UPDATED: November 20, 2003




Northwest Area Office

3841 Midway Place, NE

Albuquerque, New Mexico

November 13, 2003

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 1. Meeting Called to Order

The meeting was called to order at 9:25 a.m. by Chairman Arvas.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 2. Roll Call

Director Thompson called roll:

Chairman Arvas – Present

Commissioner Henderson – Present

Commissioner Jennifer Montoya – Present/Video

Commissioner Alfredo Montoya – Present

Commissioner Pino – Present

Commissioner Riordan – Absent

Commissioner Sims – Present/Video

Director Thompson stated a quorum was present.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 3. Introduction of Guests

Commissioner Arvas requests that members of the audience (approximately 17) introduce themselves.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 4. Approval of Minutes (October 22, 2003)

MOTION: Commissioner A. Montoya moved to accept the Minutes of the October 22, 2003 Meeting as presented. Commissioner Henderson seconded the motion.

VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 5. Approval of Agenda

Commissioner A. Montoya moved to accept the Agenda for the November 12, 2003, New Mexico Special Game Commission Meeting as presented. Commissioner Henderson seconded the motion. VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.


AGENDA ITEM NO. 6. Revision of Elk Tag Allocation and Drawing for Valles Caldera National Preserve

Presented by Reagan Smetak -- Sections 19.31.8 NMAC and 19.31.3 NMAC are open for potential amendment to revise Elk License Allocation and Drawing Procedures for elk hunts in Game Management Sub-Unit 6B (Valles Caldera National Preserve) and to establish requirements for all license applicants to provide information including, but not limited to, social security number.

The Valles Caldera National Preserve is a special place. This along with public comments has prompted the Department to consider another way of distributing the licenses. Valles Caldera Preserve is managed differently than any other public land and the Department has worked very closely with the Preserve to develop this proposal.

A person will have the opportunity and ability to apply for a Valles Caldera National Preserve Hunt and another elk hunt outside of Sub-Unit 6B during the same license year if they choose. If an individual purchases more than 1 access agreement “coupon”, the name goes into the draw 1 time and if additional coupons are purchased, will act as a multiplier. We will draw these hunts and apply the quota of 78% resident, 10% non-resident and non-guided, and 12% non-resident guided and we will draw the Valles hunts first. If an applicant is unsuccessful in any of those hunts and they’ve chosen to apply for other elk hunts outside of Sub-Unit 6B, then they will automatically be in that process. If unsuccessful in that process then the license fee is refunded. There is a non-refundable $6 application fee for Valles hunts and other elk hunts outside of Sub-Unit 6B.

Some of the advantages are the ability to have multiple chances for access on the Caldera. This proposal and system can be explained to the public through our rules and information booklet or through phone calls or however else we need to. It is also our belief that this is revenue positive for the Valles Caldera and certainly we’re only going to award 1 license per individual.

A quick synopsis of the draft rule is a total of 242 licenses that we will draw, 10 rifle hunts, mobility-impaired hunt, youth hunt, 2 muzzle loader hunts, and 4 archery hunts. Rule changes will allow the Department to draw all elk licenses valid for Sub-Unit 6B through draw and provide individuals with more than 1 opportunity to gain access to the Preserve. The main changes are allowing an individual the opportunity to apply for Valles Caldera hunts and other elk hunts within the State during the same license year. We’re also establishing that the individual would gain access prior to making application and the cost would be $25. And, we will be drawing these licenses according to the quota. We’re seeking your approval to include social security numbers on the application form. It aids in certifying federal aid requirements. It’s a requirement under the Social Security Act and it’s consistent with the Parental Responsibility Act. We will not share social security numbers when we’re asked to provide information to the public. This will also assist the Department with revocations. Social security numbers will be requested on all of our applications.

The Department’s recommendation is to change Rules 19.31.8 and 19.31.3 as presented to draw all Sub-Unit 6B elk licenses through public drawing and to allow multiple chances for that sub-unit, and to establish required information on special hunt applications including social security number.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 7. General Public Comments (Comments limited to 3 minutes

Public Comment:

John Boretsky, Executive Director of the New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides. I encourage the Commission to remove the non-resident quota requirement. I think we can all agree that Valles Caldera is a crown jewel as far as a wildlife area and as such it deserves the consideration of being removed from quota. By removing quota you’d allow the possibility that a greater number of non-residents would end up hunting than current statute allows. It’s incumbent on us to provide as much opportunity for hunters but also for Valles Caldera to achieve its financial goals. Removing quota would do that. Also, I hope we’re going to do the drawing in June each year. That helps everyone by giving all hunters, resident, non-resident guided, and non-guided more time to plan hunt.

Director Thompson, at the request of Commissioner Arvas, clarifies that request for removing quota is not something the Commission can do under current statute and subsequent legal decision.

Gary Ziehe, Executive Director of Valles Caldera Trust. First, regrets that the Members of the Board of Trustees cannot be here to address you in person. Secondly, I’d like to thank Commission for taking time to work through this proposal and taking time to come back to re-address this after October 22 meeting. Trust is here today to support proposal as temporary solution to a problem. We believe that Valles Caldera was established with a unique mission and opportunity to provide partnership with various State agencies, especially Department of Game and Fish. The Trust and Preserve are unique in federal land management and so we were not considered when most statutes were passed dealing with game and fish management in the State. We are interested in exploring opportunities under current statutes and perhaps even changing State statute to help us and the Department meet mutually beneficial goals. Our primary goal in this is the best wildlife management of the Jemez Mountain elk herd as it pertains to utilization of resources on the Preserve.

Commissioner Henderson asks Mr. Ziehe if he has any sense of how this particular solution will impact his revenue. Mr. Ziehe states that Valles Caldera has only 2-years’ experience under a different system but even that system has changed within 2 years so they have some fluctuations in revenue generation. There are revenue-positive indications that they’ll be able to collect a fee up front from all applicants for access to the Preserve, but we don’t know what the impact of applying the quota will be.

Commissioner Henderson asks if everyone is required to be guided on the Preserve? Mr. Ziehe states that he doesn’t anticipate the system will change very much at Valles Caldera as far as actually conducting the hunt on the Preserve. Now there’s a 1-day scouting where hunters can go and scout areas they’ve been assigned but there’s no requirement for a guide. Commissioner Pino asks that when an individual goes hunting, can he have only 1 additional person helping him?

Mr. Ziehe states that that’s the way they’ve operated and it’s worked fairly successfully because the Trust does provide added personnel that are available to assist hunters if they need assistance. The reason it’s set up that way is because the road system on the Preserve now is still quite run down and there’s a need to control vehicular traffic and it’s been limited to 1 guest and 1 vehicle per hunter. Commissioner Pino asks that with a $150 access fee before and now the $25 coupon is the access fee and there’s no charge of $150. Mr. Ziehe states that’s the way they envision it.

Ric Martin states that in answer to Commissioner Henderson’s question about the change in revenue it would be affected in that the Trust would not be allowed to have the VIP Hunt and sell the auction permits which generate $60,000-$70,000 a year, so that would be lost under this new program.

Director Thompson states that we have targeted this around a similar revenue generation as the Trust has experienced in the past. It remains to be seen if that is realized. Two reasons for the changes are 1) to make this more available to a broader public; and 2) to ensure that the Game Commission has met all statutory requirements with respect to setting seasons and providing for public license drawing processes. A key point is that as the process is proposed it will be possible for anyone to apply for an elk hunt on Valles Caldera by purchasing 1 $25 access coupon to participate in the drawing, and there’s no other access fee after that. Basically anyone from anywhere could be drawn and for a $25 access fee paid up front could have a hunt in a very prime location. It remains to be seen if that’s a sufficient incentive to make this work.

Commissioner Arvas asks whether the Trust is ready to do a public relations campaign in terms of all the magazines and other publications. Mr. Ziehe states that as soon as the Board gets done with their meeting there is an intention to sit down with the Department and try to coordinate that effort by marketing and getting as much participation as possible.

Dale Jones associated with the Coalition that’s been working with the Valles Caldera National Preserve ever since we started legislation trying to get this designated as public land. What’s important to us is that this is a new paradigm in public-land management and a possibility of seeing if multiple-use management can work means you do a good job with all the resources and that’s what we’ve been striving for. You’re making a decision that really affects this whole paradigm of management of the Caldera Preserve. Without the funding the possibility of elk management is not going to work. I listen to the description of your procedure and it may work but when we look at it very carefully after a year’s experience I hope that all of you realize that we may have to change.

Ellery Worthen, New Mexico Wildlife Federation. Once you draw and you get your authorization, can you then sell it?

Reagan Smetak “No.” It is actually a license that you’re issued. It will not be an authorization. It’s non-transferable.

Ellery Worthen I don’t think these authorizations or licenses should be sold. I caution the Commission about developing this commercialization of wildlife; there’s tremendous political pressure.

Richard Becker, President of the Albuquerque Wildlife Federation. I commend the Commission and the Department for taking an adaptive management approach to wildlife in New Mexico, not only with elk but with everything and in the midst of a drought we’re all trying to figure out how to perpetuate the wildlife and the habitat. I think it would be worthwhile for the Department to allocate a staff person specifically to the elk management program here but there needs to be more input from the Department to help guide day-to-day management and maybe participate more in some of the research that’s being done on the Preserve. I would encourage you to work with Gary Ziehe and the Board on the issue of how you can further support yourself as a Department and a Commission through your staff and continue to participate in the research and monitoring of what’s going on with the elk management.

Mike Castinado It’s been my great pleasure to work with the Commission, Director Thompson, Gary Ziehe of the Valles Caldera Trust and members of the New Mexico Game and Fish Department. As a legal entity the Valles Caldera Trust and Preserve are very unique. However, I think we’ve come up with a plan today that I think is workable.

Reagan Smetak In your draft rule, page 28, line 42, I want to make a notation of a typo. What that needs to read is “November 27-29” when you entertain a motion.

Commissioner A. Montoya moved to approve the recommended changes to Rule 19.31.8 and Rule 19.31.3 as they relate to Sub-Unit 6B and also that social security numbers be used and that they would be handled with great care because of the confidentiality issue and include that social security numbers be used on all hunts not only this particular Valle Caldera hunt. Commissioner A. Montoya amends his motion to state that on page 28, line 42, the dates be November 27 through 29. Commissioner Henderson seconded the motion.

VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.

Commissioner A. Montoya This has been a learning experience and appreciates the efforts of everyone that’s been involved in the process, Director Thompson, Tod Stevenson, Reagan Smetak and everyone in the Department as well as everyone with Valles Caldera, and Mr. Castinado. We all want to make the Valles Caldera a successful paradigm and that’s shared by my fellow Commissioners and Department staff and we all want to do our part. We have some legal parameters that we had to work within and that we were unable to proceed at the last Commission meeting and we’re very grateful that it has resulted in a win-win situation. It is also my hope that legislative action isn’t necessary. If this issue goes before the legislature, you don’t know what to expect. If this can work between the Game Department, Commission and the Valles Caldera, I think that is ideal rather than going through any legislative changes. Hopefully this works well for you and I’m grateful that we can be responsive to New Mexico residents. I know that John you need to have out-of-state residents to make a living, but we also have a responsibility to the taxpayers and residents of New Mexico and that the quota is there for a reason and we need to make sure that the average person can apply. I’m glad to see that $25 is a reasonable amount and that the average person has the ability to have access and I’m appreciative of those negotiations and that’s better than $150. It is my hope that with the $25 fee you get additional applicants and that you make the money.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 8. Closed Executive Session

The State Game Commission adjourned into closed executive session, pursuant to Section 10-15-1 (H)(1) NMSA 1978, to discuss matters related to personnel, litigation, and land acquisitions.

Commissioner A. Montoya moved to adjourn into a closed executive session Commissioner Sims seconded the motion.

VOTE: Roll Call vote taken.

Director Thompson called roll:

Chairman Arvas – Yes

Commissioner Henderson – Yes

Commissioner Jennifer Montoya – Yes

Commissioner Alfredo Montoya – Yes

Commissioner Pino – Yes

Commissioner Riordan – Absent

Commissioner Sims – Yes

Motion carried.

Closed Executive Session convened at 10:15 a.m. Adjourned at 11:40 a.m.

AGENDA ITEM NO. 9. Adjourn

Commissioner Henderson moved to adjourn. Commissioner A. Montoya seconded the motion.

VOTE: Voice vote taken. All present voted in the Affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.

Meeting adjourned at 11: 43 a.m.

Bruce C. Thompson, Secretary to the Date

New Mexico State Game Commission

__________________________________________ _________________________

Tom Arvas, Chairman Date

New Mexico State Game Commission

Minutes by: Katie Gonzales

My Documents\Minutes\Minutes 03\Minutes-11-13-03