New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Media contact: Dan Williams, (505) 476-8004
Public contact: (505) 476-8000
dan.williams@state.nm.us

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JAN. 31, 2008:

ILLEGALLY ACQUIRED SNAKES REMOVED FROM RESIDENCE IN DEMING
DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATES ILLEGAL SHOOTING OF BOBCAT NEAR RATON
COMMISSION TO CONSIDER GAIN EXPANSION APPROVAL
APPLICATION DEADLINE IS FEB. 6 FOR ORYX, TURKEY HUNTS

 

179 ILLEGALLY ACQUIRED SNAKES REMOVED FROM RESIDENCE IN DEMING

canebrake rattlesnakeDEMING -- Department of Game and Fish officers Wednesday removed 179 snakes, 84 of them venomous, from the residence of a Deming man who died Tuesday after having been bitten by a rattlesnake he kept in his house.

A canebrake rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus atricaudatus) bit James D. Bear, 37, on his right thumb Thursday, Jan. 24, while he was alone in his three-bedroom mobile home, where he kept and bred the snakes in various containers. He died at 11:49 a.m. Tuesday at El Paso's Thomason Hospital.

Deming police called the Department of Game and Fish to Bear's mobile home shortly after Bear was bitten to assist with the snakes and to determine whether any state or federal laws had been broken. An investigation indicated that Bear did not have the necessary permits to possess, obtain or sell the snakes. Officers confiscated the snakes and materials relating to their transportation and sale Jan. 30 on a warrant issued by Sixth Judicial District Court Judge Gary Jeffreys.

The confiscated snakes of various species were turned over to friends of Bear, who said they planned to take the reptiles to Texas, where they would be kept on behalf of Bear's wife, Danielle Plantz, and their three young children.

It is illegal to import any live wild animals, birds or fish into New Mexico without first obtaining a permit from the Department of Game and Fish. Other regulations apply to venomous snakes, and the collection or sales of any wild animals.

"It is important that we carefully control any species that we bring into our state, for public safety and to protect our native game animals, birds and fish against infectious or contagious diseases," Department Chief of Law Enforcement Dan Brooks said.

The Department currently is reviewing the rules concerning the importation, possession and sales of wild animals, birds and fish. Information about the rules and an opportunity to comment about them and offer suggestions is available on the Department website, www.wildlife.state.nm.us. Click on "Public comments."

For more information about wildlife importation rules and permits, please call the Department of Game and Fish Law Enforcement Division, (505) 476-8066.

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DEPARTMENT INVESTIGATES ILLEGAL SHOOTING OF BOBCAT NEAR RATON

RATON -- The Department of Game and Fish has filed charges alleging an off-duty Department conservation officer was involved in the illegal killing of a bobcat Jan. 25 near Raton.

According to official reports, officer Levi Irwin, 26, shot and killed a bobcat from a vehicle while the bobcat was feeding on a road-killed deer within the right-of-way of N.M. 555 west of Raton. Shooting from a vehicle and shooting a protected animal in a highway right-of-way are illegal in New Mexico. Officer Irwin has not been arraigned on either charge.

Reports said officer Irwin admitted to shooting the bobcat in the right-of-way from his personal vehicle. He has been employed by the Department since September 2005.

"The Department is committed to ensuring equal application of the law regardless of who may be accused of violating wildlife laws," Department Deputy Director Bob Jenks said. "We strive to maintain the public's trust and confidence in our professional staff."

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COMMISSION TO CONSIDER G.A.I.N. EXPANSION APPROVAL

SANTA FE, N.M. -- The State Game Commission will consider establishing Gaining Access Into Nature fees and activities for Commission-owned State Wildlife Areas during its Feb. 21 meeting in Santa Fe.

The Department of Game and Fish is proposing requirements that all GAIN visitors to the wildlife areas be required to purchase $15 GAIN permits and $4 habitat improvement stamps annually. The fees would be implemented April 1.

In preparation for that meeting, the Department of Game and Fish is seeking comments on the opportunities and the fees. Comments may be submitted via the Public Comment tab on the Department’s web site, www.wildlife.state.nm.us, or by attending public meetings scheduled across the state.

Meetings will be from 6 to 8 p.m. at the following locations:

Silver City -- Feb. 11 at the National Guard Armory, 11990 U.S. 180, Santa Clara.
Albuquerque -- Feb. 12 at the Department of Game and Fish office, 3841 Midway Place NE.
Cimarron -- Feb. 13 at Philmont Scout Ranch, Beaubien Classroom.
Portales -- Feb. 15 at the Memorial Building, 200 East 7th St. on the Eastern New Mexico University     campus.

For more information, please call Mike Gustin, (505) 476-8112.

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APPLICATION DEADLINE IS FEB. 6 FOR ORYX, TURKEY HUNTS

Hunters have until Wednesday, Feb. 6, to mail or submit applications for 2008-2009 oryx licenses, Wildlife Management Area bear permits, population reduction hunts and special spring turkey permits. To be eligible for the drawing, hunters who held deer permits or elk licenses for the 2007-2008 season must have reported their harvest results before applying.
 
Applications must be postmarked by Feb. 6, or received via the Department of Game and Fish website by 5 p.m. Feb. 6. Hunters are encouraged to use the website, www.wildlife.state.nm.us, as the most convenient way to apply. Written applications and 2008-2009 Rules and Information Booklets are available at license vendors statewide and at Department offices in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Raton, Roswell and Las Cruces.

For more information and complete details about mandatory harvest reporting or the special hunt drawings, please visit the Department Web site, www.wildlife.state.nm.us , or call the Wildlife Management Division at 505-476-8038.
 

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