New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Archive News Releases 2007-2013

Visit the NMDGF website for current news and events.


New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Marty Frentzel, (505) 476-8013
Public contact: (505) 476-8000




New Mexico’s new license year begins April 1, and in this year of economic troubles, there are plenty of great reasons to buy your new fishing license at more than 200 vendors across the Land of Enchantment, and at Department of Game and Fish offices in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Raton, Roswell and Las Cruces.

Here are 10 of them:

  1. It’s a cheap date: A resident annual fishing license is $25, probably the best recreation bargain in the state because it is valid 365 days a year.
  2. Improves wildlife habitat: Combined with the $4 Habitat Management and Access fee, required of all anglers statewide, your license fee is less than 8 cents a day.
  3. It’s healthy fun: Eating fish provides you with healthful Omega 3 fatty acids.
  4. Stay close to home: Most New Mexicans don’t have to travel far to go fishing, so you save gas money. Consider taking advantage of the Summer Catfish stocking program, which brings channel catfish to communities from Jal to Gallup.
  5. No tuition fees: If you don’t know how to fish, the Department, some municipalities, and non-governmental organizations will teach you how at free clinics across the state.
  6. Fights nature deficit disorder: As you become a devoted angler you will gain an appreciation for the watershed that supports your existence and rediscover those childhood memories of butterflies, birdsongs and time spent outdoors with your family and close friends.
  7. Lots of opportunity: The same annual license you buy for your summer vacation in the mountains is valid during the winter when the Department of Game and Fish plants rainbow trout in winter waters from Bernalillo to Las Cruces.
  8. Stimulates local economies: Anglers in New Mexico spent an estimated $295,874,000 in 2006. More than $125 million was spent on trip-related expenses, and more than $50 million was spent on food and lodging.
  9. Cool gear: Barbie, Batman and SpongeBob all offer their own lines of equipment.
  10. There’s no tax on sunshine: Get out and enjoy it, but don’t forget your fishing license.

If it’s been a while since you’ve been fishing, the Department of Game and Fish invites you to visit the New Mexico Magazine web site,, to view a short piece featuring last year’s Free Fishing Day free fishing clinic at Eagle Rock Lake near Questa. The video is accessible through the CyberPlaza. Look for the Game and Fish video named “Kids.”

The New Mexico Magazine web site also has a Game and Fish video about the state’s efforts to save the Rio Grande cutthroat from extinction. This video is called “Cutthroat,” and shows the annual spawning efforts conducted at the Seven Springs Hatchery in the Jemez Mountains. 

Both videos were made by Santa Fe producer Alberto Romero.

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PORTALES -- A Portales man has pleaded not guilty to 20 wildlife-related charges stemming from an extensive investigation by the Department of Game and Fish into numerous deer poaching incidents.

Jacob Gaines, 20, was arrested March 12 after a search warrant was executed at his Portales residence, where conservation officers seized 17 deer heads and one pronghorn antelope head. Gaines was released on $10,000 bond after requesting a jury trial in Roosevelt County Magistrate Court in Portales. Jury selection is scheduled for Aug. 10.

Charges against Gaines include 13 counts of unlawful possession of deer, 4 counts of unlawful possession of a deer taken by another, 2 counts of purchasing additional deer hunting licenses, and 1 count of unlawful possession of an antelope. Gaines also faces civil penalties to reimburse the state of New Mexico for the loss of the deer.  Some of the buck deer also may qualify for increased civil penalties because of the trophy size of their antlers. 

The investigation was initiated by a call from a concerned citizen to the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s office alleging that Gaines and others had been poaching deer in the Portales area. Department of Game and Fish officers were called to interview Gaines, who said he and several of his friends had hunted deer during the regularly scheduled rifle hunts in Game Management Unit 32. Gaines also told the officers that he and his friends killed some bucks during those seasons and that the heads were at his residence in Portales. Gaines said that he had the heads at his home because he was skinning them out and making European mounts for his friends.  When asked about whether or not carcass tags were attached to all of the heads, Gaines said that some did and others didn’t.

During the investigation, evidence was collected that contradicted the information presented by Gaines and his friends, especially about the timing of when several of the bucks were killed. Further evidence was gathered, including several photographs that were posted on Gaines' MySpace web page showing Gaines with several different big-game animals.

Anyone with information concerning this case or any other wildlife-related crime is encouraged to call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-432- GAME (4263).  Callers need not identify themselves or appear in court, and may be eligible for rewards.              

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SANTA FE - An uncertain financial future suppressed the bidding for New Mexico’s Big Game Enhancement licenses and license packages this year, resulting in a revenue decline of $222,000.

The licenses were sold at auctions in Forth Worth and Salt Lake City this year and brought in $342,500.  In 2008, the same licenses and packages brought in $568,000. The money is used to improve big game habitat across the state.

“People were nervous about the economy and the future,” said Stewart Liley, elk biologist for the Department of Game and Fish. “They just don’t know what the financial future holds.”

Enhancement license packages include mule deer, elk, antelope, oryx and ibex licenses. This year the Mule Deer Foundation sold one of New Mexico's enhancement packages to a Pennsylvania hunter for $130,000, $15,000 off last year’s auction. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation sold another package to a California hunter for $60,000, off $112,000 from what it brought in 2008. Those organizations receive a percentage of the proceeds.

"Most other states suffered similar declines," Liley said. "And outfitters had a tough time selling hunts."

The bighorn sheep enhancement license sold for $90,000, the same as last year, and the mule deer enhancement permit sold for $25,000, down from $71,000 the year before. The elk enhancement license sold for $37,500, down from $90,000 a year earlier.

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