Mule Deer Raffle Tickets Available in Mid-February

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The Mule Deer Foundation's Farmington chapter will begin selling raffle tickets for one New Mexico mule deer license authorization beginning mid-February. The chapter administers the raffle ticket sales for the Department of Game and Fish and begins selling them during the Mule Deer Foundation's national convention Feb. 13-15 in Reno, Nev.

"We're going to have a toll-free number and we plan to sell the tickets nationally," said Dawn Waldron, merchandise chairwoman for the Farmington chapter. "We will advertise in the Mule Deer Foundation book and other nationwide publications so we can sell as many tickets as possible."

Tickets cost $20 and the raffle drawing will be held July 23 at the chapter's annual banquet in Farmington - after the public drawing for deer licenses. The raffle winner's deer license is authorized to be used with any legal sporting arm from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2004. The license is valid on any public land where deer hunting is allowed, including Wildlife Management Areas or private lands with the landowner's permission. The winner also may sell, barter or give the license authorization to another party.

Last year the Legislature authorized the State Game Commission to issue two deer enhancement licenses to help deer management and propagation in New Mexico. The Mule Deer Foundation administers the issuance of those license authorizations for the Department. The first license authorization is issued by the raffle and the second will be auctioned at the foundation's national convention in Reno. Revenue received from the raffle and auction go into game protection funds for mule deer habitat and management projects.

Because this is the first year for these funds to be raised, no revenue has been generated yet. Barry Hale, deer biologist for the Department, said he expects the funds to be used for projects like the Mule Deer STAMP project currently underway in northeastern New Mexico or toward habitat improvements and conservation easements such as that at the Double H Ranch.

"We put in solar water tanks with money from our first banquet and we might put out more of those," said Waldron. "The deer need water out there."

Tickets will be sold by mail as well as by phone and checks and major credit cards are accepted. The address is 15A Road 6310, Kirtland, NM 87417. More information is available at www.muledeer.org or by calling the toll-free number, (888) 375-3337.