The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish takes its hunting laws seriously, as eight men in Clovis, New Mexico found out. The Department of Game and Fish reported on February 10, 2015 that the men have been convicted of illegal hunting.
The eight admitted to numerous charges, including killing deer and turkeys and possession of the carcasses without a license, hunting without a license and out of normal deer and turkey hunting seasons. The fines amount to $7,189 and are the result of an incident that occurred back on November 10, 2014. In that incident, the men were caught hunting within the Ellion Barker Wildlife Area. This was an area that was closed to hunting at the time that they were apprehended. Another hunter who wasn’t hunting at the time initially filed a report when he spotted a deer hanging outside of a hunting camp in an area he knew to be closed.
In all, the men were charged with 34 offenses between them and plead guilty to 13 of them. A rifle was also confiscated at the time of the arrest. Two of the men had licenses at the time, but for the wrong unit. The illegal activity took place in unit 55, near Cimarron, New Mexico.
The amount they were ordered to pay in penalties included court costs, fines, civil penalties and donations to Operation Game Thief, according to New Mexico Game and Fish. Operation Game Thief is a program that is designed to let the public report poaching and other illegal hunting and fishing activities. Operation Game Thief has a web page set up specifically for reporting violations and they also have a phone number that can be used to make reports (1-800-432-4263 or 1-800-432-GAME). Clearly the program works, judging by this case.
This is a great way for the public to get involved in preventing illegal hunting activity, which has a negative impact on hunters throughout the state. The person who reported these crimes did the right thing.
Every year, countless game animals are taken illegally. The unlawful activity happens in New Mexico and elsewhere. This makes the job of managing animal populations for sustainable harvests extremely difficult. It also puts a heavy burden on law enforcement agencies. This means that they rely on the assistance of hunters and other people who use the land. If population numbers drop due to poaching, it hurts all the law-abiding hunters in New Mexico. People are urged to get as involved as possible, in as many ways as they can. While most hunters are responsible, it is unfair to the public and everyone who is involved for people to take game illegally. The perpetrators may not think that they are causing much of a problem, but they really are in a number of ways.
Operation Game Thief is one program that is designed to curtail the problem. It helps the deer and other game, the honest hunters, the wildlife managers and the general public. It costs nothing to report someone who is unlawfully taking game or fish in New Mexico, and it is hoped that more individuals will come forward when they see people poaching. It is a responsibility that many hunters are proud to carry.
These eight men will no doubt be taking quite a while to pay off their fines and fees. It is hoped that they will consider their folly the next time they consider it. New Mexico does take the management of game and fish seriously. New Mexico Game and Fish have the laws in place to help with their task. Law enforcement in New Mexico has no problem with arresting game law violators. All of this considered, here is some sage advice for those who are considering poaching: Don’t do it!