Hunters Say New Mexico Antelope Draw is Unfair

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If you spend enough time going through western hunting regulations, you'll find a myriad of ways to divide tags and manage wildlife. One system that is drawing criticism is New Mexico's method of allocating pronghorn tags. High Country News is running a good article on how the draw works and why some are critical of the process.

New Mexico landowners received 4,004 antelope certificates in 2009, according to records obtained by the nonprofit New Mexico Wildlife Federation. In contrast, just 1,785 licenses went into the lottery system. Because state law mandates that a certain percentage of those go to out-of-state applicants, some 12,711 New Mexico hunters competed for just 1,432 licenses. "No one here had any idea the degree to which our licenses had really been privatized," says Jeremy Vesbach, the group's executive director. "It has turned into a system where 70 percent are being resold rather than everybody getting an equal chance with the draw."


Ca_Vermonster's picture

I am n ot trying to get

I am n ot trying to get points here, but I wanted to quote from the story;

"gives participating landowners "authorization certificates" that they can then auction, trade or sell to hunters and outfitters, often for thousands of dollars. "

that right there is another great example of what is becomming of our sport.  It is becomming a sport for the wealthy.  I understand if someone owns their own land, pays taxes on their own land, they should be able to get something back from it.

However, I find it ludicrous that they can do this kind of stuff on PUBLIC land where they have grazing rights.  That is still public land, and they/we should have the right to enjoy what it has to offer.  I don't think it's right to give out such a large number of tags to the landowners.

I don't know when things like this will stop.  Maybe, as some have suggested, when out of staters finally give up, and they start losing out on the millions of dollars to the local economies that we, as hunters, bring in.

Money always talks though, unfortunately.

groovy mike's picture

integrity issue or apathy?

Integrity is always a good thing but it doesn’t sound to me like anyone was being deliberately dishonest here.  It seems that what lobbyist for the land owners convinced the state of New Mexico was a good idea slipped under the radar of any in-state resident sportsman’s groups.  The residents either didn't see this coming because they weren't aware that regulations for license allocation were being changed or they didn't show enough interest to be involved in teh process.  Of course there is always teh chance that there is corruption involved too which would negate any and all levels of vigilance and protest by resident sportsmen until some form of law enforcement became involved, but I don't see any evidence of that in the article posted.    


Still, it sure seems like there ought to be a more equitable option, but I’m not sure what it would be.

antelope tags

    I think we need to look at the math.landowners are getting approx 69% of the tags, residents are getting approx 25% of the tags, and non-res approx 6%.

   I fail to see why the non-res should be crucified financially for a 6% opportunity, when the resident oppotunity is already 4 times greater. Out of the 5,789 tags the real problem seems to be that the landowners are getting to control what happens to 4,004 of the tags.Weather purchased by residents or non residents its seems odd that New Mexico would allow such a large portion of their tags essentially go to whomever will pay the most. As for the poor fellow who equates 5,789 tags into 10,000 rich tourist,please check the math there are only 353 non res-tags(approx)

nemmert's picture

You have to ask yourself,

You have to ask yourself, what other industry does New Mexico have?  Bringing in 10,000 high paying tourists is probably a pretty big portion of their yearly economy.  Hopefully the state is also charging an arm and a leg for those out of state licenses.

I can understand the locals being upset... but the state has to maximize what little it has.

gatorfan's picture

I would be mad

I would be mad if I was a New Mexico resident!  Maybe they will follow Montana's lead and "fix" this broken system.

jaybe's picture

Get Back To Basics!

Every state in the republic is under great stress these days to "make ends meet" (which they rarely do).

It's not difficult to see why lawmakers - local, state and national - give in to pressure from special interest groups and lobbyists rather than just doing what is right and best for the people.

The hunting license system of a state is no different from the tax rates, building permit fees, or any other method of raising money. Those in power are going to do whatever they can to wring every dollar from the system as they try to justify their jobs and reassure their re-election.

We need to elect people into office with real integrity; we need to get back to the basics of government by the people and for the people rather than much of what we see today.

This is not a rant; this is just what it is.