders New Mexico to release contact information for all big game applicants
If you were successful during New Mexico’s big game drawing in the last five years, your contact information will be released to James Whitehead and Aubrey Dunn. This week, a First Judicial District Court judge ordered the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) to provide “the names and addresses of all successful big game applicants for the years 2015 through April 23, 2019” to Whitehead, according to the agency. Further, email addresses for anyone who applied for state hunting licenses between 2015 and 2016 will be provided to former Land Commissioner Dunn per the New Mexico Court of Appeals.
According to NMDGF, Dunn asked for names and email addresses of more than 300,000 applicants for the state’s hunting licenses while Whitehead asked for “detailed draw results, names and addresses of all successful applicants, units applied for and units drawn.” While the agency initially gave names to both Dunn and Whitehead in 2017, NMDGF said that they do “not give out addresses of license buyers pursuant to the Cox Rule,” according to the Los Alamos Reporter. Whitehead responded with, “How do we as citizens verify that Game and Fish are conducting the draw fairly?” and filed the lawsuit, which made its way to the First Judicial District Court.
The requests have to be honored because the information is considered public domain. Both requests were filed using the state Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA), which requires the disclosure of public records, according to the courts.
“The Department argued against the release, but ultimately lost,” said Director Michael Sloane. “We value the privacy of our customers’ personal information but recognize that is the courts' interpretation of the current IPRA law.”
The information was released yesterday, March 19. If you feel you are being harassed because of the release of this information, you can file a complaint here or call 1-844-255-9210.