Like many states, new Mexico’s an initial lion management setup took the form of paying a bounty for every lion killed. In 1971 the types became a game animal and also the new Mexico department of Game and Fish initiated recreational hunting of lions. Brand-new Mexico is believed to have actually a populace of roughly 2,500 lions. While trophy searching threatens the future the lions in new Mexico, the current authorization the trapping has exacerbated wildlife mortality and set the state back decades in terms of monitoring attitudes and the public’s to trust in the agency.

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History


Bounty Period

Like most states, brand-new Mexico’s an initial lion management plan took the type of paying a bounty for every lion eliminated where the pelt to be turned end to authorities. This program continued in brand-new Mexico till 1970.

Game Management

In 1971, mountain lions ended up being a “protected” species, under the monitoring authority of the new Mexico room of Game and Fish. In that year the room initiated a 4-month regulated hunting season in the southwest corner of the state, through spotted kittens and females attach by kittens safeguarded from gift hunted. Over the years the length of the hunting season, the size of the legal hunt areas, and also the searching harvest limits have been increased to it is in year-long events (April through March) and also include almost all of the state.

In 1983, brand-new Mexico’s agricultural industry, came to with potential livestock depredation, introduced a legislative bill to remove the mountain lions so-called safeguarded status. While the invoice was eventually tabled for lack of information, that did reason NMDGF to produce a in-depth report top top lions in brand-new Mexico (Evans 1983). The reports last recommendations resulted in reducing the 1984 harvest limit and also shortened (for a year) new Mexico’s lion searching season.

In 1999, NMDGF imposed a mountain lion harvest quota system based on Game management Unit (GMU). Brand-new Mexico is divided into 69 GMUs, each through its own lion populace estimates and also hunting quotas.

New Mexico has two irreversible programs which attempt to defend other species by lethally removing mountain lions from details geographic locations. And also as that 2015, traps and snares have the right to be used to aid hunters capture and also kill lions.


legit StatusClassified together a game animal.2019: new Mexico State video game Commission vote to end cougar trapping in certain parts that the state.

Estimated population: brand-new Mexico officials perform their populace estimate at 3,500 animals, i m sorry is most likely too high.

Annual trophy kills: new Mexico has high annual hunt quotas, enabling hunters come take practically 600 lions. In 2019, hunters killed 358 lions in the state.

Like most states, new Mexico’s first lion management setup took the kind of payment a bounty because that every lion killed where the pelt was turned end to authorities. This program continued in brand-new Mexico till 1970.

Recreational Hunting

In 1971, hill lions became a “protected” species, under the administration authority the the new Mexico department of Game and also Fish. In the year the room initiated a 4-month regulated hunting season in the southwest edge of the state, v spotted kittens and females accompanied by kittens protected from being hunted. Over the years the size of the searching season, the size of the legal hunting areas, and also the hunting harvest boundaries have been broadened to it is in year-long occasions (April v March) and also include almost every one of the state.

In 1983, new Mexico’s agricultural industry, came to with potential breed cub depredation, introduced a legislative bill to eliminate the hill lions so-called defended status. While the invoice was ultimately tabled for absence of information, that did reason NMDGF to create a thorough report on lions in brand-new Mexico (Evans 1983). The reports final recommendations brought about reducing the 1984 harvest limit and also shortened (for a year) new Mexico’s lion hunting season.

In 1999, NMDGF implemented a mountain lion harvest quota system based upon Game management Unit (GMU). New Mexico is split into 69 GMUs, each v its very own lion populace estimates and also hunting quotas.

Depredation

Depredation is identified in new Mexico as “property damage by safeguarded wildlife on privately owned or leasehold interest land, where damage value exceeds applicable earnings earned on that site from the wildlife species causing damage.”

NMDGF issues depredation permits versus mountain lions on any type of verified complaint.

Mountain Lion regulate Programs (Preventative Kills)

New Mexico has actually two irreversible programs which effort to safeguard other varieties by lethally removing hill lions from particular geographic locations.

The first program, pass by the NMDGF board of directors in 1985, was in response to an increasing number of livestock reported killed by mountain lions in GMU-30. In 1986, The Commission ordered NMDGF come preemptively kill hill lions uncovered on ranches that had more than 6 confirmed lion depredation events in any kind of 3-year period. A preferably of 14 hill lions have the right to be lethally gotten rid of from GMU-30 in any kind of given year as part of this program. Due to the fact that the program’s inception, at least 206 hill lions have been killed in GMU-30.

The second program was produced by the NMDGF board of directors in 1997 in an answer to decreasing rocky mountain and also desert bighorn sheep populations. Bighorn lamb hunting-tags auction off for large sums the money, thereby giving an financial incentive because that NMDGF to remove natural predators and assist bighorn sheep herds which have been decimated by detrimental climate, deteriorating habitat, and diseases presented by domestic sheep grazing on publicly lands.

In 1999 the board of directors authorized NMDGF to preemptively kill as much as 34 mountain lions yearly from the following five mountain ranges: Peloncillo, Ladron, Hatchets, mountain Andres, and Fra Cristobal. Throughout the first 8 year of the regime (1999-2006) 103 mountain lions were eliminated as component of this program.

Human-Caused Lion Mortalities in brand-new Mexico

Since 1917, (the very first year records are available) at the very least 7,779 hill lions have been reported killed by people in brand-new Mexico.

This figure does no include:

secondary poisoning,orphaned kitten mortalities,death by unknown causes,poaching, andthe “shoot-shovel-and-shut up” practices espoused by part ranchers.

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Since 1971, when they ended up being a “protected” species in brand-new Mexico, at the very least 6,630 mountain lions have been reported killed by humans. Around 90 percent of the total deaths since 1971 were a an outcome of to chat hunting. Around 5 percent passed away for new Mexico’s preemptive mountain lion control programs (livestock & bighorn sheep), with the remaining 5 percent developing as a result of known depredation, road kills, and uncategorized mortalities.

2015 Trapping Proposal

The brand-new Mexico Game and also Fish department (NMGFD) opened up its cougar hunting regulations because that amendments. This just happens as soon as every four years. On august 27, 2015 the NMGFD Commission adopted a proposal to permit the use of snares and also traps to death lions, and also making it easier for deer and also elk hunters come kill any lions they randomly come across. Trapping is a cruel and also indiscriminate exercise that injures and also kills millions of wildlife and pets annually. The board of directors ignored the voice of the public and also the science. We lost this round, however the struggle is much from over. Examine out the Action tab to learn more.


The state of brand-new Mexico incorporates 121,356 square mile of land. Follow to the new Mexico room of game & Fish (NMDGF), hill lions “generally inhabit the rougher country in brand-new Mexico preventing the low elevation desert areas and eastern plains. They do yet occur in these areas in conjunction through pockets of mule deer and areas the topographic diversity.”

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In 2008, NMDGF offered a mountain Lion population Density Model based upon a GIS-mapped habitat research funded through the conservation organization, animal Protection of new Mexico. This particular model divided 92 percent of the state into four distinctive mountain lion habitat categories: Core, Minimum Patch, Dispersal, and Poor / Marginal; and assigned population density varieties for each category.

Using this exact same lion population density model, MLF estimates that brand-new Mexico right now has approximately 2,550 mountain lions distributed accordingly:

Core: prime mountain lion habitat able come support around 1 adult lion per 15 square miles. 24 percent the the state is main point (approximately 29,118 square miles), house to an estimated 1,886 adult mountain lions.Minimum Patch: locations of floor able come support about 1 adult lion per 37 square miles. 4 percent of the state is recognized as Minimum job (approximately 4,853 square miles) and also supports an approximated 131 adult mountain lions.Dispersal: locations of floor able come support about 1 adult lion every 77 square miles. 4 percent that the state is recognized as Dispersal (approximately 4,853 square miles), maintain an estimated 63 adult mountain lions.Poor/Marginal: bad quality hill lion habitat with much less resources, only able to support 1 adult lion every 154 square miles. The majority of the state, 60 percent, is considered Poor/Marginal (approximately 72,795 square miles), and also is home to an estimated 471 adult hill lions.

Apparently, officials in ~ NMDGF felt that the population estimates acquired from the 2008 design were as well low. Less than two-years later, NMDGF is now using a radically various mountain lion population density version which seems to be arisen from an unpublished Master’s Thesis. Together a result, new Mexico shows up to have lost 39,448 square mile of mountain lion habitat, when gaining an additional 1,930 adult hill lions. MLF deserve to only assume that NMDGF’s usage of the brand-new 2010 lion population density model is based more on political comes to rather than organic evidence, because that the express purpose of justifying the raised mountain lion hunting quotas since 2010.


In new Mexico’s legit code, Puma concolor is generally referred to together “cougar.”

Species Status

The varieties is classified as a video game mammal, along with javelina, American bison, wild goats, wild bighorn sheep, Barbary sheep, kudu, Oryx, American pronghorn, elk, deer, pikas, squirrels, red squirrels, marmots, and bears. New Mexico’s Wildlife conservation Act applies to hill lions. The Wildlife Conservation action does not limit itself to non-game species and contains over-utilization because that sporting objectives as a variable that might jeopardize a species’ future of survival within the state.

State Law

Generally, treatment of wildlife in the State of new Mexico is administer by the brand-new Mexico law – the state’s collection of laws. Because our review below may not be totally up come date, you have to be certain to testimonial the most current law for the brand-new Mexico.

You can inspect the law directly here. This statutes space searchable. Be sure to use the name “cougar” to achieve your searches.

The Legislature

The New Mexico Legislature is a part-time, bicameral legislature. The lower chamber, the house of Representatives, is composed of 70 members who serve 2-year terms. The top chamber, the Senate, is consisted of of 42 members that are elected to 4-year terms. Details on finding your state legislators can be found here. The democratic Party has managed both dwellings of the new Mexico Legislature since at least 1992. The legislature convenes ~ above the third Tuesday in January each year. The legislature’s continuous sessions critical 60 days in odd-numbered years and also 30 days in even-numbered years. The governor may speak to special sessions and also the legislature may likewise call one-of-a-kind sessions once three-fifths of each house’s members petition the branch to request one. Distinct sessions may only critical 30 days.

State Regulation

The New Mexico State game Commission sets the regulations found in the Natural Resources and also Wildlife section the the New Mexico governmental Code – the state’s collection of department regulations. Along with mountain lions, the rule contain provisions because that the searching of deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, ibex, Barbary sheep, Oryx, turkey, javelina, bear, furbearers, and also upland game.

New Mexico State game Commission

The New Mexico State game Commission is a seven-member plank appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate. When the branch appoints commissioners, their terms are designated one-, two-, three-, or four-year terms so the no an ext than 2 commissioners’ terms expire throughout the very same year. At the very least one commissioner need to manage and operate a farm or ranch that raises at least two species of game animals. At least one commissioner must have actually a demonstrated history of joining in wildlife and habitat defense issues and whose tasks or occupation room not in dispute with wildlife and habitat advocacy. No more than four commissioners might be from the same political party. The the supervisory board is tasked with giving a device for the defense of game and fish in new Mexico and also using and developing natural resources for public recreation and also food supply.

New Mexico department of Game and Fish

The New Mexico room of Game and also Fish (NMDGF) enforces the state’s wildlife laws and also the New Mexico State video game Commission’s regulations. The NMDGF is a department in ~ the executive branch the the brand-new Mexico government.

Hunting Law

Hunting of hill lions is enabled in the State of brand-new Mexico. The regulations administer “recreational” searching of mountain lions specify 19 Cougar administration Zones. Mountain lion hunting season runs from April 1 come March 31 or till a unit’s mortality limit or woman sub-limit is met.

Hound hunting is allowed.

Mountain lions might be pursued with center-fire rifles and handguns, 28 gauge or bigger shotguns, muzzle-loading rifles, bows, and crossbows.

The State game Commission sets brand-new Mexico’s “mortality limit”. Brand-new Mexico set sex-specific quotas and also prohibits the death of kittens and any mrs accompanied kittens. In management zones in which the commission wishes to rise the hill lion population, the border is set at less than or equal to 17% of the area’s hill lion populace and no an ext than 30% that its mrs population. In management zones in i beg your pardon the commission desire to decrease the hill lion population, the border is collection at less than or equal to 25% of the area’s hill lion populace and no much more than 50% of its mrs population.

Depredation Law

Depredation regulation in brand-new Mexico is monitored through the State’s Department the Game and Fish. The legislation reads: “A landowner or lessee, or employee that either, may take or kill an pet on personal land, in i m sorry they have an ownership or leasehold interest, including game animals … that presents an immediate threat to person life or an immediate threat of damages to property, including crops; provided, however, the the acquisition or death is reported to the department of game and also fish within twenty-four hours and before the removed of the carcass of the pet killed, in accordance v regulations embraced by the commission.” there is a government-funded compensation program for accident of domestic pets to mountain lions. Owners of domestic pets do not show up to be forced to take certain steps to protect their pet or livestock.

Trapping

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On April 4, 2021, new Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law Senate invoice 32, i m sorry bans bans traps, snares, and poisons top top public lands across brand-new Mexico. Passage of SB 32 likewise protects outdoor recreationists and their companion animals from cruel and also indiscriminate traps, snares, and also poisons on public lands across the state.

According come WildEarth Guardians, “Since 2008, exclusive trappers in brand-new Mexico have actually killed virtually 150,000 indigenous wildlife types such together bobcats, swift foxes, badgers, beavers, ermine, and coyotes. Critically endangered species, such as the mexico gray wolf, have additionally been killed and injured in traps, consisting of two wolves caught in trap in new Mexico in the past six months.”

Poaching

Poaching law in the State of brand-new Mexico gives some protection of hill lions in law, yet only as a deterrent. That is rarely for penalty to be saturated harsh to save poachers native poaching again. Poaching is a misdemeanor in new Mexico. The first conviction is punishable by imprisonment for up to 6 months and a fine depending upon the specific offense: illegally taking, attempting come take, killing, recording or possessing a hill lion throughout a closed season results in a well of $400 per animal; searching mountain lions without a valid license outcomes in a $100 fine; exceeding the bag limit outcomes in a $400 fine; attempting to exceed the bag limit is punished by a $200 fine. A 2nd conviction is punishable by approximately 364 job of imprisonment and a fine based on the offense: illegal taking, attempting to take, killing, catching or own a hill lion throughout a closed season results in a $600 every animal; hunting mountain lions without a valid license outcomes in a $400 fine; exceeding the bag limit outcomes in a $600 fine; attempting to exceed the bag border is punished by a $600 fine. A 3rd or subsequent conviction is punishable by imprisonment between 90 and also 364 days and also a fine depending upon the nature the the offense: illegal taking, attempting come take, killing, capturing or possessing a mountain lion in a closeup of the door season results in a $1,200 fine; searching mountain lions there is no a precious license results in a $1,000 fine; exceeding the bag limit results in a $1,200 fine; attempting to exceed the bag limit is punished through a $1,000 fine.

Public safety Law

New Mexico law permits any landowner, lessee, or employee of one of two people to kill any kind of mountain lion on your land that “presents an prompt threat to person life.” The killing must be reported to the new Mexico room of Game and Fish in ~ 24 hours and also before the carcass is removed in accordance v commission regulations.

Road Mortalities

The New Mexico department of Transportation does not keep documents of hill lions killed on the State’s roads.

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Relationship of hill Lions to native Prey

While historic native food for hill lions, competition with sport hunters because that bighorn sheep has led come a conflict over lethally removing hill lions to rise prey populations. Under state policy, the New Mexico department of Game and also Fish can kill hill lions that are thought to be threaten the survival of bighorn sheep in any kind of area with bighorn sheep ranges.