Report a poacher – New Mexico (CLICK HERE)

Enforcement

The Field Operations Division is responsible for coordinating and administrating the Department’s law enforcement efforts.

The NMDGF’s Field Operations Division patrols New Mexico’s vast landscape via foot, boat, snowmobile, OHV, aircraft, pick-up truck and horseback. The Field Operations Division also plays a critical role in Department activities from assisting with annual state and county fairs, the Department’s Outdoor Expo, Hunter Education, National Archery in the Schools program (NASP) and numerous wildlife/fishery management activities.

Field Operations headquarters is located at the Department’s Santa Fe office and coordinates Department wide efforts and programs through four area offices located in each region of the state. Field Operations is responsible for eight statewide programs: Operation Game Thief, Hunting and Fishing License Revocations, Field Law Enforcement-Uniform Patrol and Investigations, Guide and Outfitter Registrations, Special Use Permits, Officer Training and Education, Scientific/Educational Permits, and Special Investigations Unit.

The division currently has 72 Officers in the field from District Officer to Sergeant. Officers now receive standardized patrol trucks which are fully equipped with firearm locking systems, high watt, high band radios, laptop computers with Computer Assisted Dispatch (CAD’s) and are receiving dispatch services from New Mexico State Police/ Department of Public Safety.

Rules & Statutes (External Links)

Chapter 17 Statutes
Regulation 19.30 Wildlife Administration
Regulation 19.31 Hunting & Fishing
Regulation 19.32 Trapping and Furbearers
Regulation 19.33 Endangered and Protected Species
Regulation 19.34 Wildlife Habitat and Lands
Regulation 19.35 Captive Wildlife Uses
Regulation 19.36 Wildlife Education and Training
New Mexico Court Case Lookup
Rules & Information (Publications Page)

Civil Restitution for Poaching

Conservation Officers (Game Wardens) can be found patrolling the lands and waters of the state day and night. Most people will tell you that enforcing the game and fish laws is their primary responsibility, but the job doesn’t stop there. In addition to enforcement, the conservation officer educates the public about wildlife and wildlife management, conducts wildlife surveys, captures “problem animals,” investigates wildlife damage to crops and property, assists in wildlife relocations and helps to develop new regulations.

HIRING – Spring 2023

To become a Conservation Officer, the educational requirements include a Bachelor of Science degree from an accredited college or university in biological sciences, police science or law enforcement, natural resources conservation, ecology, or related fields. The Department has determined that “related fields” are, but are not limited to: Agricultural Science, Animal Science, biology, botany, chemistry, conservation, criminal justice, criminology, ecology, entomology, environmental management, environmental science, environmental studies, fisheries or wildlife management, forestry, forest wildlife, geography, geology, herpetology, life science, mammalogy, marine biology, natural resources, ornithology, physics, psychology, plant taxonomy, range science, water quality management and zoology.

Hiring Timeline

Updated 11-1- 2022:

Fall 2022 – Conservation Officer Recruit Hiring Timeline
Sept. 26, 2022: Job Announcement Opens
Nov. 6: Job Announcement Closes at 17:00 (Mountain Standard Time (MST))
Dec. 3: Physical Pre-Assessment Testing ***Location TBD*** (see physical standards for above 6,000 feet) and written exam (see sample test for study tips)
Dec. 4: Interviews in Albuquerque (if applicant passed physical pre-assessment and written testing)
Dec. 5: Psychological Examination (If selected to continue the process)
Dec. 6: Medical Examination (if selected to continue the process)
Dec. 7-8: Uniform fitting at Galls and Kaufman’s West in Albuquerque (if given a conditional job offer)
Jan. 3, 2023: Start date. Report for duty at the NMDGF Southeast Area Office in Roswell at 08:00 MST.
Jan. 6: Southeastern New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Basic Police Officer Physical Pre- Assessment (same physical standards as December 3rd)
Jan. 9-18: Recruit Basic Firearms Training
Jan. 29: Southeastern New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Basic Police Officer Training #A-22-47- Hobbs
May 26: Southeastern New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy Basic Police Officer Training #A-22-47 Graduation- Hobbs
June 5-14: Recruit School Block 1 – Law Block
June 19-28: Recruit School Block 2
July 5-9: Recruit Basic Boat Operations Training
July 12: Hunter Education Instructor Workshop
July 13: Wildlife Restraint, Immobilization and Euthanasia
July 17-21: Wilderness Patrol Tactics & Horse Packing
July 29*: Report for duty to your assigned Field Training Officer (FTO) for 14 weeks of in the field training
September*: Recruits will get their district duty station assignments and can begin preparing to find housing etc.
Nov. 11*: Upon successful completion of all training recruits will be promoted to District Wildlife Officer and will be stationed in their own district.  Duty stations could be anywhere in the state and will be based on Department need.

*These are approximate dates.  The exact date will be situation/recruit dependent and may vary from this schedule.

Please call or email Lt. Andrew Armendariz with any questions about becoming a New Mexico Game Warden, the hiring process or to schedule a ride along with an officer in any area of the state.

NMDGF Training and Recruiting Lieutenant
Andrew Armendariz
Cell    – 505-690-9563
Email – Andrew.Armendariz@state.nm.us

Conservation Officers

Conservation Officers (Fish and Game Wardens) can be found patrolling the lands and waters of the state day and night. Most people will tell you that enforcing the game and fish laws is their primary responsibility, but the job doesn’t stop there. In addition to enforcement, the conservation officer educates the public about wildlife and wildlife management, conducts wildlife surveys, captures “problem animals,” investigates wildlife damage to crops and property, assists in wildlife relocations and helps to develop new regulations.

Sample Written Test

Conservation Officer Physical Fitness Standards

Conservation Officer Brochure (09-2022)

See also: NMDGF Featured Officers

Contacts

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
1 Wildlife Way
Santa Fe, NM 87504

Law Enforcement – Field Operations Division
Email: DGF-FieldOps@state.nm.us
Phone: 505-476-8085

HR Administrator
 JoeRay Anaya
JoeRay.Anaya@state.nm.us

NM Department of Public Safety
Law Enforcement Academy
4491 Cerrillos Road
Santa Fe, NM 87507
Phone: 505-827-9251
www.lea.nm.gov

For assistance or questions relating to job postings and online applications, please contact:
New Mexico State Personnel Office (SPO)
Career Services – Job Opportunities
(505) 476-7759 or email applicant.support@state.nm.us
NEOGOV Customer Support 1-855-524-5627

Featured Officers

Featured Officers  and Career Advancement officers  answer your questions from the field.  Learn more about Conservation Officer (Fish and Game Warden) employment from the Careers in Enforcement page.

Officer Spotlight

July – Officer Spotlight: Ryan Francis

Name: Ryan Francis Duty Station: Carlsbad District Officer Special Area of Responsibility/Game Mgmt Units: Game Management Units: 30, 31, 33 Lincoln National Forest, Guadalupe District Length of Service: 2 years Field Training: Albuquerque Education:High School – Ruidoso High School- Ruidoso, NM College – New Mexico State University – Las Cruces, [...]

Career Advancement

Megan Otero (Promotion)

Name: Megan Otero Promotion to: Guide and Outfitter Program Manager Special Area of Responsibility/Game Mgmt Units: Management of Guides and Outfitters- Statewide Length of Service: 11.5 years Education: High School –Cuba High School College – New Mexico State University – Las Cruces NM Degree - [...]

Officer Spotlight Archives

Career Advancement Archives

Megan Otero (Promotion)

Name: Megan Otero Promotion to: Guide and Outfitter Program Manager Special Area of Responsibility/Game Mgmt Units: Management of Guides and Outfitters- Statewide Length [...]

Tim Cimbal (Promotion)

Name: Tim Cimbal Promotion to: Colonel Special Area of Responsibility/Game Mgmt Units: Statewide Field Operations Length of Service: 17 years Education: High School [...]

Andrew Armendariz (Promotion)

Name: Andrew Armendariz Promotion to: Lieutenant, Law Enforcement Training & Recruiting Special Area of Responsibility/Game Mgmt Units: Statewide- Law Enforcement Training, Field Training [...]

Benjamin Otero (Promotion)

Name: Benjamin Otero Promoted: Sergeant, Chama Supervisory District Special Area of Responsibility/Game Mgmt Units: 6A,6B,6C, 7,5A,5B,4,51,52, Rio Chama Wildlife Area, Sargent Wildlife Area, [...]

  • Career Advancement - Captain Ty Jackson, New Mexico Game and Fish
  • Career Advancement - Captain Ty Jackson, New Mexico Game and Fish
  • Career Advancement - Captain Ty Jackson, New Mexico Game and Fish

Ty Jackson (Promotion)

Name: Ty Jackson Promoted: Captain – Field Operations; Santa Fe Special Area of Responsibility/Game Mgmt Units: I am responsible for law enforcement field [...]

  • NMDGF Career Advancement - Sergeant Kline
  • NMDGF Career Advancement - Sergeant Jason Kline

Sergeant Jason Kline (Promotion)

Name: Sergeant Jason Kline Promoted: Sergeant, Alamogordo District Supervisor Special Area of Responsibility/Game Mgmt Units: GMU’s 38, 37, 36, 34, 29, 28, 18 Education: Bachelor of [...]

Special Use Permits and Information

Special Use Permits including Educational Usage of Wildlife, and Importation are listed below for information, forms, and applications. For assistance with Special Use Permits e-mail Enforcement at DGF.Permits@state.nm.us.
Note: For best results with fillable PDF forms, please download and only open with Adobe Acrobat.  

Special Permit Applications

Airborne Hunting

Airborne Hunt Quarterly Report Form

Permit Application-Renewal Form

Aquaculture

Approved Fish Supplier Application

Aquaculture Permit Application

Aquaculture Permit Information

Aquaculture Qualified Expert Application

Aquaculture Renewal

Regulation 19.35.7 NMAC

Regulation 19.35.9 NMAC

Call Pen

Call Pen Permit Application-Renewal Form

Regulation 19.35.2 NMAC

Class ‘A’ Lake

Permit Application Form

Permit Renewal Form

Regulation 19.35.9 NMAC

Class ‘A’ Park

Permit Application Form

Permit Renewal Form

Regulation 19.35.9 NMAC

Commercial Collecting

Director's Amphibian & Reptile Collection Information & Limits

Permit Application-Renewal Form

Regulation 19.35.10 NMAC

Falconry

Permit Application Form

Permit Renewal-Annual Report Form

Raptor Facilities And Equipment Inspection Report

Raptor Take Draw Application

Raptor Take Non-resident Application

Raptor Take Policy

Regulation 19.35.8 NMAC

Field Trial

Permit Application

Regulation 19.35.2 NMAC

Fur Dealers

Monthly Report Form

Permit Application-Renewal Form

Game Bird Propagation

Game Bird Importation Application Form

Permit Application Form

Permit Renewal Form

Group Fishing Privileges

Group Fishing Field Trip Request Form

Group Fishing for Handicapped Permit Application

Special Fishing Event Permit Application

Nuisance Control

Nuisance Control Monthly Report Form

Permit Application-Renewal Form

Regulation 7.4.2 NMAC (NM Health Dept.)

Protected Mammal

Protected Mammal Permit Application-Renewal Form

Regulation 7.4.2 NMAC (NM Health Dept.)

Shooting Preserve

Permit Application Form

Renewal-Yearly Report

Regulation 19.35.3 NMAC

Use of Artificial Light

Artificial Light Application

Regulation 19.30.13 NMAC

Wildlife Rehabilitation

Acquisition Request Transfers-Releases-Holdovers

Wildlife Rehabilitation Application Form

Wildlife Rehabilitation Renewal Yearly Report Form

Regulation 19.35.5 NMAC

Zoo

Application Information

Zoo Permit Renewal Form

Guide & Outfitter Information

Outfitters, Guides and Outfitted Hunts

NMDGF regulates registered outfitters, guides and outfitted hunts. An outfitter is any person who advertises or holds themselves out to the public for hire or is employed or accepts compensation for providing, within the unit where a hunt occurs, facilities, equipment or services for hunting activities. A “New Mexico Outfitter” is a person who has met very specific qualifications as set forth in law to participate in the 10% special drawing pool.

Before hiring an outfitter, hunter-clients should research the preferred outfitter and obtain references. A list of registered outfitters is provided on this web page. If any person claiming to be a registered outfitter is not on the registered list, do not do business with them and contact the department. It is unlawful for guides to book hunts or contract with hunters directly. Guides are not outfitters. Guides must work under the supervision of their outfitter.

Guide & Outfitter Registrations are Now Online!

Renew Online: To get started, please login to your customer account at https://onlinesales.wildlife.state.nm.us/

How-to for Online Guide Renewals

How-to for Online Outfitter Renewals

NEW Guide Applicants must take the “Guide & Outfitter Exam” in person at their nearest New Mexico Department of Game and Fish office. Exams are available Monday through Friday from 8am to 3pm; closed weekends and holidays. Once you have passed the exam, within a few days, you will receive instructions on how to apply online through your G&F customer account.

NEW Outfitter Applicants should use the Outfitter Application or Renewal Form and follow the checklist of required documents. Always start with the three years proof of guiding employment with a NM registered outfitter. Email proof for review to DGF-Guide-Outfitter@state.nm.us. Once your outfitter application packet qualifies and is approved, you will receive instructions on how to apply online through your G&F customer account.

Your registration will remain Pending until it is processed then you will receive an email notification that it is completed. You can check the status of your registration by logging back into your customer account and clicking on Guide or Outfitter – My Registrations. Your registration will be on your CIN Card, please note that NMDGF will no longer be mailing cards or renewal forms.

If you need help with usernames and passwords, please call our info center at 1-888-248-6866 M-F 8-5.

Contract Requirements

All outfitters shall execute a written contract with each hunter-client, signed and dated by all parties before the hunt begins. Contracts shall designate the terms, guide to hunter-client ratio, hunt dates, compensation charged and services to be provided.

All outfitters shall have a copy of the contract available for inspection in the field during the hunt or they must submit an electronic copy of the contract to the guide and outfitter registrar at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled hunt. Email contracts to DGF-Guide-Outfitter@state.nm.us.

10% Special Drawing Pool

New Mexico’s special drawing pool allocates up to 10% of all available big-game licenses for each hunt code. To apply in the 10% special drawing pool, a “New Mexico Outfitter” shall execute a written contract with each special drawing pool applicant. Contracts must be signed and dated by all parties prior to application for any special drawing pool license. It is unlawful for an outfitter or guide to contract with themselves or to guide themselves using a special drawing pool license. A “New Mexico Outfitter” may release a contracted hunter-client to another “New Mexico Outfitter” provided that the original contract was valid, in place prior to the application deadline and only if it is mutually agreed upon and signed by all parties.

A “New Mexico Outfitter” shall ensure that each hunter-client who obtains a license through the 10% special drawing pool is accompanied by the outfitter or their registered guide for at least two days during the contracted dates of the hunt in the area where the hunter-client’s license is valid. Accompanied shall mean that the outfitter or their registered guide physically escorts the hunter-client in the field during the hunter-client’s license hunt dates.

A hunter-client who obtains a license through the 10% special drawing pool, and chooses to hunt beyond their contracted hunt dates must carry a copy of the contract while hunting if it had not been submitted electronically to the registrar at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled hunt. It is unlawful to hunt with a license obtained through the 10% special drawing pool without being accompanied by, and contracted with, a “New Mexico Outfitter” or their guide for at least two days during the hunt.

Landowner Agents

Any person who purchases landowner permits or private land licenses for a hunter-client or pays for access to a landowner’s deeded property for a hunter-client in any way, shall be considered an outfitter.

A landowner or their agent who is guiding or outfitting on the landowner’s deeded property or pursuant to a landowner permit is exempt from the department’s registration process but may register if they choose.

Agent is a person who is legally authorized by employment or written contract to act on behalf of a private landowner to oversee the landowner’s hunting operation on their deeded property. Agents may not act independently from the landowner. A landowner or their agent must be in compliance with the registration requirements of any pertinent government land management agency when involved with commercial activities on lands controlled or administered by a government land management agency for each hunt code.

To apply or obtain more information, email DGF-Guide-Outfitter@state.nm.us.

Help Solve a Case

Operation Game Thief is a New Mexico Department of Game and Fish program, which pays rewards to citizens who turn in poachers. Begun in 1977 here in New Mexico, Operation Game Thief or a similar program has now been adopted by nearly every other state.  In short, Operation Game Thief is crime-stoppers for wildlife.  In fact, the program was modeled after the original crime-stoppers program started by the Albuquerque, NM Police Department.

Rewards are:
$750 for cases involving elk and bighorn sheep;
$500 for deer and oryx;
$350 for antelope;
$250 for turkey, bear, cougar, javelina, ibex, barbary sheep, endangered species, small game, fish, raptors and furbearers.

File a secure and anonymous report online:

Report a poacher – New Mexico (CLICK HERE)

Report poaching in another state.

Operation Game Thief Logo - Report Poachers at 1-800-432-4263 to a New Mexico Conservation Officer (Fish and Game Warden) - Poachers Steal Your Wildlife


WE NEED YORU HELP!
On March 10, 2022, officers received a call regarding a pronghorn antelope buck that was dead in a field off New Mexico highway 89, between mile posts 9 and 10, near House, NM. After further investigation, officers determined that the the buck was shot and killed and left in the field to rot. Due to the condition of the animal, officers determined that the antelope had been dead for several days.

Cases Solved

More: Cases Solved – Thanks to citizens willing to call

Cold Cases

See more: Help Us Solve These Cold Cases


Program Background

Why Develop Such A Program?

In the 1970’s, most game and fish departments were still working under the misconception that poachers were not really criminals.  Most of the public at that time still excused the game violator by continuing to believe that they only poached to “feed their family” or that the level of illegally killed game animals was insignificant.  With this in mind, in 1975 the Department initiated a unique study to determine just how significant poaching was here in New Mexico.

A young man was hired to cover the state and give the appearance of violating New Mexico’s big game laws. He salvaged heads, hides and feet from hunting season discards and from road kills, then froze them to plant later as “evidence” of violations. Under a collector’s permit, he actually killed a few animals and put them to similar use. All his operations were conducted with the knowledge of only a very small number of people. Hardly anyone in the department knew of his existence, even fewer knew of his purpose. Armed with a large collection of deer parts, he then went about his task of placing simulations of poaching evidence throughout the state. The obvious intent was to determine how many of the simulated poaching events were reported to the department, even when the operative knew that the public had observed him.

At the conclusion of the research project, it was clear that the significance of the out-of-season deer kills was very serious, and was estimated in the neighborhood of 34,000 deer per year. Similar studies in other states produce comparable results and indicated that there were as many deer being killed illegally as there were being taken lawfully. While some of the simulations were observed, there were not as many detected or reported to the department as we would have liked. The operative attributed his success in avoiding apprehension to two primary things. The officers districts were too big, and they aren’t getting any help from the public.

How Does The Program Work?

The Operation Game Thief system is set up to accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to make sure that we are available whenever someone has information about a wildlife law violation.  If you are uncertain about whether or not the information should be reported, the best thing to do is make the report and let a Game and Fish officer sort out the problem.  All calls are confidential and the reporting individual has the option of remaining anonymous.

  • Anyone having information relating to a wildlife law violation can contact the Operation Game Thief hotline, which is toll-free within New Mexico at 1-800-432-4263, or submit an on-line report.  All information about the incident is taken and the caller is assigned a code number;
  • The information is relayed to an officer who immediately initiates an investigation;
  • If a poacher is arrested or issued a citation on the basis of information provided by the caller, a reward is authorized;
  • Rewards can be paid in cash, check or money order and the payment is arranged to protect the anonymity of the caller;
  • Most wildlife enthusiasts don’t except the reward — they just want the criminals stopped!

The key to success and catching poachers is to report the information as quickly as possible.  It is also helpful to give as much detailed information as possible.  The following is a checklist which is helpful in providing the necessary information.

Help Support OGT

It’s easy to donate and support New Mexico’s wildlife!

Operation Game Thief needs your support for continuing success. Your donation is tax deductible, and the money is used to pay rewards in wildlife cases and to promote the OGT program.

Make your donation payable to:
Operation Game Thief
P.O. Box 25112
Santa Fe, NM 87504

Annually the Operation Game Thief program pays between $8,000 – $10,000 in rewards, and its conviction rate exceeds 98%.  Most cases involve big game, such as deer, elk, antelope, bear, cougar and turkey, but callers have also tripped up poachers taking overlimits of fish and game birds, killing raptors and illegally collecting endangered species.

The reward fund doesn’t use tax or license dollars.  It comes from clubs, organizations, businesses and mainly, thousands of ordinary men and women who have chipped in from a few dollars to several hundred, showing their support for Operation Game Thief — and sending the poacher a message.

Enforcement Contacts

NMDGF Enforcement

Law Enforcement Field Operations
1 Wildlife Way
Santa Fe, NM 87504

PO Box 25112
Santa Fe, NM 87507

For assistance or questions relating to job openings and applications, please see the Enforcement Careers page.

Operation Game Thief

NMDGF’s Operation Game Thief  pays rewards to citizens who turn in poachers.
⇒ File a secure and anonymous report online.
⇒ View new unsolved and solved case reports.Contact New Mexico conservation enforcement (Fish & Game Wardens) - Operation Game Thief 1-800-432-4263.
Click Here to visit the Operation Game Thief page:

Regional Contacts

Conservation Officer District Public Map 09-22-2022

See also the NMDGF Directory: https://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/home/contact/

Northwest Office:
Vacant, Captain
7816 Alamo Rd NW
Albuquerque, NM 87120
Phone: (505) 222-4700
Fax: (505) 222-4720
E-mail:
Click Here to View Map
Northeast Office:
Matthew Anthony, Captain
215 York Canyon Road
Raton, NM 87740
Phone: (575) 445-2311
Fax: (575) 445-5651
E-mail: matthew.anthony@state.nm.us
Click Here to View Map
Southwest Office:
Mike Matthews, Captain
2715 Northrise Drive
Las Cruces, NM 88011
Phone: (575) 532-2100
Fax: (575) 522-8382
E-mail: mike.matthews@state.nm.us
Click Here to View Map
Southeast Office:
Andrew Gray, Captain
1615 W College Blvd
Roswell, NM 88201
Phone: (575) 624-6135
Fax: (575) 624-6136
E-mail: andrew.gray@state.nm.us
Click Here to View Map