Desert Bighorn Sheep Delisting on New Mexico Game Commission Agenda
The New Mexico Game Commission will consider removing desert bighorn sheep from the list of state threatened and endangered species at its meeting Thursday in Farmington.
Desert bighorn sheep were listed as a state endangered species in 1980 when the population was estimated at fewer than 70. Today, through numerous releases, selective predator control and support from numerous wildlife conservation groups, the population estimate is 645, far exceeding the delisting criteria under the state Wildlife Conservation Act.
Thursday’s meeting will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriott Conference Center, 560 Scott Ave., in Farmington. The full agenda, detailed agenda-item briefings and other information are available on the Department of Game and Fish website, www.wildlife.state.nm.us, or by calling (505) 476-8008. Details of proposed rules and opportunities to comment about them also are available on the website.
Other agenda items include:
- A proposal to redistribute off-range oryx hunts in April and May to dates later in the year to accommodate a later application date and license drawings.
- A proposal to establish drawing deadlines for 2012-2013 turkey and bear Wildlife Management Area permits (Feb. 1, 2012); and for public-land deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, oryx, ibex, Barbary sheep, bighorn sheep and javelina (March 28, 2012).
- Discussion of a proposal to allow unlimited take of northern pike from Eagle Nest Lake to address the aggressive species’ impact on the lake’s trout and salmon fishery.
- An update on management of the San Juan River trophy trout fishery, including results of fish and angler surveys and a progress report on a current trout habitat project.
- Discussion of a proposal to modify eligibility requirements for youths interested in purchasing Youth Encouragement Elk Licenses to allow more youths to take advantage of the hunting opportunities.
The State Game Commission is composed of seven members who represent the state’s diverse interests in wildlife-associated recreation and conservation. Members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate. Current members are Chairman Jim McClintic, Vice-chairman Thomas “Dick” Salopek, Tom Arvas, Bill Montoya, Scott Bidegain, Robert Hoffman and Robert Espinoza Sr.