Draft: 9-12-02 MINUTES



San Juan College

Rooms 9010 – 9012

4601 College Boulevard

Farmington, New Mexico 87402

August 23, 2002

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 1. Meeting Called to Order

The meeting was called to order at 9:04 a.m.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 2. Roll Call

Chairwoman Stevens calls the meeting to order and requests roll call:

Director Bell calls roll.

Commissioner Thomas Growney Present

Commissioner Tamara Hurt Absent

Commissioner George Ortega Absent

Commissioner Steve Padilla Present

Commissioner James Weaver Present

Commissioner Ray Westall Present

Director Bell states there is a quorum.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3. Introduction of Guests

The Honorable Representative Nick Tinnin welcomes the New Mexico State Game Commission to Farmington.

Chairwoman Stevens requests introduction of the audience.

Members of the audience introduce themselves.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 4. Approval of Minutes (June 21, 2002)

MOTION: Commissioner Growney moves to accept the June 21, 2002 minutes. Second made by Commissioner Weaver.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 5. Approval of Agenda

Director Bell respectfully requested Agenda Number 9 be withdrawn from the agenda. Dan Brooks stated Kathy Riley informed him that she would not be attending the meeting. Director Bell went on to say the issue was a denial of an import request for the UU Bar Ranch. They requested to import elk into the state, the request was denied, and they requested an appeal. In the meanwhile, the UU Bar Ranch has been sold to new owners.

MOTION: Commissioner Weaver moves to accept the agenda with change, deleting Agenda Item No. 9; Second by Commissioner Westall.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 6. Consent Agenda

MOTION: Commissioner Padilla moves to separate the consent agenda into two items. First part being the failure to pay penalty assessment and second, non-compliance for parental responsibility act.

Dan Brooks said there was another individual that had a hearing to do with a wildlife violation.

Commissioner Padilla explained that when the parental responsibility act became law (which cancels hunting and fishing rights for non-payment of child support), it was a federal order. Commissioner Padilla felt it was an un-funded Federal mandate and that the Department should be reimbursed for loss of licenses. Commissioner Padilla stated that for that reason he has consistently voted against revocation.

Motion dies for a lack of a second.

MOTION: Commissioner Westall moves to approve the Consent Agenda as proposed; Second by Commissioner Weaver.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. 3 affirmative, 1 opposed (Commissioner Padilla). Motion carries.


Director Bell stated this agenda item addresses the setting of the Waterfowl seasons for the upcoming year. As the Commission recalled, the Department accommodated some additional dark goose hunting and the final adoption is being requested today.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 7. Waterfowl, Adoption of Waterfowl Rule (19.31.6 NMAC).

Presented by Tim Mitchusson – The Department is recommending the following: Adjust waterfowl season dates and bag limits for the current calendar year. This would provide maximum opportunity for waterfowl hunting while conforming to Federal frameworks and maintaining healthy bird populations. Adjust falconry waterfowl season dates for the current calendar year and expand falconry waterfowl hunting on WMAs each day of the season. This would provide maximum falconry opportunity for waterfowl while conforming to Federal frameworks and maintaining healthy bird populations. Open Bernardo ponds north of U.S. Highway 60 only during the Light Goose Conservation Order. This would provide hunting opportunity for light geese during the Light Goose Conservation order while providing valuable roost habitat to achieve the desired proportion of wintering geese in the upper valley, as outlined in the Middle Rio Grande Plan for the Management of Waterfowl, Sandhill Cranes, and other Migratory Birds. Change application deadline for the special Bernardo and Casa Colorada Light Goose Hunts which would make all the upland game and waterfowl application deadlines concurrent and allow the Department to conduct one drawing for all special bird hunt permits. Change application deadline for the special Bernardo Youth-Only Light goose Hunt. This change would make all the upland game and waterfowl application deadlines concurrent and allow the Department to conduct one drawing for the special hunt permits. Increase the number of permits for the Special MRGV Dark Goose Season and change application deadline. This would provide increased hunting opportunity for dark geese in the MRGV while maintaining a healthy dark goose population. The application deadline change makes all the upland game and waterfowl application deadlines concurrent and allows the Department to conduct one drawing for the special bird hunt permits. Adjust Youth-Waterfowl Hunting Days season dates and bag limits to the current calendar year and initialize youth Waterfowl Hunting Days in the Pacific Flyway. This would provide maximum opportunity for waterfowl hunting while conforming to Federal frameworks and maintain healthy bird populations. The Commission reviewed Hunt dates on the above.


COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Commissioner Growney asked Mitchusson if he had any ideas or thoughts as to why the Federal framework came out the way it did given the drought situation in the northern plains in Canada. Mitchusson stated that besides having the worst pond count in Canada and record low numbers of pintails, under the Adaptive Harvest Management Strategy used by the Fish and Wildlife Service, there were enough mallards returning to those areas and enough ponds to justify the liberal package. Commissioner Padilla said that he gets calls every fall from concerned hunters saying that they can’t hunt because the Department canals have not been flooded. Director Bell responded that those ponds are not normally flooded during the early teal season and the ponds cannot be flooded because the Department’s water rights do not allow flooding prior to October. Commissioner Padilla asked if there would be water to flood them this year? Director Bell said they hoped to have sufficient water to provide that flooding prior to October, but the water situation in the Rio Grande all the way up to Herron and El Vado lakes could be that no one has water. Mitchusson stated a lot of the water that fills up Bernardo and La Joya is ground water seepage from the Unit 7 drain and that the Department will probably be able to flood Bernardo. Tod Stevenson added there are a couple of water management issues that have not been addressed. The Department is meeting with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District to get a better picture of how much water is going to be available in the valley. Currently it looks like all water will be shut off to the Middle Rio Grande irrigation system the middle of September. What has happened historically is that they provide the Department water to start filling the ponds prior to October 1, if the farmer’s needs are a bit less. However, in the last three years, that has not been the situation. The Department, this year, may be forced to pump water from wells to be able to keep water in some of those ponds. Because of the situation at Elephant Butte, the compact agreements with Mexico and Texas may not allow any impoundment or new impoundment of water upstream from Elephant Butte. That may affect the Department’s abilities to impound water on the waterfowl areas. The Department has not had the opportunity to have discussions with the State Engineer’s Office. Director Bell stated the Department could well be impacted by this but will do its best to maintain that right. When Elephant Butte drops below 400,000-acre feet, additional water cannot be stored in any impoundment built after 1929. Elephant Butte is currently below that level. Those impoundments that have water in them, can maintain that level but they are not allowed to get more water. If they apply this to impoundments behind La Joya and Bernardo, these could go dry this year.

MOTION: Commissioner Padilla moves to accept the waterfowl regulations as recommended by the Department; Seconded by Commissioner Growney.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.


AGENDA ITEM NO. 8. State Game Commission Rules on Hunting and Fishing License Revocation (19.31.2 NMAC).

Presented by Dan Brooks – Brought before the Commission is a request to change the language slightly in the revocation rule. This has to do with the landowner authorizations. Brooks stated landowners enter into an agreement every year with the Department to receive elk and antelope authorizations. The agreements specify access criteria for hunters. For consistency, the Department is recommending the language “unrestricted” be added to the revocation rule. Brooks stated the Department has received complaints from public hunters in the past about not being able to hunt all private lands or other limitations being placed on them. The Department recently went through an Alternative Dispute Resolution with an antelope hunter over hunting access. Likewise, the Department has changed these agreements in an effort to insure that public hunters have the same opportunity as private hunters.


COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Commissioner Weaver asked if the landowner wanted to restrict access to a pasture, or has moved his cattle for the duration of a hunt, if that was allowed by the use of that word. Is there flexibility within reason? Brooks stated that that was not so in this agreement, but pointed out that the hunts are very short times. The hunts are often between 2 to 5 days, so hopefully the Department can work around those issues, but the agreement specifically gives the hunter the right to go into all pastures. Commissioner Growney asked if the landowner could agree to carve out a pasture prior to the execution of the agreement? Brooks stated that was somewhat accurate. What happens is there is a certain amount of acreage that people sign up to get in the landowner system. When that acreage is signed up, that is what the Department considers with its formulas of awarding authorizations. At the same time, especially during antelope hunts and depending on the split of public land vs. private land, if that is the basis for the agreement, then that is a place where the public hunter can actually go and hunt. So, in that particular instance, they couldn’t withdraw that land during the hunt. They do have the right to manage that as they see fit and allow or deny access outside of this particular antelope hunting opportunity. Chairwoman Stevens encouraged the sportsmen to take advantage of the hunting opportunity but also to communicate with the landowner. Commissioner Padilla said he was concerned with the change, assuming it is adopted. This is a change for the landowner and in many cases the landowner contracts with an outfitter and the landowner does not get involved with the hunting operation. With this proposal, it is putting the entire burden on the landowner. Commissioner Padilla urged the Department to make sure this change was pointed out to the landowners when they sign up, so they are fully aware that the burden is on them. Director Bell stated that by statute, when a landowner signs up his property for hunting, he is granted one free license. In exchange for that free license, he will provide hunting opportunity to the public on all of the property that was signed up under the agreement. The Department often finds out that what really happens is the public hunters get to the ranch and the landowner says “You go hunt this southern corner and that is the only place you are allowed”. When the Department signs up the entire ranch to hunt and they are given a free license for that access, the public hunter has access to the entire ranch.

MOTION: Commissioner Padilla moves to accept as presented, Second by Commissioner Weaver.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 9. The State Game Commission will consider an importation denial appeal for elk.

Item removed from agenda.

Director Bell asked for the Commissions indulgence in making motions. If they would please include the rule number so that is absolutely clear (on the record) that they have modified a rule pursuant to rule making process.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 10. Upland Game Rule (19.31.5 NMAC) will be opened for amendment.

Presented by Tim Mitchusson – The Department is recommending adjusting September teal season dates and bag limits to the current calendar year (2002-2003). Open areas, species, season dates, and daily bag limits are as follow: Teal, Central Flyway portion, September 14-22 with a bag limit of 4 (singly or in aggregate). Also recommended is adjusting falconry upland game season dates and bag limits to the current calendar year (2002-2003). The recommendation is as follows: The season for September teal in the Central Flyway portion shall be open September 14-22. Mitchusson stated amendments to the Upland Game regulations occur on an annual basis due primarily to changes in the Federal frameworks or regulations governing migratory game bird species. Many of the recommendations described reflect those changes in federal frameworks. Other items are included to expand hunter opportunity and simplify and/or standardize regulations statewide or adjust the seasons for the current calendar year. Recommendations are based on public input from questionnaires, harvest surveys and the Department’s website. The Department’s recommendations include input from area supervisors and game managers.


Doug Auckland - Bob Auckland - Asked if it was strictly teal season or all upland game? Director Bell stated it was strictly teal.


MOTION: Commissioner Growney moves to adopt the new regulations that are Title 19, Chapter31, Part 5, Upland Game Regulation; Second by Commissioner Westall.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 11. Landowner appeals to the Commission.

Presented by Luis Rios – Mr. Anthony Tafoya, Unit 51 landowner, Ranch No. 22579 has filed a Commission level appeal to change his single either-sex, ranch-only elk authorization to unit wide. Mr. Tafoya was unable to be present but requested Mr. Rios present his case to the Commission. The Department has determined that Mr. Tafoya’s ranch, due to its acreage and elk use relative to other ranches in Game Management Unit 51, did not qualify for authorization certificates under the required formula, therefore the Department is recommending Mr. Tafoya’s appeal be denied.


COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Commissioner Growney asked how many depredation complaints Mr. Tafoya registered with the Department? Rios stated one complaint within the last few months but from the reports Mr. Tafoya may be going through these steps to obtain a forage lease and to obtain fencing for his property. Chairwoman Stevens asked if his main complaint is that he falls within the gray area as far as the acreage goes? Rios stated that was so. He would like the unit wide option so that his authorization would be marketable. Chairwoman Stevens said that there needed to be guidelines and acreage limits. Chairwoman Stevens stated it was her feeling that the Commission needed to stick with the plan as it is. Commissioner Padilla asked if Tafoya had surface water? Rios said, from Officer Overby’s report, Mr. Tafoya has the ability to irrigate but has not done so. He also said Tafoya had cleared some brush. Commissioner Padilla asked that if the authorization went unit wide would it be for hunting in the national forest? Rios stated that was so. Commissioner Padilla asked why Mr. Tafoya was not here today. Rios stated Mr. Tafoya did not return his call until a few days ago and he felt it was too short notice. Chairwoman Stevens asked how much notice Mr. Tafoya was given. Rios stated he had called Mr. Tafoya about 7-8 days ago and he returned a call only 2 days ago.

MOTION: Commissioner Westall moves to decline the appeal and support the Department’s stand, Second by Commissioner Weaver.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

Chairwoman Stevens introduced Sandra Frank, filling in as Commission Attorney today.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 12. Approval of 2003-2004 Budget Request

Presented by Patrick Block – Block stated the Department is preparing to ask the Commission to adopt its budget request. The Department is ready to close on Eagle Nest Lake and that is going to have an impact on the Game Protection cash balance. A brief overview was presented to the Commission on some of the trends in license sales. Items reviewed were vendor license sales, resident and non-resident hunting and fishing license sales, special hunts, public drawing, private land license sales, private and public land elk authorizations. Charts of the above showed increases and decreases.


Block briefly explained the relationship between revenue, expenditures and the cash balance for the Game Protection Fund. This consisted of showing how the Game Protection Fund cash balance has increased in the past few years along with the long term cash balance projections. Other topics of discussion were the seasonal nature of license sales; flat expenditures; seasonal revenues and budget requests. Block stated the Department must continue to project into the future in order to manage the cash balance and provide services to the citizens of New Mexico. The current cash balance will not last forever and if spending continues at the current level, the next fee increase will be needed during the 2004 Legislative Session and take effect April 1, 2005. If the increase does not pass, postponing the warm water hatchery by one year will move the need for a fee increase back to 2006. Block concluded by saying the Department has a healthy cash balance that peaked at the end of fiscal year 2002. The next fee increase will need to take effect in 2005 and cash balance can be used to fund some future operations as well as needed capital projects.

Barbara Morin - The Department is requesting the Commission approve the fiscal year 2003-2004 Budget Request. The total budget requested is $28,322,600. A summary of budget was presented to the Commission and included the following programs within the Department: Sport Hunting and Fishing Program, Conservation Services Program, Depredation and Nuisance Wildlife Abatement Program, Administration Program and Long term cash and license sales.


Doug Auckland, San Juan Archers and Four Corners Bow Hunters – He asked how much money is allocated for predator control and where does the money come from? Director Bell said that the $250,000 comes from the Game Protection Fund that is contributed to by hunters and fishermen by purchasing hunting and fishing licenses. There are a couple of special funds including the Big Game Damage Fund that are used to address wildlife damage on private lands. All that money was included into the Big Game Damage Program for predator control. There is money available for the continuation of the Unit 30 lion control program and continuation of lion removal contracts in the bighorn sheep areas. There is a pre-release predator control program anticipated prior to the release of desert bighorn sheep from Arizona. There is also money available for the continued coyote predator control work with the emphasis on deer management. Morin said in terms of program budgeting, there is one program. That is the Depredation Nuisance Abatement and Wildlife Abatement Program. In that program, $1,086,900 is budgeted towards those issues including predator control. The current budget is $923,800. Morin stated she would be glad to sit with Mr. Auckland to review contracts if he so desired. Mr. Auckland stated the following concern. Are the sportsmen willing to fund habitat improvement, depredation as well as pay a license fee? He would like to see a more of a result from the monies spent on predator control. He is not sure they are getting a fair share of the predators, perhaps because of a lack of funding. Auckland went on to say the Four Corners Bow Hunters would not be opposed to having a predator stamp included within the license fees. This is because they feel that predators must be controlled so hunters have more hunting opportunities.

Ed Machin, NM Wildlife Federation – Feels license increase will be necessary and stated, for the record, NM Wildlife Federation will support that effort. They realize that if a license fee increase is necessary in order to stay in the black, that the increase should probably be initiated as early as possible.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Commissioner Weaver stated it would be interesting to see a simple bar graph showing the amount of funds made available through sport fishing and hunting licenses, Sikes Act, Pitman Robertson’s funds, etc. as opposed to other sources of revenue as they relate to the amounts that go to different programs. Morin stated there was a small pie chart that indicated the fund expenditures and that information will be made available for the Commission. Director Bell summarized. Of the $28 million dollar request, if approved, $250,000 will come from General Fund money. The Share with Wildlife contribution comes from the general public through a check off on their tax form. Everything else comes from hunters and fishermen through license fees. About $8 million dollars will be reimbursed from the Federal Government through Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act. Commissioner Weaver stated it was obvious that someone is not paying their fair share for the amount of effort that is put out by the state’s biologists, both non-game and game. That is something that will have to be looked at in the future. Director Bell said Conservation Services has the Endangered Species Program, Environmental Review Section, Department Lands, Wildlife Areas, and an Educational Component. The total budget request is about $3 million. $125 thousand of that (in the current budget year) is contributed by General Fund money, the rest by the Game Protection Fund. Director Bell stated the Department would provide the Commission with a graph to indicate such. Block stated that hunting and fishing licenses make up around 62% of the budget and that the federal aid reimbursement is about 33%. Morin talked about the other revenue sources that make up the remaining 5%. The General Fund money is less than 1% of the total. Chairwoman Stevens reiterated that they are always looking for other avenues to generate funds. As a sportsmen herself, we need to kept in mind that all other recreational activities sooner or later require some fee increase. If you look at it that way, sportsmen are very lucky because the Department does not have a fee increase very often. Chairwoman Stevens went on to say she has input from hunters and fishermen that would prefer to see a very small annual increase rather than waiting 5, 6 or 8 years and then having a large increase all at once. Input from the public is needed on this.

Doug Auckland – Asked if a club could access the Wildlife Protection money that goes to the Game and Fish Department? Director Bell stated the Sport Fish and Restoration money is an excise tax collected at the manufacturing level on sporting arms, ammunition and fishing equipment. This money comes back directly to the states in the form of Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration money. It is based on the number of licenses that the state sells. If you are speaking of the Wildlife Conservation money that was voted on by Congress, that also comes back to the states and is apportioned in a number of ways. $800,000 is going to be used to fund a Conservation Education Center. $1.2 million will be used to advance non-game programs through more program development. Auckland stated it was his belief that a portion of Pitman Robertson funds are available for shooting and archery clubs to improve their facilities, increase membership and training. Auckland asked, as a club, how this money might be accessed? Director Bell stated the money is obtained through Section 10 and comes to the Hunter Education Program.

MOTION: Commissioner Growney moves to adopt the budget as presented; Second by Commissioner Weaver.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 13. Grijalva Easement at Bear Canyon.

Presented by Tod Stevenson – The Grijalva family would like the State Game Commission to provide them an Easement by Implication in order to continue the use of a small triangular piece (approximately 1.5 acres) of property between the highway and the bottom of the spillway below the Bear Canyon Dam for historic livestock use. The Department presented an easement before the Commission that would allow the heirs and descendants of Adriano Grijalva to continue to use the small triangular tract of land as long as it is used for historic livestock use. This easement still needs to be reviewed by the Grijalva’s attorney. The easement does not grant any water rights or grant permission for the diversion or use of water for any purpose. It would allow the reconstruction of a small pond or ditch upon the demonstration of water rights, ownership or easement and approval by the New Mexico State Engineers Office. The easement would require an appraisal contingent upon approval by the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration, the New Mexico Board of Finance or the New Mexico Legislature depending on the appraisal value in accordance with NMSA 13-6-2, 16-2-1 or 16-2-3 respectively. The Department is requesting guidance of the Commission: Approve as presented, request modifications or approve dependent upon modifications if necessary, with concurrence of Grijalva family and contingent upon final approval and signature by the Chairwoman.


COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Commissioner Westall asked if this was an item that the Commission needed to take action on. Director Bell stated it was not a formal motion because it is not a final agreement but felt what was needed was concurrence from the Commission that these terms and conditions are acceptable giving the Chair permission to sign the document following modifications.

MOTION: Commissioner Westall moves to give the Chair permission to sign the document following modifications. Second made by Commissioner Growney.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

Chairwoman Stevens recognized past Commissioner Gail Cramer as attending the meeting.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 14. Elk Landowner Signup System.

Presented by Director Bell – Often times the current landowner system does not adequately address small landowners. Part of the problem is that 100 elk on 1000 acres has far less impact than that the same 100 elk has on 40 acres of cultivated land. The hunting opportunities are also greater on larger acreages. The current system provides most landowner permits to those with the largest acreage. It is viewed as somewhat unfair because of the impact caused by wildlife on the smaller parcels of land. The Department has been meeting with a number of people on this issue. There was previous Commission direction to improve this system. The Department has met with people in the Chama area, both small and large landowners. Commissioner Padilla has received recommendations from them that seem to be an innovative approach. It is a great example of what can happen if people recognize the problem and come together to work on a solution.

Commissioner Padilla covered the recent results of a meeting held in Chama. Unit 4 is divided along the Chama River. Along the river are a lot of small farmers with irrigated land that raise alfalfa. Because of the drought, the elk that normally live at the top of the mountain are down in the valley. The current system of distributing licenses does not solve the problem for the small landowners. He, along with others from the Department, met with large landowners and guides and outfitters and came up with some ideas. A second meeting was held with the small landowners, hearing their complaints and what they wanted. Both groups finally met together and came up with ideas that they all agreed upon. When the final details are worked out, they will be presented before the Commission for final approval. A document prepared by the local community was distributed to the Commission. Director Bell noted the document states some of the large ranches might voluntarily reduce their authorizations. If this occurs, some of the licenses could be redistributed to the smaller ranches in the unit that support a disproportionate number of elk. The unique ability in Unit 4 is for ranches to exchange trespass privileges. Director Bell stated the efforts are going forward very well and the Department will continue to work on this issue.

Chairwoman Stevens stated this was a non-action item but was willing to take public comment or questions.


Doug Auckland, San Juan Archers and Four Corners Bow Hunters –Auckland asked if the landowners were managing their ranch for wildlife or for cattle? He felt they should be managed for cattle. Director Bell stated some ranches manage for wildlife exclusively, some try to manage for both wildlife and cattle and some exclusively for cattle. As that grass becomes shorter and shorter for whatever reason it increases the amount of elk that are moving into the cultivated areas. Those people get the fewest number of permits, the most amount of damage and thus the least amount of benefit from having wildlife on their property. These types of efforts are trying to address a more equal distribution of permits relative to the amount of elk use without being based solely on the amount of acreage. The Department is also allowing small ranches to sign up their properties under a cooperative agreement so that they can combine acreages under one landowner agreement.

Commissioner Growney commended Director Bell and Commissioner Padilla for the time and effort they put into a very complex problem. Director Bell said that the credit also goes to the people in the local community.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 15 2003 Big Game Regulation Update.

Chairwoman Stevens informed those in attendance that the Department would update the Commission on progress and public concerns regarding the Big Game Regulation. Final action on Regulation will be taken in October.

Presented by Luis Rios – An informational update was presented to the Commission on the public input received for the 2003-2005 Big Game Regulations. Rios stated that an article was published in NM Wildlife listing the proposed changes and it was made available on the Department’s web site. Comments can be sent either by mail or via the web site. General public meetings have been held. But the main thrust of the input effort has been to reach specific groups within the state such as bow hunters, county commissions, cattle growers, outfitters and guides, houndsmen, the Wildlife Federation, RMEF, Safari Club International and many more. These groups have a combined membership of about 3000. Written comments have been obtained from some of the groups and those that have not commented, will be contacted again. Some of the changes the Department is ready to make that have no biological impact and are based on public input are: Keep the adult archery deer hunt in the Sandias. Move the January hunt to a later date and shorten the seasons; Eliminate the proposal for bighorn ewe hunts; Have no increase in ibex permits; Have a 2 turkey spring bag limit, males only; Stabilize and manage for quality elk in units 12, 13 and 17; etc.


Ed Machin – A letter was presented and read to the Commission on behalf of the NM Wildlife Federation. Machin stated it is the position of the NM Wildlife Federation that the proposal to decrease the number of hunters from 75 to 50 for Unit 27 is not based on biological reasons but political ones. It is their recommendation that the number of hunters be increased to 100 or to eliminate the draw. A statement from two wildlife biologists supporting the proposal was also presented. Machin stated public land was for public use and if the changes were made because of the reason given, it was not right. Commissioner Padilla asked Director Bell why the proposal was made. Director Bell stated he was not certain, they would look at what the area had on that and there was not a SW area representative present. Director Bell stated one thing that came forward in the Department’s recommendations on deer was in fact the biology and the Commission’s emphasis on doing what could be done to minimize deer hunting under the current system to bring back the Mule deer. Director Bell stated the Department would check on the exact reason for that decision and respond back to the Commission.

Jim Lomax, Concerned Hunter – Suggested if someone drew a deer, elk or antelope permit this year, you would not be eligible to apply next year. This would increase the chances for those that were not lucky in the draw.

Bill Ferranti, HH Ranch – Thanked the Department for working with the landowners in units 12, 13 and 17. He appreciated the hard work of those involved in the meeting, and it really showed what communication could do. He commended the effort.

Director Bell added that public hunters, guides and outfitter representatives also attended the meeting. The Department is attempting to bring all groups together and agree upon a direction.

Doug Auckland, San Juan Archers, Four Corners Bow Hunters – Thanked Director Bell and Luis Rios for contacting them for input. He was not sure the meeting was as productive as it could have been but felt a lot of sportsmen had an opportunity to vent. A petition and letter was given to the Commission from sportsmen in the area concerning some of the draft proposed changes. The January bow hunt appeared to be the prime concern as was the creation of a Sub-unit 2C. Auckland stated they were opposed to that. Rather than restricting archery hunting opportunities they should be increased.

Jim Grider – His property joins White Sands Missile Range and he and his neighbors are overrun with oryx and 3 miles of fence have been destroyed between he and a neighbor to the south. If the Department considers a change in the landowner population reduction permits, it will help them quite a bit. Currently these permits are issued for patented lands and this does not serve to make a meaningful reduction in the animals off the range. He encouraged the Department to consider making these permits valid for the entire ranch as a unit.

Jim Whitfield – Commented on proposed changes for bear hunting and management programs. Feels a lot of inaccurate information has been put out and any changes should be done on scientific information as well as the types of hunting done. He does not feel bear season should be closed or reduced.

James MacDaniel, Sportsman and Landowner in Unit 37 – He said that the resident elk herd in Unit 37 is alive and well and on the increase. A petition was presented to the Commission stating that according to the Department’s estimates, the population of elk is the largest in five years in the management region that includes Unit 37. Furthermore, elk depredation complaints in the Manzano-Lincoln elk region are among the highest in the state. The petitioners are requesting to combine GMU’s 36 and 37, and to establish regular public and private land elk hunts in both units during the period of 2003-2005.

Gail Cramer –Requested the Department revisit the idea of having a rifle elk hunt at the same time as a muzzleloader elk hunt in the very next unit (Units 51 and 52).

George Hobbs, NM Houndsmen – He requested no change in the proposal for bear, and bring spring season back to reduce large males. On the elk issue, Unit 16B of the Forest Service plan allocates 20% utilization of forage for elk. In the last 3 years it has been running less than 5%. He feels that some areas need to be looked at and authorizations cut back to rebuild the herds.

Leslie Gililand, Houndsman – Asked Department keep August bear hunts in order to hunt with dogs without other hunters in the woods.

Chairwoman Stevens asked Mr. Rios to look into the conflict of the muzzle-loader/rifle hunts being concurrent and see if there is any room for negotiation. Also, the concern on Unit 37. Rios stated he would look into it. Chairwoman Stevens reiterated to the public that the Department does have an excellent web site that gives them opportunity to contact the Department and the Commissioners.

COMMISSION/DEPARTMENT DISCUSSION: Director Bell stated the Department is anticipating a final draft to be presented to the Commission at the September meeting. There will be a 30-day comment period on the draft. This will be the actual rule that will be presented in final form for adoption in October. Director Bell added that the window of opportunity is getting smaller for public comment and encouraged the Commission if they have heard or seen anything that has not been addressed; to please let the Department know. Enough has been heard on the Unit 2C sub-division and the Department is prepared to take that out of the draft. The Department will continue to look at the August bear hunt, this year’s harvest and recruitment. Commissioner Padilla asked if the fall hunt was still on in the Sandias. Rios said yes. Commissioner Padilla asked why the Department made it so difficult and complicated to hunt oryx off the range? Year round, over-the-counter oryx hunting was proposed a few years ago off the range and the Commission backed off at the request of the Department. Commissioner Padilla encouraged the Department to streamline the hunting and get rid of oryx off the range. Rios said the reason the Department backed off was because some of the landowners expressed concern over having too many hunters in the area throughout the year. Rios stated options are being considered and landowners are being contacted to see which option will be best for all involved. Commissioner Padilla encouraged Rios to do something to control oryx or the Commission will have to do it. Commissioner Padilla stated he has heard from the anti-bear hunters that it was impossible to tell the sex of a bear and asked the houndsmen if they could tell the sex of a bear. Director Bell commented on the oryx concern. The Department is doing what the Commission has asked in working with those landowners. Part of the problem with the oryx year round hunting is that a vast majority of the access to public lands is controlled by private landowners. The private landowners became very upset when the Department went to the 500 year round oryx permits because the amount of encroachment on their private lands by people attempting to get to public lands. The Department is working with both the landowners and the public hunters in the hopes of finding a balanced approach that accomplishes and satisfies hunt needs and needs of the landowners.

Jim Willows – Commented on bear issue. With a little bit of experience you can tell the sows from the boars without the use of dogs after having treed them.

Kelly Dow, NM Hunters and Outfitters – About 99% of the time the sex of bear can be identified.

Jim Grider – Was told private landowner permits, by regulation, were for patented land. Suggested increasing those to make them in the ranch unit.

Chairwoman Stevens stated the next Commission meeting would be in Las Vegas, NM September 27, 2002. In order for the Department to complete the Big Game Regulation development process, they will need at least 2 to 3 weeks. If the public has additional input for consideration it should be submitted within the next 2 weeks.

12:00 break for lunch.

Meeting Resumed at 1:30 p.m.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 16. Permanent Access to the Marquez Wildlife Area.

Director Bell said that the Department must acquire access to the Marquez Wildlife Area. The Department has dealt with this issue in years past by trading grazing for access. The Fish and Wildlife Service instructed the Department to obtain permanent access to the Marquez, as USFWS would no longer be considering the use of the property for grazing in exchange for access. They also requested the Department report to them quarterly as to the progress being made to obtain access.

Presented by Tod Stevenson –A brief history of the Marquez Wildlife Area was presented to the Commission. When the property was originally purchased it had no deeded access or permanent easement and the Department is attempting to obtain permanent access. Along with the USFWS issue, there have been several other issues including the access agreement the Department has with the Juan Tafoya Land Corporation. They have provided the Department access in return for allowing them to use the area for grazing livestock. They have raised concerns about the Department’s ability to maintain windmills, etc. and adjacent landowners have also raised trespass concerns. Stevenson stated that there are more reasons why the issue needs to be resolved. The current agreement with the Juan Tafoya Land Corporation will end December 31, 2003. The Department is requesting guidance from the Commission as to how to proceed. The Department has received a proposal from the Juan Tafoya Land Corporation, two proposals from the Caprock Pipe and Supply Company and one from Jack Dilts. Brief overviews of the proposals were reviewed (see attached proposals for specifics).


Doug Auckland – Asked Stevenson if he knew the value of the 1500 acres listed in the third option reviewed? Stevenson stated an appraisal has not yet been done. Auckland asked if the 3 choices were the only options? Stevenson stated that was essentially true if you look at the Department’s guidance from the USFWS and the Commission that the Department try to pursue a permanent access onto that property that is not associated with grazing or some other type of option. Auckland felt $1million sounded high for a road, he understood that the road accesses the whole wildlife area but felt it seemed like extortion. Director Bell stated what the Department was looking for today, was direction as to which of the options sounded viable. Director Bell went on to say the Marquez was previously appraised without access around $850,000 and with access $1.3 million. With access, the Department gains the difference between $1.3 million and $850.000.

Gail Cramer – Suggested the Commission view the Pipe Ranch, a valuable resource that is covered with wildlife and permanent water sources.

Chairwoman Stevens stated all of the Commissioners with the exception of Commissioner Padilla recently toured the Pipe Ranch.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Commissioner Padilla asked Stevenson if the Department owned any of the water rights on the Marquez. Stevenson stated that on the deeds that came along with the Marquez Wildlife Area there was a right to water and about 80+acres on the Marquez town lots. The Department received permits to drill two separate wells. However, only 1 was drilled. Commissioner Padilla felt before the Commission can take any kind of action at all, they have to know for sure from the State Engineers Office what the water situation is. Commissioner Padilla suggested the Department obtain, in writing, from the State Engineers Office the water situation and this should be done between now and the next meting in September. Also requested was that before the Commission does anything there should be public input. Chairwoman Stevens asked if Ruth Armijo or Tom Stromie wished to speak on the issue. Tom Stromie, broker for Pipe Ranch, felt the proposals were well covered by Stevenson. Chairwoman Stevens asked Stevenson who built the original road into the Marquez. Stevenson stated that was done by a mining company that had part of the land leased adjacent to the Department’s property. Chairwoman Stevens asked if there was an easement that went along with the road at that time? Director Bell stated there might have been easements with that road, but there were not easements granted to the state. If there are easements, they were granted to the mining company. Chairwoman Stevens asked the Commission what direction they would like to give the Department and added at this point, there are mixed opinions and a lot of unanswered questions but feels the Department needs to go forward with the process. Commissioner Growney felt there were still too many unresolved issues to give direction. Land values and appraisals are a necessary part of this.

MOTION: To proceed on all of these until the Commission garners enough information to get a definitive direction for the Department.

Chairwoman Stevens agreed and stated she knew it would incur a lot of expense getting the appraisals but did not know how an educated decision could be made without that. Commissioner Westall asked if the Department had not had it appraised before? Director Bell stated that was correct. When the process began with contemplating a potential exchange with the Pipe Ranch a few years ago, the Department did an appraisal at that time. That appraisal would need to be updated. The Department is also currently in the process of updating the survey on the Marquez Wildlife Area to assure that court decisions regarding certain interior portions of the land to the Juan Tafoya Land Corporation are accurately surveyed and incorporated. An updated appraisal has also been done on the Marquez Town Lots. Chairwoman Stevens asked about the appraisal on the Pipe Ranch? Director Bell stated he has not received any recent appraisal from them, although there is an appraisal as a result of the recent marketing of the ranch on the open market. Chairwoman Stevens asked if the appraisal was current. Stromie stated there was not a current appraisal but it would not take long to get one. They have most of the comps put together. Commissioner Growney asked Mr. Stromie what the current listing price for the Pipe Ranch was? Stromie said $3.7 million.

MOTION REITERATED: To try and garner more information as far as comparable real estate values on all three of the proposals in order to guide the Department to whichever one of these options is in its best interest; Second by Commissioner Westall.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Commissioner Weaver asked if it was known how the USFWS would regard this exchange? Director Bell stated the Marquez property was purchased with federal aid money so if there was a land exchange, the Department could transfer the federal aid obligation to the new property. While there would be some technical issues to work out with USFWS, there is no foreseen problem if that is the direction the Commission wished to take. Stevenson pointed out that in prior discussions with USFWS, they were willing to some type of property exchange because without access, the Department cannot provide sportsman access.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 16A. Discussion of decision to deny a license refund to Mr. Blake Allen of Georgia.

Presented by Patrick Block - Mr. Allen requested a refund of two non-resident elk hunting licenses issued to he and his son, who was injured in an automobile accident. Mr. Allen put in for the draw and requested his application be pulled prior to the draw. This was not done and Mr. Allen drew a license. The Department does not grant refunds for hunting licenses with the exception of death where a refund will be made to the estate. Therefore, the request was denied. Mr. Allen has asked the Commission to reconsider this decision. Chairwoman Stevens asked if there were any provisions for pulling those applications when people contact the Department prior to the draw? Block stated generally not. That is because they are trying to get 110,000 people from deadline to drawing in short amount of time. Chairwoman Stevens stated she realized how it would create a problem if people continually called. But in a hardship case where they called in prior to the draw-taking place, she wondered if there should be a provision. Block stated that it had been discussed in the past and it was decided not to do that because it is difficult to define what constitutes a hardship and where the line should be drawn. It was felt it would be asking people to become better storytellers in order to meet a hardship standard. The Department is dealing with $15 million and 100,000 people in a short time span. Block stated if he were given direction by the Commission to do so, he would follow it. Chairwoman Stevens asked if there was a statute involved. Director Bell stated there is not a statute. There is however, an Attorney General’s opinion that actually says that there is no mechanism within state law to provide refunds to any individual. Director Bell went on to say refunds are provided in a couple of ways. If you do not draw you automatically get your refund and in the situations of death of an immediate family member, natural disasters or assignment to military active duty.


Doug Auckland – Feels refunds should be looked at in a case-by-case basis and it should come before the Commission for final decision.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Commissioner Westall felt if it were to be done in this case, it would have to be done in all cases and it is better to continue as is.

MOTION: Commissioner Westall moves to deny the refund and support the Department in their decision; Second by Commissioner Padilla.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 16B. Discussion regarding low flow in the San Juan River – Presented by John Boretsky– Boretsky stated he was before the Commission today to speak on behalf of the San Juan River Guides Association, which is a chapter of the NM Council of Outfitters and Guides. Boretsky stated that the San Juan River as a quality water is rated one of the top five trophy trout streams in the United States and probably within the world. According to State Parks and Recreation, the average use of the San Juan quality waters is something like 240,000 anglers yearly. Boretsky presented a summary of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement dated September 2002 to the Commission. Low flow experiments were conducted in the winter of 1997 and again last summer. As a result, the Bureau of Reclamation has gone for an Environmental Impact Statement and the summary was released this week. Boretsky stated that what they wished to do was to cut back the flow during the winter months. Which winter months are subject to negotiation, but they are looking at October or November through March. They are also looking at increasing the spring flow to mimic a flood. The recommendation at this time is if the low flow ended in March the spring flood period would run April, May and June. The three alternatives they have selected are: 1) No action. 2) 250 CFS cubic feet per second as a low flow alternative through the winter months of October/November through February/March and a spring flood level of 5000 cubic feet per second. 3) The third alternative (which is not their desire) would bring the minimum flow up to 500. Boretsky pointed out that the Bureau of Reclamation is currently under a court injunction that was granted to the Fly Fishers Federation of San Juan to maintain the flow at a minimum of 500 cubic feet per second. Boretsky stated it was his understanding that the injunction would be lifted once the Environmental Impact Statement goes through public process and if it was approved. Boretsky stated the proper flow for the San Juan River, keeping in mind the economic importance to the Four Corners Area, is between 500 and 1000 cubic feet per second as a low flow, with a high flow of 2500. This should be done by ramping up over a period of days, maintain the maximum level of 2500 for a plateau period and them ramp down to 500 to 1000. Doing the spring flood over a maximum of 21 to 30 days. Boretsky stated this should mimic the effect of a spring flood and will serve to cleanse the river as needed. At that level of low flow (250 cubic feet per second), the river would retreat back actually past its historic bed. The diminished water flow would impact the trophy trout, the waterfowl and insect species that provide a food base for the fish.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Chairwoman Stevens reiterated that this is not an action item. This is for informational purposes only. The Commission does not have any direct control over this, but as Commissioners do want to give their opinion on how they stand and communicate that to the Bureau of Reclamation and hope they take that into account when in making their final decision. Chairwoman Stevens asked Boretsky to let the Commission know when the meeting will be held and the Department will try to get it out on the Department’s web site. Director Bell stated the Department has been very active in this. The Commission has previously adopted opposition to the low flows and has communicated that position in the current review and updates of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. A Department review will be done through Conservation Services Division in cooperation with Fisheries Division and continue to support the Commission’s and Department’s opposition to the low flow parameters.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 17. Commission/Department Discussion

Director Bell stated there was a unique situation today in that the Department has also called a special meeting of the State Game Commission. After the meeting closes following the regular session, it will open a special meeting to hear one item only. That is consideration of bear hunting in the Sandia and Manzano Mountains. The notice did go out under the Open Meeting Act rule of the State Game Commission as notification of a special meeting.

Update on Conservation Education Center – Presented by Roberta Henry

A 4-year contract has just been completed with the architect firm of Mahlman and Miles of Albuquerque and was approved August 12 for approximately $100,000 to design and oversee the construction of the project. The estimated initial maximum allowable construction will be around $858,000. There is currently a budget of over $1 million and the design should be completed and approved by the State Game Commission by February 2003. The construction contract estimate is to be awarded by June 2003 and the construction should be completed by April 2004. Director Bell has assigned Tom Sansom to be the project coordinator and he will be taking over the day-to-day coordination between the architects and then the architects and contractors. The first design meeting is scheduled for next week and Commissioner Growney will attend.

Wildlife Short Course Update – Presented by Roberta Henry – The course content has been finalized. The Co-op Unit has developed a participant questioner, 2 of which will be going out to the course participants next week. Twelve to 16 people are expected to attend.

Update on LIP and SWG Programs – Presented by Lisa Evans

The Landowner Incentive Program is a unique program developed for the Department to have an opportunity to partner with landowners and develop better habitat for wildlife. A final federal register notice has not yet been received, although it is anticipated any day. Once that is published, the Department will have 60 days to submit a proposal for funding. Evens stated they have also met with landowners, game wardens, game managers, etc. and have been seeking landowners who are interested in applying for the grant money. They have also met with the STAMP Program out of the NE Area and have received good publicity in the papers. Evans said that by September 1st, landowners will submit their projects and she will be working with them along with the game managers, to make sure they are viable projects. During the next meeting they will come before the Commission and present projects for approval. Once approval is granted, it will be put into one grant proposal on behalf of the Department and submitted for competitive level funding once the register notice is out. Once funding is received, (there is the opportunity to be awarded up to $1.5 million), if there are not enough projects to meet the funding level, they will seek more projects. It is anticipated to have all the projects funded by January 1, 2003.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Commissioner Weaver asked where the idea came from? Evans stated it was modeled after the Department’s State Wildlife Grant Program. Commissioner Weaver stated that he has received comments that the forms are far too complicated for the average guy. Evans stated that Department personnel are assisting them in completing the forms. No proposals will be rejected. Commissioner Weaver asked if we have reviewed the New Mexico list of Threatened and Endangered Species to try to get to some of the people that haven’t been allowing access to their property. Are we out there actively trying to cover this base on some of those spring snails and isopods and so forth? Evans stated that the package was made available to all of the Department personnel with a plea for them to distribute it to people who would be eligible for the funding.

State Wildlife Program (SWIG) – Presented by Lisa Evans

Originally called the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program, since then, the Department has decided to build an Education Center. New monies were obtained which are in the form of the State Wildlife Grant Program. The committee met and developed the criteria based on the regulation and rules that go with the funding. They will be going out to RFP next week. There is a list of over 200 people that notices will be sent to and they are welcome to bid on the $200,000 that is available. Once the proposals are returned, the committee will meet and projects will be ranked based on criteria and then the Department will enter into grants and contracts. Evans stated this program is geared more at threatened and endangered species that traditionally do not get funding.

USFWS Federal Aid Program Audit Resolution – Presented by Lisa Evans

A final report has been issued. Over $12 million in grants and expenditures was audited. The final federal share was $28,000. There were three items of concern that resulted from the audit. One was that the Department had income from one of the wildlife areas where hay was being sold and had not given the money back to the Feds. That was immediately corrected. The second finding was the management of fixed assets, which has also been corrected. The final finding was issues regarding inadequate monitoring and reporting of boat access with State Parks Division. That was corrected with a Joint Powers Agreement and a corrective action plan was written.

Bear Canyon Reservoir Sediment Project Update – Presented by Tod Stevens

Stevenson stated the project has received both funding from the Commission and from the Legislature. Grant County has completed the road project for getting the big equipment to the lake. The fish screen, which will stop downstream movement of fish, has been completed and we are waiting the screen that is expected this fall. An RFP is in process to remove the sediment from the lake and to install a sediment barrier upstream that will stop the majority of the sediment prior to it getting into the lake. The contract is currently being finalized and the Department is waiting for signatures on the construction contract. The contract was awarded to Ajac Construction Company of Albuquerque. Water was released beginning on August 12 to begin lowering the water level to where the project can be completed. Along with the release of water, a salvage order was implemented that relaxed bag limits to allow people to remove sport fish from the lake. That will be ongoing until September 16. Seven months is the estimated time for completion of the sediment removal. The entire property will be closed to all public access during the construction phase according to current Rule 19.31.10. 19 A-B.

Director Bell notified the Commission that the Department has approval to hire a number of new full time employees. These positions include a new bighorn sheep biologist, a recovery specialist, a custodian for the new building and a staff attorney. Director Bell stated he and Commissioner Padilla met with the Attorney General’s Office and they are fully supportive of the staff attorney position and is willing to assist in any way possible to fill that position. The position has been approved with the Department of Finance and Administration and the necessary documents will be submitted on Monday in preparation to advertise in the Bar Bulletin.

Highway/Wildlife Crossing Update – Presented by Mark Watson

An update of the Department’s efforts to mitigate deer/vehicle accidents in New Mexico was presented to the Commission. Watson stated the primary goal is to work with the Highway Department to reduce deer mortality from deer/vehicle accidents in New Mexico, thereby increasing our statewide deer population. Deer-vehicle accidents, or DVAs, are a major problem in the US; with hundreds of thousands of deer mortalities. DVAs cause thousands of human injuries, hundreds of human fatalities, and extensive property damage. In New Mexico, accident report statistics indicate that more than 600 deer are killed annually, although the actual number is much higher, because many accidents go unreported. A map was reviewed that identified locations of vehicle accidents involving game animals state wide from January 1996 through December 1998. Watson said most of the state has at least some occurrence of animal/vehicle accidents, and most of these involved deer. Methods Watson reviewed included: Working with the Highway Department during highway improvement projects to implement effective mitigation strategies at priority locations; monitoring the results and evaluating new technologies that address DVAs. Other items Watson reviewed included: Mitigation techniques such as modifying driver's behavior, deer behavior or both. Watson showed data that includes: The locations of deer kills and the frequencies at each site; factors involving accidents; local deer populations and seasonal movements, location of travel corridors and other existing environmental and highway conditions. Watson stated the mitigation strategy shown by research to be the most reliable at reducing DVAs is the construction of eight-foot deer fencing used in conjunction with properly designed underpasses or overpasses and one-way gates. To ensure effectiveness, it is critical that crossing structures be constructed in natural travel corridors. Highways that are complicated by the presence of many pullouts, driveways, or road junctions can negate the option of using fencing as an alternative. Watson reviewed highway projects for U.S. 550, U.S. 54 and U.S. 70.

Director Bell stated one of the important aspects is that the Highway Department is recognizing the need to mitigate wildlife damages on the highways and take aggressive action at high expense to assist the Department in the management of deer. Director Bell stated that was noteworthy and hoped the Department continued to assist in these types of projects.

Draw Report –Presented by Patrick Block

Block stated the draw report has been completed and is now on the Department’s web site. The draw report gives the statistics for the special hunts drawing for big game and can be used by the public to influence their draw choices for the upcoming hunt year.

Chairwoman Stevens stated she understood the Department recently received recognition on its Small Game/Waterfowl Publications. Director Bell reported the Association of Conservation Information recognized the Department’s publications as first place in that category of publications. That was to the credit of the Public Affairs staff that put that together. Director Bell stated he knew Mark Gruber and others worked hard and it was a very good accomplishment. Chairwoman Stevens stated it was very noteworthy and commended their efforts.

Chairwoman Stevens stated the Commission received a plaque from the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies as the 2002 Commission of the Year. Chairwoman Stevens stated the award was given because of the team effort they have between the Commission and the Department; a good working relationship and a lot has been accomplished because of that. Director Bell stated the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies is composed of 21 member states from North and South Dakota extending to California and some of the Canadian Provinces and is all of the Directors and Commissions from those individual agencies throughout the West. Director Bell stated he received comments since the conference from directors and commissioners commending this Commission on their efforts. All concurring that it was very well received and very much appreciated and deserved on behalf of this Commission.

Scheduling of Commission Meetings

September 27, 2002, Las Vegas, New Mexico

MOTION: Commissioner Growney moves to hold next Commission meeting October 18, 2002, Portales, New Mexico; Second by Commissioner Westall.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. 3 affirmative; 1 opposed (Commissioner Padilla). Motion carries.

MOTION: Commissioner Westall moves to hold a commission meeting December 6, 2002 in Carlsbad, New Mexico; Second by Commissioner Growney.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. 3 affirmative; 1 opposed (Commissioner Padilla). Motion carries.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 18. General Public Comments: (Comments limited to 3 minutes.)

Sheldon Smith, representing the New Mexico Trappers Association – Announced they are holding Bear Management Practice Trapping classes throughout the state. Dates of future classes were given. Smith also stated they are involved in deer program and predator control.

Bob Ricklifs, Chairman of the Wildlife Committee for the Cattle Growers – They have an issue they believe they can work on with the Commission and the Department. It involves a change in the trespass law. They hope to work on this for the next legislative session. Currently a licensed hunter, who trespasses on private property, can take a game animal and still keep it. He can be cited for trespass. But if he does not break any other game laws, the game animal still belongs to the hunter. They would like to change the law. They are not sure if they need to go into Chapter 17 or Chapter 30 but will research the language. They hope to be able to work with the Department and Commission this fall and be prepared for changing it in the next Legislative Session.

Director Bell asked Ricklifs to get together with Dan Brooks, Chief of Law Enforcement, and work out some draft language so that it can be part of the Commission package to the Legislature.

Bob Durben – Asked the Department to plan ahead and try to send a representative to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s National Convention in Reno, NV next February.

Doug Auckland, San Juan Archers and Four Corners Bow Hunters – Thanked Commission for holding meeting in Farmington and also for the Department working with the Highway Department on highway deer kills.

Doug Auckland, Concerned Sportsman –Years ago he rifle hunted and then could no longer draw. He changed from rifle hunting to muzzleloader until he could no longer draw. Finally he ended up archery hunting because he was fairly successful in drawing. He sees the day he will no longer be able to bow hunt either because he will be too old or unable to draw. He requested that the Department look into the future to maintain hunting opportunity.

Art Martinez, Outfitting and Guide – Comments on the Unit 6 split-up. The Department’s proposal for next year is to increase permits in 6A and reduce permits in 6C. He feels the Department should go back to a regular Unit 6 again.

Vern Andrews, bow hunter – Doesn’t like the draw system. Feels it is not consistent and fair. Requests that the system be changed. The problem is that there are units in the southern part of the state, particularly 16B, 16C, 16E, 15B where 66% to 90% non-resident draw. By retaining that draw as the first choice, are the non-residents not receiving a double dip compared to the residents? Can it be changed to where the residents have an equal opportunity through all three choices? Andrews stated he knew it was an interpretation of the law, but should not be a difficult thing to do, just a change in the program. Is that a possibility?

Director Bell stated it is a possibility and the Department has that exact question currently before the Attorney General. There is a draft response from them and the Department is awaiting the final response. It appears at this point, that is exactly what the AG’s office is recommending to the Department. The quota should be maintained for each hunt choice so it would not cut off the first choice as it currently does.

Gail Cramer – Wanted to make sure everyone in the room was aware of a court decision that was handed down this week in a Federal Court. It states that the Arizona non-resident quota is illegal and it is overly discriminate. Cramer stated they are just thinking ahead of what the implications could be for the State of New Mexico and the Department of Game and Fish. Cramer stated the Commission was in the best quadrant of the state in terms of Department officers. They have the best Wildlife Conservation Officers and commended Bruce Mazuranich for his work.

Chairwoman Stevens stated Agenda No. 19, Closed Executive Session, would be removed from the agenda.

Meeting adjourned 3:45



San Juan College

Henderson Fine Art Center

Rooms 9010 – 9012

4601 College Boulevard

Farmington, New Mexico 87402

August 23, 2002

Special Meeting

3:45 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 1. Meeting Called to Order

The meeting was called to order at 3:45.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 2. Roll Call

Chairwoman Stevens calls the meeting to order and requests roll call:

Director Bell calls roll:

Commissioner Thomas Growney Present

Commissioner Tamara Hurt Absent

Commissioner George Ortega Absent

Commissioner Steve Padilla Present

Commissioner James Weaver Present

Commissioner Ray Westall Present

Director Bell states there is a quorum

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3. Approval of Agenda

MOTION: Commissioner Weaver moves to approve the agenda; Second by Commissioner Westall.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. 3 vote in the affirmative 1 opposed (Commissioner Padilla). Motion carries.


AGENDA ITEM NO. 4. Big Game Rule 19.31.8 NMAC will be open for amendment.

Presented by William Dunn – Dunn stated there have been major changes in the bear hunt strategies for this year. The bear season runs August 1 through 31 and the second half of the season runs September 25 through November 15. This is a new strategy the Department is trying and one of the concerns is how it will effect some bear populations. Dunn stated the Department has been keeping track of the harvest and the harvest has been brisk. One of the concerns is the Sandia and Manzano Mountains, particularly the Manzano’s. Dunn stated biologically the Department looked at Unit 8 and 14 as one unit because the bears go back and forth. At the end of the bear study in 2000 there was an estimate of 123 bears by the study team. There is some controversy because there are those that want a more conservative season and those that would like a more liberal season. Dunn stated as a manager, he has to go with the best biology available. In 2002, before the hunting season started, it was estimated that there were about 75 bears in the area. There was a high harvest last year with about a 38% mortality rate. The Department’s charge as managers is to maintain wildlife populations somewhere between minimum viability and carrying capacity. Potentially, human impacts in this mountain island are high because Albuquerque is near by. There are a lot of sportsmen that can get to the mountain fairly quickly. Dunn stated he has gone back to the pelt tag data of the mid 90’s. Harvest history for the Sandia’s has been about 1 bear a year with a spike in the harvest last year of 6 bears. This year 2 males have been taken. The Manzano’s average has been a little over 9. So far this year, 14 bears have been taken. Dunn stated one red flag that came up was in looking at the ages. The median age of males in the Manzano’s in 2000 is 2 years old. Generally speaking that is very young and most bear managers say there should be concern on anything below an average age of 5. The Department is recommending the immediate closure of bear hunting in the Manzano Mountains (Unit 14) when 1 female or 2 more males have been harvested. Alternatives to this recommendation include the following: 1) Cessation of female harvest, but allow continued harvest of male bears in Unit 14 until the end of the regular season. 2) Allow a limited number of males to be harvested before closure. (No more than 3 recommended). 3) Require dogs to be used for all bear hunting in Unit 14. The sex of a treed bear is easier to identify. Dunn stated that harvest in the Sandias has already reached the 19-year average. Hunting restrictions are warranted here also given the high harvest last year combined with fewer bears from the Manzanos available to immigrate into this range.


Jan Hayes, Sandia Mountain Bear Watch – She thanked Commission for the opportunity to speak before them today and Director Bell for calling the Special Session. Last year Sandia Mountain Bear Watch gave the Department an impact statement using NM Game and Fish statistics from the 2001 harvest. Using estimated bear populations from the Department’s own bear study combined with hunting, depredation and relocation data, it was demonstrated that 38% of the overall bear population has been lost in these ranges in one year. The main concern is the number of sows being harvested: 45% in the Manzano’s and 66% in the Sandias. Hayes stated these were unacceptable numbers. The 2002 hunting season has just started and it could be worse than last year. Hayes went on to say that an August hunt will hurt bear hunting and will create a backlash against hunting in general. A petition with 1,516 signatures from East Mountain residents was submitted.

Robert H., Sandia Crest Bow Hunters Association – Felt, as of now, bear hunting is going well. People are moving into bear’s area so they need to expect what is happening with bears coming into their yards.

John Boretsky, NM council of Outfitters and Guides – Does not question the Departments numbers on bear population. However speaking of the Manzano’s, particularly the west face, they have seen more bear sign on the ground than has been seen in years. That seems to be born out by the harvest; they are 3 weeks into the unit and have almost hit the average. It seems that can only be done if there are bears there. He feels what is being seen as a result of the hunting is an indication that there is a larger population than the statistics indicate. The second point is outfitters of the state are $116 million industry. Hunts have been sold in the Manzano’s for the month of October. Shutting the season down now will have an economic impact on people that is unjustifiable because all hunters have done is follow the Proclamation. If there were a critical biological reason, a catastrophe in the making, then perhaps it would be worthwhile. It is hoped the Department will look at some sort of compromise that will protect the sows and give them their hunting too.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Commissioner Westall asked what would happen if it were opened to hunting boars with dogs? Dunn could not predict what the harvest would be, but it could protect the female segment. Also, one thing to keep in mind is, as a whole, there are fewer males than females in that population so you might want to take fewer males on average over the long term. Chairwoman Stevens asked if the Department had a preferred recommendation? Does the Department lean towards one or another? Director Bell said the Department did not, but did lean towards doing the best possible to bring balance to the situation, which means protecting the female segment, as it is the most critical element. Continue to allow some hunting within reason. The best way to do that is go to male-only hunting and, as has been expressed, there is opportunity to determine male from female without dogs, but the chance of determining the bear’s sex using dogs is higher. Limiting the remaining season for males only and allowing the hunters to hunt with dogs only provides a reasonable assurance of viability of that population. Chairwoman Stevens asked if it would be creating an undue burden on the hunters that already have licenses to require them at this time to have to go out and get a guide to run dogs? Director Bell stated the rest of the state remains open to bear hunting without any of the restrictions talked about today so an opportunity exists for them to hunt elsewhere, it just would not exist in this isolated geographical location. Director Bell added that the Department and Sandia Bear Watch had a meeting with Representative Godbey and also Senator McSorley and a call from Representative Don Tripp. The best we can tell is that the political world is split on the issue.

MOTION: Commissioner Growney moves, that from this point forward, the season be closed to harvesting of female bears in the Sandia’s and Manzano’s and the season be kept open for boar bear harvest. In addition to that, for the remainder of the season in this range, recommend the use of dogs with no limit on the males. Second by Commissioner Westall.

COMMISSION DISCUSSION: Commission Padilla asked Dunn his feeling on the motion? Dunn stated that his gut feelings should not dictate bear management. Commissioner Padilla stated the reason this was asked is because he is pro-hunting, but protection of the recourses is number one. Commissioner Padilla withdraws question. Director Bell asked Dunn whether the bear management science would support this motion if it were to be implemented? Dunn stated he supported shutting down the female harvest. Dunn’s concern was if a brisk harvest continued on males, that segment of the population could not be ignored. The best science he could come up with was to shut down harvest of females, definitely use dogs, definitely enforce the regulations and keep a close eye on the male population. Commissioner Weaver asked if it was possible to quota these males the way the regulations are written? Director Bell stated in this Special Meeting, the Department has properly opened the rule making process to amend those portions of the big game recommendation to address this. If the Commission wished to quota the males, the rule is properly open to do so. Although quotas are not something the Department has typically considered at this point in bear hunting, they are faced with a unique situation because of the bear’s geographic isolation. Chairwoman Stevens stated it was only three weeks into the season and felt it needed to be looked at if they were to cap those males and have already taken this number. In looking at capping at 2, 3 or 4 in most likelihood within the next 2 to 3 weeks the season would be closed because that quota would be met. Dunn concurred. Commissioner Weaver asked about a pursuit season if the quotas were met as a means of keeping the houndsmen happy? Dunn stated he would like to see continued opportunity in subsequent years and would hate to think that a mistake was made this year to allow too aggressive a harvest and then next year there be no opportunity for the outfitters or sportsmen. Director Bell stated the Department does have a proposal for a 3-year study to determine movements of bears between the Sandia’s and Manzano’s. More will be learned about this bear population as time goes on. Commissioner Weaver asked Dunn if the take of boars is probably going to protect next year’s cubs so there would not really be a catastrophic impact if the take of boars continued this year? Dunn stated he could not predict that. Director Bell added that the August hunt seemed to do exactly what the Department hoped it would do and that is provide sport hunting opportunity in those areas where high levels of wildlife damage were being experienced. Director Bell stated he has not yet looked at the exact figures but the number of phone calls and TV news spots seem to indicate that wildlife damage complaints are down. The Department knew at the time of implementing the regulation that the bears would be more susceptible in August than they would at other times of the year. That portion was closed in September because that is when they are concentrated most heavily in the mast crop regions and then reopened after their body fat is up and they begin to disperse. It could very well be that the harvest now begins to taper off.

VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present vote in the affirmative. Motion carries.

The Manzanos and the Sandias will be closed to females. It will be males only with the mandatory use of dogs.

John Boretsky asked, for clarification, if this was effective as of today.

Director Bell stated it was a rule change so it will not be effective until the rule can be properly promulgated and adopted and noticed at State Records. The department will ask for an emergency adoption.

Meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.