New Harvest Reporting System Proposed to Start this Year

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All New Mexico deer and elk hunters, trappers and furbearer hunters will be able to increase their participation in the management and conservation of their game species beginning this year, when the Department of Game and Fish initiates the New Mexico Hunter-Trapper Reporting System . The new system will vastly improve the Department's ability to manage the state's wildlife. Typically, only one in four hunters returned harvest questionnaires under the old system.

Under the proposed system, everyone who is licensed or has a permit to hunt deer or elk must report the results of their hunting efforts by Feb. 15, 2007. Furbearer hunters and trappers must report their harvest results by March 31, 2007. License buyers who do not report will not be allowed to participate in the following season's special hunt drawings -- including private-land authorization programs. Hunters who miss the deadline can still participate in the drawings if they make their harvest report and pay a late fee.

Reporting harvest results will take only minutes by telephone or the Internet. Details will be available on the Department of Game and Fish Web site, www.wildlife.state.nm.us . Those who report online may be eligible for special incentive hunt drawings.

Public comments encouraged:

• The State Game Commission will act on this Rule at its May 25 meeting in Clayton.

• The complete text of the proposed harvest reporting rule follows below. It is also available on the Department Web site, www.wildlife.state.nm.us

• We are seeking your written comments:

E-mail to: darrel.weybright@state.nm.us

Or, mail to: NMDGF, Wildlife Management Division, Big Game Section, P.O. Box 25112, Santa Fe, NM 87504

What the new system will do for you:

• Improved harvest information will allow the Department to better estimate the hunting impact on our deer and elk herds.

• Accurate harvest information is a useful check of population estimates.

• Improved herd estimates will mean better management overall, and in some cases, more hunting opportunities.

How will it work?

• All deer and elk hunters and furbearer hunters and trappers simply make a free phone call or access a special Web page and provide harvest information annually.

• Hunters provide their first and last name, date of birth and the last four digits of their Social Security number to identify themselves, and then provide answers to three or four questions about their hunts.

• A Feb. 15 deadline will ensure hunters provide their harvest information in time to allow them to successfully apply by the early April deadline for the big-game drawing.

• If hunters fail to provide harvest information, their applications will be rejected for any special entry hunts the following hunting season unless they pay a late fee (no more than $20) and supply their hunt information.