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No license for Mountain lions in New Mexico


Mountain lion hunting
Photo credit: Getty Images

New Mexico lawmakers have introduced a new bill that would make Mountain lions an unprotected species. Officials estimate that 3,000 to 4,500 Mountain lions inhabit the state and the new bill would overturn current law that requires a license to hunt Mountain lions, creating an open season that proponents of the bill say will help support livestock and other wildlife. 

Sponsored by Rep. Zack Cook (R-Ruidoso), the bill acts as a “cleanup bill” that would help manage the large Mountain lion populations, according to The New Mexican. Former state game and fish director Jim Lane believes that passage of the bill would not push the Mountain lion toward extinction since the cats inhabit parts of the state not accessed by hunters, noting that out of the 2,000 to 2,500 hunting licenses currently sold each year, hunters only manage to kill about 200. 

While the House Agriculture, Water and Wildlife Committee approved the measure in an 8-2 vote last week, there are many opponents of the bill, including the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) and the New Mexico Wildlife Federation (NMWF), which are against the bill because it removes protection for females and cubs. Critics say that the bill also removes legal authority from professionals in the NMDGF to manage Mountain lion complaints and track the current population.

“We wish the sport harvest was a little more successful,” says DGF Director Alexa Sandoval, adding that,“once they become an unprotected species, we have no legal authority over that animal.”
While the bill has passed one committee, it still has to be approved by two more committees before reaching the 70-member House of Representative floor for a full vote.


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Robby W. - posted 4 years ago on 02-05-2016 11:25:13 am

They say they want more lion harvested if that's true one of the best things they can do it remove all the BS gates that block 90% of the roads in the forest. The season now being open year round is good but hunters can't access the country they need to during the winter when most hunters have the best chance of getting a lion.

Kevin Skahan_1688741354680236
Kevin S. - posted 4 years ago on 07-23-2015 03:23:42 am

I just visited a long time friend that's a true mountain man and makes his money off the wilderness. With his dogs and GPS location devices the mountain lions have no chance. Anyone can find fresh kill by spotting vultures, finding fresh tracks then turning the dogs loose.
if there is an open season on them my friend would wipe them out single handed

Thomas A. - posted 4 years ago on 05-12-2015 08:18:38 am

Get rid of them. In my opinion!

David S. - posted 5 years ago on 03-19-2015 05:34:20 pm

Boy I messed up yea it's a prime example of a rancher buying a politician for a favor to be able to kill more than one per hunt. I believe that's what it boils down to.

David S. - posted 5 years ago on 03-19-2015 05:27:29 pm

Having an open season on Mountain Lion's is an open season to extinction. Your going to have any Tom Dick or Harry out there hunting them and making it fun instead of a serious hunt which many would love to do as a sport. It's also cutting into the wildlife research funds which hunting fees help pay for. The only reason it was brought up is most likely a rancher friend or friends asked for a favor to make it legal to do so they when they are out with their cattle at anytime if they see one out of season they can shoot it without getting in trouble. I guess Lions hunting licence must be expensive or they have alot of hands working for them. Don't let it happen! I wonder what was promised in this deal.

Brady J. Miller
Brady M. - posted 5 years ago on 03-19-2015 05:07:33 pm
Las Vegas, NV
goHUNT Team

Hey Francina. Thank you for sending the article. It is great to see hunters banding together to make their voice heard on this issue. Taking away licenses would make this very hard to track the population of Mountain lions in New Mexico.

Francina M. - posted 5 years ago on 03-19-2015 02:17:41 pm

This article is a little behind the times, the bill already got tabled:

Eric B. - posted 5 years ago on 03-19-2015 12:58:14 pm

Giving the mountain lion game animal status is what has brought this animal back from the brink. It is the hunting license fees and constant management of this magnificent animal that has made it the topic of this discussion. It's not the ridiculous posturing or cries of the anti-hunters. They contribute little if anything other than their words.

Cary J. - posted 5 years ago on 03-19-2015 12:47:43 pm
goHUNT Business Member

I'm not sure what you are trying to say Joseph K.? You say, "this is a Game Animal , Not a pest, It has to eat also, No License no hunt, This Animal should be protected.............................................................."

You start out saying a lion is a game animal which I fully agree with and the definition of "game animal" is an animal that is hunted. Then you say the lion should be protected. Which is it a game animal or a protected animal? They can't be both.

The lion should be a game animal that is hunted and here is why. We manage all the other animals that a lion eats through hunting and you can't manage the entire food chain and then leave the very top unchecked. If you do you will end up like California where you have lion attacks on humans every year and lots of problems with lions eating livestock and pets. The government will also have to spend a lot of money and resources dealing with problem lions just like they are doing in California since there is no hunting allowed there.

Arturo M. - posted 5 years ago on 03-19-2015 08:59:01 am

If lion hunting is not licensed they will go the way of the Bison. If population is a problem increase licenses and season length.

Joseph K. - posted 5 years ago on 03-19-2015 08:38:09 am

this is a Game Animal , Not a pest, It has to eat also, No License no hunt, This Animal should be protected..............................................................

John M. - posted 5 years ago on 03-19-2015 07:58:30 am

G&J had a very good response. Allowing additional tags for mountain lions even if they have harvested in a year and even possibly allowing some "incentive" style hunts to so that if someone does harvest a mountain lion (maybe in specific high density areas) they can apply for specific drawings. (a high success bighorn hunt with multiple licenses for successful mountain lion hunters who control mountain lions in specific areas). The mountain lions should remain under the control of the NM game and fish though to assist in preventing the "antis" from organizing to prevent any control.

Cary J. - posted 5 years ago on 03-19-2015 05:40:42 am
goHUNT Business Member

They tried to get this done in Nevada several years ago and didn't fly. The problem with not having tags is that you no longer have records. Then when the antis take it to court and say "they have wiped out the lion population because there is no quotas," the state no longer has harvest records to refute that and then lion hunting will be shut down by the courts. As long as they have tags and can show that the harvest every year is about the same the antis cannot make this argument and the state can show that the population is stable. This is a very bad idea. Just increase the quotas and if they want they can make tags $5 each and sell you as many tags as you want. As hunters we really need to be careful with what we do now days and think about lawsuits by antis because that is what this has come to. I don't like it but it's just a fact.

Cary Jellison
G&J Outdoors

Eric B. - posted 5 years ago on 03-18-2015 02:53:11 pm

We need to keep lions as a game animal. This gives them a level of protection that is really needed. People like myself that intend to hunt them need to go through the minimal training the state gives. As well as purchase licenses. Otherwise it will be a free for all mentality with a shoot on site outcome. They are an incredible animal and deserve our continued management.