New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866
Media contact, Tristanna Bickford: (505) 476-8027


New Mexico Trapping Statute Goes into Effect April 1

SANTA FE – Legislation passed in 2021 making trapping on public lands illegal, with few exceptions, goes into effect this Friday, April 1. This new statute, titled the Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act (17-11-1 through 17-11-5 NMSA), makes the use of “a trap, snare or wildlife poison for the purposes of capturing, injuring or killing an animal on public land…” unlawful.

Public land is defined as “state-owned land, state-leased land, lands held in trust by the state, lands administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States Forest Service, the Federal Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the United States Department of Defense, State Parks and any county or municipality…”

Violators of the statute are guilty of a misdemeanor and each trap, snare or poison application constitutes a single violation of the Act. Penalties under the Act are cumulative to any other penalties provided by law and the court may also consider appropriate restitution to a state agency that incurs costs in enforcing the Act.

The entirety of the Wildlife Conservation and Public Safety Act, including exceptions to the Act, can be found online at under Chapter 17 Game and Fish and Outdoor Recreation Article 11.

Anyone with information on possible wildlife crimes is encouraged to call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-432-4263. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for rewards if information leads to charges being filed.