Turkey Season Closed in New Mexico's Lincoln Nat. Forest

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The May 1 closure of the Lincoln National Forest will send spring turkey hunters looking for birds in other areas of the state for the last 10 days of the 2008 season.

Forest officials said the closure, which began at 8 a.m. Thursday, May 1, is necessary because of extremely dry conditions and increasing fire danger forest-wide. Spring turkey season opened April 15 and runs through May 10 in most areas of the state.

Although many public and private campgrounds and all major roads through the Lincoln National Forest will remain open, forest roads, trails and most recreation sites will be closed. Access to the forest will be prohibited, with few exceptions.

Hunters displaced by the closure can find plenty of birds in other areas of the state, including the Gila National Forest, and the Jemez and Pecos country in the Santa Fe National Forest. Hunters are encouraged to get the latest information about fire restrictions and closures in advance of their trip.

Information about fire restrictions and closures statewide is available on the Southwest Area Wildlife Fire Operations website, www.fs.fed.us/r3/fire or by calling toll-free (877) 864-6985.

For more information about the Fire Closure Order or the Lincoln National Forest, please contact the Supervisor’s Office at (575) 434-7200, or one of the following District Offices at:

  • -- Smokey Bear Ranger District: (575) 257-4095.
  • -- Sacramento Ranger District Office: (575) 682-2551.
  • -- Carlsbad Ranger District Office: (575) 885-4181.

All offices are open Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Please visit the Lincoln National Forest website at: www.fs.fed.us/r3/lincoln.

The Department of Game and Fish also reminds hunters that several game management units in southeastern New Mexico are closed to spring turkey hunting. These areas are closed to hunting to protect new turkey populations established by reintroductions by the Department.

The Department has released Merriam turkeys into the Guadalupe Mountains of Unit 30 in an attempt to supplement existing flocks. Rio Grande turkeys have been released into several areas of Units 31, 32, and 33 along the Pecos, Black, and Delaware Rivers. Once the Department has determined that the turkey populations in these areas have increased enough to handle sport harvest, hunting may be allowed.

Department officers will be patrolling those areas where turkeys have been released in the closed units. Please see the 2008-2009 Big-Game Rules and Information Booklet for details. For more information, please call the Department's office in Roswell, (575) 624-6135.