Decoy Bill Signed Into Law

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Hunters and others soon may encounter artificial wildlife, or decoy, operations by Game and Fish officers during the daytime as well as at night. Gov. Bill Richardson signed Senate Bill 59 April 2, making it illegal to shoot at artificial game or birds. The governor signed several other wildlife-related bills early this month, providing new opportunities for the public and assistance for wildlife management.

New Mexicans will be able to buy "designer" wildlife license plates and support non-game wildlife at the same time. House Bill 656 requires the Motor Vehicle Division to issue special license plates featuring wildlife artwork. A portion of the original fee for the plates provides funding for Share with Wildlife programs benefiting species that need more attention.

Other wildlife-related bills signed by Gov. Richardson include House Bill 560, which allows the Game Commission to designate areas of the state in which bear-proof garbage containers are required on public and private lands to reduce potential human-bear interactions.

Senate Bill 560, signed by Gov. Richardson March 21, requires the Commission to authorize two deer enhancement permits each year to raise funds for deer management programs and projects.

Fishermen may use two fishing rods for game fish during open seasons by purchasing a second rod validation for a $3.00 fee, under House Bill 516 signed April 6.

House Bill 650 allows two elk licenses for certain individuals.

The New Mexico whiptail lizard and the New Mexico spadefoot toad now are the official state reptile and amphibian, respectively. House Bill 430 was signed April 6, adding the two animals to the Sandia hairstreak's designation as the official state butterfly.

Gov. Richardson vetoed Senate Bill 660, which would allow the donation of wild game products to charitable, religious and non-profit organizations for human consumption. Three more wildlife bills were pocket-vetoed by the governor, including Senate Bill 737, which would redefine the definition and property-posting requirements for Criminal Trespass violations; and Senate Bill 812, which would eliminate size restriction requirements for game parks. House Bill 860, which would provide for bighorn sheep habitat improvement, also was pocket-vetoed.