Iraq Emergency Vets May Receive Free Hunting Licenses

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New Mexico members of armed forces called up for active duty associated with the Iraq emergency are eligible to receive a free general hunting and fishing license, under a state law passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Bill Richardson in 2003. Patrick Block, chief of the Administrative Services Division for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, announced the license benefit March 29.

The active duty assignment must have required travel beyond New Mexico's borders and is valid for one year only.

"Since the law is not clear about restricting this to reserve and National Guard members, we will provide this benefit to members of the military active duty as well, as long as they meet New Mexico residency requirements," said Block.

The law states that the free license is available for the year following the year of the member's deactivation and return to the state, but those eligible may receive them as soon as they are ready, said Block.

"The Department wants to meet the spirit and intent of this law by issuing the licenses when requested, rather than making customers wait until the next license year begins," he said.

The free licenses are available only through Department offices in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Roswell, Las Cruces and Raton. For more information, call (505) 476-8096.