New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Rachel Shockley, (505) 476-8071; cell: (505) 470-6832
Public contact: (888) 248-6866



SANTA FE – Department of Game and Fish law enforcement officers spent the Fourth of July weekend patrolling lakes and recreation areas throughout the state in an effort to keep people and New Mexico’s wildlife safe.

Officers contacted more than 2,000 anglers and people riding off-highway vehicles to check for licenses and permits. They also assisted State Parks officers, responded to bear complaints, and enforced OHV safety rules and fishing bag limits.

Officers issued more than 200 citations over the weekend, a small percentage of those checked. Most of the citations were for fishing without a license. Fishing violations can result in fines of $50 to $500 and up to six months in jail. Repeat offenders or those committing more serious violations can have their hunting or fishing privileges revoked.

Officers patrolled popular lakes and rivers in New Mexico, including Bluewater, Navajo, Ute, Santa Rosa, Grindstone, Elephant Butte lakes and the San Juan and Pecos rivers. The department will continue patrols statewide throughout the summer.

“New Mexico’s conservation officers want to ensure that the wildlife and the people who enjoy outdoor recreation stay safe,” department Col. Robert Griego said. “Our officers also want to make sure that everyone out there enjoying their wildlife resources have done their fair share by purchasing the necessary licenses or permits.”

The Department of Game and Fish receives no general fund tax dollars. Instead, hunters and anglers pay for conservation in New Mexico through the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses and through federal excise taxes on sporting goods.

“Our sportsmen and women are generally responsible and law abiding,” Griego said. “We want to thank our licensed anglers and hunters who are doing the right thing.”

To report fishing violations or other wildlife crimes, please contact Operation Game Thief at 1-800-432-4263. For a free copy of the New Mexico Fishing Rules and Information booklet and more information about fishing in New Mexico, please visit, or call the department at (888) 248-6866.