VOL. 52, NO. 2 — Fall 2007
Welcome moisture improves wild-
Dying to meet you
life habitat, hunting prospects
across New Mexico.
Please see Page 6.
IN THIS ISSUE:
6. Fishing survey
Anglers prefer catch-and-release.
7. Youth hunts
More opportunities than ever.
8. Jack of hares
New Mexico is home to three species
of jack rabbits.
11. Open Gate
Program gains hunting access.
12. Fat chance for weather
Find the forecast in bear grease.
2. game&ﬁsh news
Photo: Clint Henson
— Trout in the Classroom
People who plant apple trees in bear country can expect company when the fruit ripens in late summer.
— Outdoor Expo draws 2,000
Falcons hatch young in 1st year
Fishing opens for Gila trout
and much more …
Our food is bad news for bears, lions
By Dan Williams
6. Hunting by region
he stories never end in New Mexico
— Northwest looking good
and across the western states:
— Gila elk bigger than ever
— More deer in northeast
• Bear ﬁnds garbage, birdfeeder or
— Moisture helps southeast herds
camper's pic-a-nic basket. Bear dies.
• Mountain lion on the outskirts of town
Silvery success makes easy meals of house cats, small
— Partners band together to save dogs and pygmy goats. Lion dies.
Through July of this year, at least 22
bears and three cougars were killed a�er
Department of Game and Fish oﬃcers
A publication determined they were public safety threats. Photo: Nick Smith
devoted In ﬁscal year 2006-07, 19 bears and seven Hungry mountain lions pressured by human de-
to the enjoyment and velopment and other lions often ﬁnd trouble when
cougars met the same fate. they start snacking on house cats and other pets.
New Mexico wildlife.
"When it gets to the point that the bears or It's been a busy summer for conservation
lions are chronic problems and lose their oﬃcers across New Mexico. Despite
fear of humans, we really have no choice," a good snowpack and wet spring that
said Lief Ahlm, chief of the Department's encouraged growth of natural foods and
Northeast Area, which includes the country prey reproduction, numbers of bear and lion
around Raton and Las Vegas. Eleven bears complaints have been above average. Rick
Published by and two cougars were killed in his area Winslow, the Department's large carnivore
The New Mexico Department through July. Eight more bears died a�er
of Game and Fish being hit by cars. Continued on Page 13
game&ﬁsh news NEW MEXICO DEPARTMENT
OF GAME AND FISH
Trout in the Classroom a swimming success Bruce Thompson
By Clint Henson Luke Shelby
Assistant Director for Resources
Raton – Nearly eight months a�er Patrick Block
watching an aquarium full of eggs Assistant Director
hatch in their aquariums, students at for Support Services
Columbian Elementary School in Raton
celebrated a successful Trout in the Mike Sloane
Classroom project by stocking about Fisheries
150 ﬁsh in nearby Lake Maloya. R. J. Kirkpatrick
Students, parents, teachers and Dan Brooks
Department of Game and Fish oﬃcers Law Enforcement
gathered April 28 to conclude the
project. With wonderful, warm weather
Public Information and Outreach
and calm waters, each child took a few
ﬁsh, tempering them ever so gently to Carlos Valdez
acclimate them to their new home, then Administrative Services
watched them swim away. Shirley Baker
Danny Cummings, speech therapist at Robert McGee
Columbian Elementary, learned about Information Services
the Trout in the Classroom project about
a year ago, and asked if any teachers AREA SUPERVISORS
would be willing to host an aquarium Luis Rios / Las Cruces
to raise trout eggs. Lisa Sanchez’s Lief Ahlm / Raton
second-grade class and Eva Chavez’s Roy Hayes / Roswell
third-grade class volunteered to make
Photo: Clint Henson Brian Gleadle / Albuquerque
room for the 55-gallon aquariums.
Columbian Elementary received a grant Fisheries biologist Eric Frey prepares a bag of ﬁngerling trout so they
from Public Service Company of New can be stocked in Lake Maloya by students from Columbian Elementary STATE GAME COMMISSION
Mexico to purchase their own aquarium School in Raton. Alfredo Montoya, Chairman
that will stay at the school. The New Alcalde
Mexico Department of Game and Fish and ﬁsh biology. Only about 5 percent ﬁshing opportunities to anglers all over Tom Arvas, Vice-Chairman
supported the project by supplying a of the original 3,000 eggs survived to the state. Now, thanks to the children Albuquerque
second aquarium and trout eggs. be released into Lake Maloya. This was of Raton, a few more ﬁsh are available
an important lesson about how ﬁsh lay to the public. Several other schools in Leo Sims
Students were able to track the growth thousands of eggs only to have a very New Mexico have shown interest in the Hobbs
of the ﬁsh from eggs to release. They few grow to adults. project, and soon many other children Sandy Buffett
monitored the water temperature, will have this opportunity to learn Santa Fe
pH, and made sure that all the pumps A�er the ﬁsh had been released, several about ﬁsheries management. M. H. “Dutch” Salmon
and ﬁlters were working every day. children stayed at the lake to ﬁsh. The Silver City
Cummings and oﬃcers from the Game Department supplied rods and bait and For more information about Trout in
and Fish Department gave several some helpful hints. The program also the Classroom, please contact Colleen Jim McClintic
presentations to the classes about showed how the Department raises Welch at (505) 476-8119 or colleen. Albuquerque
ﬁsheries management, water quality millions of ﬁsh each year to provide firstname.lastname@example.org. Terry Riley
Fun for families:
Providing New Mexico
5th Outdoor Expo and its wildlife
attracts 2,000 people Year-round
Cold temperatures, wind and even a
bout of snow were no match for the E xcellent
enthusiasm at this year’s New Mexico
Outdoor Expo at the Albuquerque S ervices
Shooting Range Park.
About 2,000 participants, mostly NEW MEXICO WILDLIFE is published by the
families, turned out to test their skills Public Information and Outreach Division,
at shooting, archery, casting, climbing New Mexico Department of Game and
and the always popular catﬁsh pond. Fish.
Educational displays in the range’s Contact NEW MEXICO WILDLIFE for permis-
sion to reprint artwork, photographs or
large new building drew large crowds,
especially when the weather got nasty.
Printed by Target Graphics, Chattanooga,
Tenn., under contract with the State of
A ﬂurry on Saturday tested participants’ New Mexico. Printed in the U.S.
Photo: Ross Morgan
me�le -- and the anglers showed who
were the most determined. While the Fisheries biologist Shawn Denny watches one of his pupils cast at the
archery and muzzleloader instructors clouds during the annual New Mexico Outdoor Expo. Volume 52, Number 2
ran for cover, children and volunteers
at the casting station held their ground, given us a great start today,” a father of and shooting sports,” said Mark
tossing plugs into the chilly wind, sleet three said a�er a full day of activities. Birkhauser, the Department’s hunter Lance Cherry
and dust. education coordinator. “It’s free, it’s fun, Chief of Publications
The New Mexico Department of and best of all it gets people involved
The free event is one of the Game and Fish and co-sponsor City of in recreational activities that last a Dan J. Williams
Department’s most successful eﬀorts at Albuquerque are making preparations lifetime.” Editor
introducing families to shooting, ﬁshing for the sixth-annual Outdoor Expo,
and other fun outdoor activities. which promises to be bigger and be�er For more information about the Expo Letters may be sent to:
than ever. or how to get your children involved NEW MEXICO WILDLIFE
“We’ve been struggling to come in hunter education, please contact the P.O. Box 25112
up with ways to get our kids more “This event is a very eﬀective way to Department at (505) 222-4722 or visit Santa Fe, NM 87504-5112
involved in the outdoors, and you’ve get more families involved in outdoor www.wildlife.state.nm.us. Telephone (505) 476-8004
Watch for roadblocks during 2007-2008 hunting, ﬁshing seasons
The Department of Game and Fish will including the U.S. Forest Service, your local conservation oﬃcer, call
conduct roadblocks statewide through Bureau of Land Management, New the toll-free Operation Game Thief
March 31, 2008, in an eﬀort to collect Mexico State Police, and local Sheriﬀ’s hotline at 1-800-432-GAME (4263), or
harvest data and to apprehend violators Department oﬃcers. visit the Department website, www.
of ﬁsh and wildlife laws. wildlife.state.nm.us. Callers can remain
Hunters and anglers may encounter anonymous and earn rewards for
Department personnel may be assisted minor delays at the roadblocks. information leading to charges being
visit our website:
by other law enforcement agencies, To report a violation, please contact ﬁled against wildlife law violators. http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us
2 Volume 52, Number 2
Commission, Nature Conservancy buy property on Gila River
Sensitive species and precious aquatic agricultural land. Department Director Bruce Thompson.
habitat along more than a mile of the This acquisition is a leveraged
Gila River will be be�er protected “I am proud of our ability to move partnership in which the State of New
with the purchase in June of 168 acres wildlife conservation forward in the Mexico provided 90 percent of the
through a partnership between the important Gila River System by using cost. The Nature Conservancy paid 10
State Game Commission and The a combination of our conservation percent and agreed to provide long-
Nature Conservancy. statutes and strategic funding for land term stewardship of the property
protection,” Governor Richardson said. through a management agreement
The property in the Gila-Cliﬀ Valley, with the Game Commission.
25 miles northwest of Silver City “This property is extraordinarily rich
in Grant County, supports critical biologically,” said Terry Sullivan, state The property will be adequately
populations of several indigenous ﬁsh director for the Nature Conservancy. fenced and rested to promote recovery Photo: Steve Larese
species, including the federally and The Gila River Valley is among the few of riparian vegetation as part of the Aplomado falcon ﬂedglings
state protected spikedace and loach undammed rivers in the West, which stewardship agreement. rest in their nest atop a power
minnow. The property also provides provides for an amazing diversity of pole on the Armendaris Ranch.
vital habitat for other endemic, rare, aquatic life.” The area will be included in the system
and declining species.
“This is among the few remaining
of state wildlife areas that are managed
for a variety of wildlife conservation
The property was acquired through
provisions of the Natural Lands
places in the Southwest where natural
river processes function, and it is
purposes, including wildlife-associated
Protection Act, which provides vitally important to protect it,” Game young in ﬁrst year
for joint acquisition of unique and Commission Chairman Alfredo The State Game Commission
ecologically signiﬁcant lands in New Montoya said. has statutory responsibilities for And then there were 13.
Mexico. The $600,000 purchase used conserving native wildlife, the habitat
a $5 million special appropriation The property contains more than it depends upon, and providing for A pair of 1-year-old aplomado
for land conservation requested by 50 species and natural communities human appreciation of those resources. falcons that were among the ﬁrst
Governor Bill Richardson during the that are important globally. “These The Nature Conservancy is a leading 11 introduced into New Mexico
2005 Legislature. The money is being species and vegetation communities international, nonproﬁt organization successfully hatched and raised
used to buy land or acquire easements are featured conservation targets in the that preserves plants, animals, and two chicks this summer, surprising
statewide for habitat conservation Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation natural communities representing the biologists who did not expect the
and restoration, and to protect open Strategy for New Mexico,” said diversity of life. young birds to reproduce for two
years or more.
Trout ﬁshing in Santa Fe “This was a very special event
angling opportunities that happened under special
circumstances on a special ranch,”
for native Gila trout said Tom Waddell manager of Ted
Limited angling opportunities for Gila Turner’s Armendaris Ranch where
trout opened July 1, 2007, for the ﬁrst the ﬁrst birds were released in
time since 1966 in select streams in August 2006. “It’s the ﬁrst time in
southwestern New Mexico, following history that a pair of aplomado or
the native trout’s downlisting from peregrine falcons bonded in their
endangered to threatened on the ﬁrst year, raised young and ﬂedged
federal and state lists. them out.”
The new regulations approved by Waddell said the young parents
the State Game Commission allow had a lot of help from near-perfect
the Department of Game and Fish to weather conditions that produced
open select streams that previously plenty of grass and insects during
have been closed to all ﬁshing. the spring and summer. The newly
Opportunities and rule changes ﬂedged falcons hatched in early
include: June and had le� the nest atop a
power pole by July.
• Limited angling will be allowed
for Gila trout in Black Canyon Creek “It has been so wet this year, there
from July 1 through September 30 as are so many insects the birds are
a Special Trout Water. Fishing will be just stuﬀed,” Waddell said.
Photo: Dan Williams
catch-and-release only with artiﬁcial
ﬂies or lures and a single barbless Hundreds of eager anglers turned out for a spring ﬁshing derby on
The falcons introduced to the ranch
hook. the Santa Fe River, made possible by a generous runoff and 500
last year were bred and hatched in
trout stocked by the Department of Game and Fish.
captivity at The Peregrine Fund’s
• Iron Creek will be open for year- World Center for Birds of Prey in
round angling as a Special Trout Water Boise, Idaho. The introductions
with a two-ﬁsh daily limit. Fishing will
be with artiﬁcial ﬂies or lures and a 1 millionth silvery minnow released were made possible through a
partnership with the Peregrine
single barbless hook. The one millionth captive-raised Fund, the New Mexico Department
endangered species while protecting
• Regular trout water rules will apply silvery minnow was released into water interests in the area. of Game and Fish and the U.S.
to McKenna Creek and Sacaton Creek, the Rio Grande in May, marking a Fish and Wildlife Service. More
with no tackle or bait restrictions and milestone for the Middle Rio Grande The Fish and Wildlife Service began aplomado falcons were introduced
a bag limit of ﬁve ﬁsh per day and no Endangered Species Act Collaborative raising minnows in 2001 at its National this summer on the Armendaris
more than 10 in possession. Program. Fish Hatchery in Dexter. The City of ranch, on state and Bureau of Land
Albuquerque Biological Park’s Rearing Management lands, and on White
• Everyone who ﬁshes in Black Canyon U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici and U.S. and Breeding Facility also is a model Sands Missile Range.
and Iron Creek must have a Gila Trout Reps. Heather Wilson and Tom for raising the minnow in a more
Permit along with a valid New Mexico Udall helped release the historic ﬁsh. natural se�ing. Two new refugia are Aplomado falcons once were
ﬁshing license. Permits are free and are Representatives of other program scheduled to be operational in 2008. widespread from southern Texas to
available on the “Buy licenses online” partners, including the New Mexico eastern Arizona, but by the 1950s
feature of the Department website, Department of Game and Fish, U.S. The ﬁrst releases of Rio Grande their range was restricted to a few
www.wildlife.state.nm.us . Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau silvery minnows to augment the wild areas in Mexico. The Peregrine
of Land Management, landowners, population began in June 2002 with the Fund began releasing aplomados
Access to Black Canyon can be environmental groups and other release of more than 48,500 minnows in South Texas in 1993, and in 2006
challenging because of adjacent private federal, state, city and pueblo raised from eggs. A total of 418,851 a self-sustaining population was
property. For more information about governments also released minnows. minnows were released in 2006. This established. Since them, the focus
access routes or other details, contact year, an estimated 120,000 minnows of the release eﬀort has shi�ed to
Anne�e Gomez with the Wilderness The collaborative was created to will be released in the Middle Rio West Texas and New Mexico.
Ranger District, (505) 536-2250. protect and improve the status of listed Grande from Angostura to San Acacia.
Department, judge fed-up with littering, other offenses on Pecos River near Carlsbad
CARLSBAD -- Oﬃcers from the down the river on inner tubes. Carlsbad. The eﬀort involved oﬃcers alcohol violations, 4 oﬀ-highway
Department of Game and Fish and Department oﬃcers watched as the with the Department of Game and vehicle violations, 5 game and ﬁsh
other state and local agencies got six ﬂoaters tossed several cans and a Fish, State Police, Department of Public violations, 22 traﬃc violations and one
serious about enforcing li�ering, smashed Styrofoam cooler into the Safety Special Investigations Division, for drug paraphernalia.
alcohol and wildlife laws this summer, water. Eddy County Magistrate Henry and the Eddy County Sheriﬀ’s Oﬃce.
concentrating on a party spot on the Castaneda didn’t approve, and dished Anyone with information about
Pecos River below Brantley Lake. out the maximum ﬁnes. Three people were arrested on alcohol- game-law violations is encouraged to
related charges, and 4 people were call Operation Game Thief at 1-800-
In June, ﬁve men and one woman In July, seven people were arrested and arrested for outstanding warrants or 432-GAME (4263). Callers can remain
collectively paid $3,402 in ﬁnes and 57 citations were issued in the Brantley revoked driver’s licenses. Citations anonymous and could be eligible for
court costs for li�ering while ﬂoating Wildlife Management Area north of issued included 17 for li�ering, 8 cash rewards.
Northwest Green spring promotes fawn survival
By Ross Morgan
Hunting in northwestern New
Mexico should be good this season,
thanks to much-needed snow and
plentiful spring rainfall.
Because of the welcome moisture,
the northwest is beginning to see
habitat improvements. Deer and elk
should have had plenty of nourishing
forage to generate good fawn
survival rates and promote good
antler growth. Deer and elk hunting
success rates can change from day
to day, depending on factors such as
the weather and hunting pressure,
but the 2007-2008 forecast looks Photo: Dan Williams
promising. Elk had plenty of spring forage in northwestern New Mexico.
with good spring rainfall has been limit for most antler point restricted
“If we continue to see plenty of good for wildlife -- with perhaps one elk hunts was been changed to one
rainfall creating a surplus of water exception. mature bull elk.
holes, hunters should spend less
time hunting the water holes and Heavy snow in central New Mexico Another rules change aﬀecting
more time on the animals’ feeding prompted the closure of Antelope the Northwest Region is that
trends,” said Bill Taylor, Department Management Unit 43 near Stanley, private landowners within Game
of Game and Fish game manager for where animals were searching for Management Units 2A, 2B and
the Northwest Area. “For best results, food in three feet of snow. 2C must obtain specially marked
hunters should get to know the trails applications from the Department
the deer and elk are utilizing to and “Large amounts of snowfall can be oﬃce in Albuquerque.
from their feeding and bedding very hard on the antelope, especially
Photo: Dan Williams areas.” when it stays cold for long periods More speciﬁc hunting opportunities
Legal buck The positive outlook is a far cry from
of time and the snow doesn’t melt, can be obtained by calling the
like in this case,” said Mark Olson, Department oﬃce in Albuquerque at
The State Game Commission changed last year, when hunting success was Antelope Manager for the Northwest (505) 222-4700. And remember, it is
bag limits for most deer and elk hunts negatively aﬀected by dry conditions Area. Antelope in other areas of the now mandatory for anyone licensed
for the upcoming seasons. The antler statewide. The northwest region northwest fared much be�er. to hunt elk, take furbearers, and/or
point restriction for deer (previously received li�le to no snow or rainfall, permi�ed to hunt deer, on private or
at least three points on one side) was which brought high ﬁre danger The Department is reminding hunters public land, to report their harvest.
changed to one fork-antlered deer for and prompted ﬁre restrictions. that the State Game Commission
most hunts. For more information, Predominately dry, windy conditions changed bag limits for most deer and
please consult the 2007-2008 Big-game kept the deer and elk at higher elk hunts for the upcoming seasons. Ross Morgan is the Department of Game
Rules and Information Booklet, avail- elevations for a longer period of time, The antler point restriction for deer and Fish public information oﬃcer for the
able at license vendors, Department of and hunters had a hard time ﬁnding (previously at least three points on Northwest Area. He can be reached in the
Game and Fish ofﬁces, and online at them. This year, normal to above one side) was changed to one fork- Albuquerque oﬃce at (505) 222-4707 or
www.wildlife.state.nm.us. average snowfall amounts along antlered deer for most hunts. The bag email@example.com.
Look for more trophy elk
among amazing Gila herd
By LuAnn Tafoya elk resource. The area is known for
the largest trophies in the state.
It won’t be long before temperatures
begin to cool, signaling that it’s time The Department of Game and Fish is
to start pulling your hunting gear out managing the Greater Gila herd for
of the closet and cleaning those riﬂes. quality hunts, with 40 bulls for every
If you’re looking for a good spot to 100 cows in most game management
go hunting this fall, southwestern units. Units included in the Greater
New Mexico provides a wide variety Gila include 15, 16A, 16B, 16C, 16D,
of opportunities. Spring rains have and 16E. Elk populations in the
helped a�er some years of drought. southern portion of the Gila have
Rivers and springs have been ﬂowing, lower population densities and
bringing good sources of food, cover are managed for optimal hunter
and water for wildlife. opportunity. Approximately 1,000 to
1,800 elk occupy units 21A, 21B, 22,
The elk population in the Gila is doing and 23. Unit 24 contains very few elk
well. If you were one of the lucky and eﬀorts have been made to let the
ones that drew a license this year, herd recover from past over-harvest.
opportunities look encouraging. The Photo: Ross Morgan
Greater Gila elk herd is the largest The elk population in the Gila National Forest has reached 13,000 to
“Overall, hunters will have a slightly 20,000 and includes some of the largest trophy bulls in New Mexico.
in New Mexico with 13,000 to 20,000 higher chance of harvesting an animal
animals -- possibly our most valuable this year compared to last year,” Silver Small-game hunting this year should Quail hunting usually is good
City District Conservation Oﬃcer be good, says Las Cruces District following a wet spring, so
Jon Armĳo says. He also reminds Conservation Oﬃcer Richard opportunities look promising this
hunters that the bag limit for most McDonald. year, especially in areas around
antler-point-restricted elk hunts has Deming and Lordsburg.
been changed to one mature bull elk “The upcoming dove season looks
this season. For more information very promising,” McDonald says. Conditions o�en change with the
about rules and regulations, be sure to “There are always plenty of doves in wesather, so for the latest updates
read this year’s Big Game Rules and the Rio Grande Valley.” and hunting suggestions, please
Information Booklet before your hunt. contact the Department’s Southwest
He reminds hunters to take Area Oﬃce in Las Cruces for updates,
Deer hunting this year may be advantage of opportunities for (505) 532-2100.
diﬃcult again as the area continues to Eurasian collared doves, which
Southwest recover from years of drought. With
deer populations down, hunters can
are plentiful in southwestern New
Mexico. There is no daily bag or
increase their chances by scouting possession limit for these doves. LuAnn Tafoya is the Department public
before their hunt. Bag limits for deer Hunters must keep one fully feathered information oﬃcer for the Southwest
also have changed and a fork-antlered wing a�ached to every collared dove Area. She can be reached at (505) 532-
buck is now legal. until the birds are at home. 2106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
4 Volume 52, Number 2
NE wildlife prospers with more moisture
By Clint Henson Northeast
With a wet but mostly mild winter
and continued spring moisture,
wildlife populations in northeastern
New Mexico generally have been on
the rise in 2007. Even with severe
snows in December 2006 and early
January 2007, winter-killed wildlife
was not an issue.
Elk numbers have remained steady in
the northeast, with some conservation
oﬃcers reporting elk expanding into
unoccupied regions. Areas such as stable, with the best hunting
the Valle Vidal, and the Colin Neble� opportunities on private land.
and Barker Wildlife Management
The good moisture and mild winter
Areas are seeing an increase in
also has helped small game and
trophy-quality bulls. A few 390-plus
turkeys. Pheasant hunting will be
bull elk were harvested from the
good near Clayton and populations
Valle Vidal during the 2006 hunting
Photo: Dan Williams are slowly expanding west. Quail
season. Jason Kline, Cimarron District
seem to be on the increase but are still
Wildlife Oﬃcer, is excited about the After years of decline, mule deer populations appear to be slowly in-
creasing in northeastern New Mexico. generally found in localized areas.
prospects great elk hunting this fall.
Dove season looks promising with
“Considering the quality of elk is
lots of available water holes. Grouse
already fabulous, I am forecasting
unresponsive to humans. Contact private-land hunts may still yield and squirrel season looks great for the
some monsters this year,” he says.
your local conservation oﬃcer if you the best quality bucks. Hunters must higher elevations as well.
have questions regarding concerns or draw public-land permits, but they
Some elk have been found sick or testing for wildlife diseases. are still able to buy over-the-counter If you have questions about wildlife
dead from eating locoweed. While deer licenses with wri�en permission or hunting regulations, please
this is not uncommon, more cases from the landowner. contact your local conservation
have been found in northeastern Northeast mule deer numbers are oﬃcer or the Raton Game and Fish
New Mexico than usual. Locoweed also on the rise, slowly but surely, Oﬃce at (505) 445-2311. If you see
Antelope surveys have shown another
is a�ractive to livestock and wildlife but populations still hinge on current a wildlife violation, please contact
steady year of growth a�er many
because it becomes green and matures wet weather and improving habitat Operation Game Thief at 1-800-
years of decline. Some units showed a
faster than other plants. conditions. Quality bucks are common 432-GAME (4263). Reports will
slight decline, but oﬃcers believe that
in most areas, with exceptional remain anonymous and are eligible
some herds moved during the heavy
With concerns of Chronic Wasting bucks being seen occasionally. Be�er for rewards if information leads to
snows. Several years of decreased
Disease spreading from southern New nutritional habitat and good spring charges being ﬁled.
hunting pressure have allowed bucks
Mexico and Colorado, all suspicious hiding cover should allow for another
to mature in certain areas. Quality
wildlife deaths are investigated. good year for fawns and more growth Clint Henson is the Department of Game
bucks are being seen all over the
Symptoms of locoweed are similar and distribution of deer area-wide. and Fish public information oﬃcer for the
to Chronic Wasting Disease. Animals Public-land hunts for deer should Northeast Area. He canbe reached at the
become weak and coats become increase for quality and numbers if Department oﬃce in Raton, (505) 445-
scruﬀy. They will o�en be alone and weather pa�erns continue. However, Bear and lion populations remain 2311 or email@example.com.
Hunters should ﬁnd lots of opportunities in southeast
By Mark Madsen point antler restriction back to a fork- while others have struggled. The hot, not concentrated in any given area.
antlered buck should increase hunter dry summer last year in most areas
The fall hunting forecast for harvest for this fall. of the region drastically reduced The small-game forecast for
southeastern New Mexico is looking fawn survival. However, hunters southeastern New Mexico should
good, thanks to generous winter and Elk hunting prospects in the may see a slight increase in antelope be excellent for this fall, especially
spring precipitation throughout the southeast continue to be good to populations in some areas from good for doves, quail and pheasants. The
region. Most areas had a good spring excellent. Overall range conditions fawn recruitment two years ago. good winter and spring moisture and
green-up with ample forage and in the Capitan, White, and southern subsequently good habitat conditions
plenty of water and cover for big and Sacramento mountains are by far “Overall, hunters should see some have set the stage for excellent
small game species. the best they’ve been in years. Elk good quality bucks this fall,” Area hunting conditions. Reports of an
numbers continue to be good in Game Manager Brian Novosak early hatch for quail are starting to
Deer hunting could be be�er than the game management units 34 and 36 said. “Good nutritional spring come in and there are still lots of
past few years. Fawn survival and and hunters should see some trophy forage should result in good horn mourning and white-winged doves in
recruitment has been good for the quality bulls this fall in both units. development for this fall in most the region. Conditions are excellent
last couple of years, and the overall areas.” for pheasant throughout the Pecos
deer population has shown a slight The pronghorn antelope hunting Valley. Waterfowl hunting should be
increase. More deer, along with the forecast varies from unit to unit. Some Southeastern New Mexico has seen a excellent with lots of feed and water
change of the bag limit from the three- areas have had good fawn recruitment signiﬁcant increase in the number of being found throughout the valley.
barbary sheep hunters. Many hunters
who weren’t successful in drawing
a public land deer permit bought Mark Madsen is the Department of Game
barbary sheep licenses, which remain and Fish public information oﬃcer for
over-the-counter. Success rates for last the Southeast Area. He can be reached in
February were quite good, with lots the Roswell oﬃce at (505) 624-6135 or
of sheep being harvested. Increased firstname.lastname@example.org.
hunter pressure and harvest will
result in an average hunt forecast for
Javelina populations have increased
throughout southeastern New
Mexico, and hunters can look forward
to increased opportunities with
the opening of several new game
management units. Hunters fortunate
enough to draw a license can now
hunt in units 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, and
34. Carlsbad District Supervisor Southeast
Bryan Nygren reports, “We are seeing
Photo: Dan Williams javelina in areas where they have not
Hunters may see more antelope with well-developed horns this fall, been observed before.” Hunting could
thanks to good winter and spring moisture. be challenging because the javelina are
Angler survey indicates shifting attitudes
Satisﬁed N.M. anglers say they prefer
catch-and-release, wild ﬁsh over stockers
By Dan Williams renovations are expected to double the
number of working runways at Lisboa
More New Mexico anglers prefer Springs Hatchery in Pecos and reopen
catch-and-release ﬁshing, and would the entire Los Ojos Hatchery within the
rather go a�er wild ﬁsh than stockers, next two years.
according to an angler satisfaction
survey completed this year by the Another somewhat surprising survey
Department of Game and Fish. indication was that given a choice,
anglers prefer catching lots of smaller
The survey, designed to help the ﬁsh over a few large ﬁsh, an indication
Department be�er manage the state’s Schudlich said ties in with the wild ﬁsh
recreational ﬁsheries resources, over stockers trend.
indicated that most anglers were
satisﬁed with their ﬁshing experience “The ﬁsh you catch might not be huge
in the past year. It also indicated that like the ﬁsh from the San Juan, but the
some a�itudes toward ﬁshing may be overall experience of catching wild ﬁsh
leaning away from the “take ‘em home in a beautiful se�ing makes it special,”
and eat ‘em” approach, a result that Schudlich said.
came as a surprise to state ﬁsheries
oﬃcials. Sloane said the survey will help
the Department continue bucking a
“The preference for catch-and-release, declining national trend in ﬁshing
and wild ﬁsh over stockers is contrary license sales. While license sales have
to everything I’ve thought and heard declined in New Mexico over the past
about New Mexico anglers,” said six years, it hasn’t been as dramatic the
Mike Sloane, chief of ﬁsheries for the 12 percent drop nationwide.
Department. “It’s been a while since
we’ve asked anglers these questions. “We’re just not seeing the steady
We need to monitor these trends in case decline as in other areas of the
we need to change our management country,” Sloane said. “Instead, our
strategies based on public interest.” ﬂuctuations in license sales appear to
follow the state’s water levels. When
According to the survey, 55 percent we have good water years, we sell
of New Mexico’s more than 300,000 more licenses.”
anglers prefer to catch and release
most of the ﬁsh they catch, while 30 Some other angler survey highlights:
percent like to keep most of their ﬁsh.
The survey also said that 56 percent • 25 percent said they caught a
of the state’s anglers choose their lot of ﬁsh during the past year;
ﬁshing location based on opportunities 16 percent said they didn't
to catch wild ﬁsh, as opposed to 22 catch many ﬁsh; and 8 percent
percent who prefer to ﬁsh in waters said they didn't catch any ﬁsh.
that recently have been stocked.
• 35 percent said they usually
“I was impressed with how many choose their ﬁshing location
people are looking for wild ﬁsheries,” based on scenery; and 31
said Bill Schudlich, president of percent look for a spot close to
the New Mexico Chapter of Trout home.
Unlimited. “We work on habitat
restoration for mostly wild ﬁsheries, so • 23 percent of anglers said they
this survey tells me what we’re doing is go ﬁshing three to ﬁve times a
important and on track.” year; 19 percent said they ﬁsh
one or two days a year; and
The survey by Research & Polling Inc. 20 percent said they ﬁsh more
included telephone interviews of 317 than 20 days a year.
resident anglers and 100 nonresident
anglers who purchased ﬁshing licenses • 88 percent of anglers who
in 2006. Interviews were conducted responded to the survey were
April 4-10, 2007. The margin of error male; 31 percent were age
was plus or minus 4.8 percent. 50-64 and 27 percent were age
16-49; 55 percent were Anglo
Sixty-one percent of anglers who and 32 percent were Hispanic.
participated in the survey said they
were satisﬁed with their ﬁshing Complete survey results are
experience in the past year, a signiﬁcant available on the Department website,
increase over the past two years. In www.wildlife.state.nm.us.
2006, 55 percent of anglers responding
to the survey said they were satisﬁed,
up from 47 percent in 2005. The
increases did not surprise Sloane. He
a�ributed the trend to improving water
levels and more trout production at the
state’s six ﬁsh hatcheries.
“When we have good water years,
people generally have a be�er
experience when they go ﬁshing,”
Sloane said. Everyone likes to go
ﬁshing in nice places, and those places
are much nicer when there’s plenty of
water like last year.”
Trout production was up at New
Mexico’s ﬁsh hatcheries in 2006, as four
of the state’s six hatcheries continued
to recover from outbreaks of whirling
disease and stocked more than 2
million catchable-sized rainbow trout
in state waters. Hatchery production
improved to 85 to 95 percent from
lows of 70 to 80 percent when many Photo: Martin Frentzel
runways were closed down for New Mexico anglers prefer wild
renovation two years ago. Further trout and great scenery.
Charts: Research & Polling Inc.
6 Volume 52, Number 2
Thumbs-up for youth hunts
Special opportunities await young hunters statewide
By Ross Morgan
I can still vaguely remember waiting to take a
hunter’s safety course so I could hunt alongside
my dad instead of being a tag-along. However,
I will not forget the very ﬁrst dove I ever shot.
I shot it out of the air with a bolt-action .410
shotgun that had been passed down to me by
my dad. I sure wish I could have seen the look
on my face that morning.
Let’s face it, although we enjoy ge�ing out and
having the opportunity to hunt ourselves, there
is probably nothing more exciting or rewarding
than seeing the look on the face of a young boy
or girl a�er they harvested their ﬁrst animal.
Whether it is a rabbit or a deer, the look in their
eyes is worth a thousand words.
This year, in an eﬀort to create more youth
hunting opportunities throughout the state, the
Department with the approval of the State Game
Photo: Dan Williams Commission created eight more deer hunts, two
Six-year-old Brianna Montoya shows off a more antelope hunts and three additional turkey
stringer of rainbow trout she helped catch
during the May 19 ﬁshing derby on the youth hunting opportunities. In addition, the
Santa Fe River. Department continues to oﬀer the popular youth
pheasant hunts in the northwest and southeast Photo: Robert Livingston
Kids & ﬁshing: areas of the state. A successful young hunter and Conservation
Ofﬁcer Donald Jaramillo gave the youth pheas-
ant hunt at Casa Colorada Wildlife Manage-
A parents’ guide The new hunts reﬂect an ongoing Department
eﬀort to retain and a�ract more youth to hunting
ment Area two thumbs up.
as a positive family recreational experience.
There’s nothing quite like a child’s walleyes This year, the Department is oﬀering 25 special southeastern portion of the state.
when they catch their ﬁrst ﬁsh. It’s a magic youth-only hunts for deer, 16 for elk, 6 for To be eligible for a youth hunting license, each
moment that can lead to a lifetime of fun antelope, three for spring turkey and one hunt applicant for any youth only hunt must be
family recreation. Before you gather up the each for bighorn sheep, ibex, javelina and oryx. younger than age 18 on the beginning date of
kids and hang out the “Gone Fishin’” sign, There also are numerous opportunities for youth the hunt. Youth hunters must provide proof of
here are a few tips that might make your and their parents or mentors to participate in successfully passing a hunter education course
outing more successful: youth-only and youth-adult small-game hunts prior to making application or purchasing a
for waterfowl and pheasants. license for a ﬁrearm hunt. Youth hunters must
• Best age: Most anglers agree that carry this proof while hunting in the ﬁeld with a
4 or 5 is the best age to start a kid ﬁrearm.
New, longer deer hunts
ﬁshing. By then, they have acquired
the motor skills necessary to cast Young hunters will have eight more Hunter Education courses are oﬀered year-
and operate a reel. opportunities to hunt deer this season, and to round throughout New Mexico. There is no
• Practice: Buy your child his or her make things even easier, hunting dates were minimum age requirement to sign up. However,
own equipment and practice with extended for some of the hunts to work around an adult must accompany children younger
a casting plug in the back yard. school schedules. These hunts allow youths the than 11 years old. Students are required to read
Combination rod-and-reel outﬁts opportunity to hunt during three diﬀerent time a manual and complete a worksheet before
are inexpensive and work great. Buy frames that fall during the school breaks around class, a�end all class sessions and pass both a
extra line. There will be tangles. Thanksgiving and Christmas. wri�en test and a ﬁrearm proﬁciency test before
• Be the guide: On the ﬁrst trip or becoming certiﬁed and receiving a card.
two, leave your gear in the truck.
The newly designed extended hunt dates for
That will give you plenty of time to Don’t wait until the last minute to register for a
these new youth hunts -- Nov. 22-25, Dec. 1-2,
bait hooks, cast, untangle line and course or you may miss the deadline to apply
and Dec. 8-9 -- maximize the ability for youths
unhook ﬁsh. for a hunt. For class dates and times, contact
and their parents to get out and hunt, said
• No ﬁsh, no fun: Do some research Barry Hale, Deer Program Manager for the the Department oﬃce closest to you or call the
and ﬁnd a spot where the chances Department and Game and Fish. Hunter Education Program in Albuquerque at
of catching ﬁsh are good. Check (505) 222-4731, or visit: h�p://www.wildlife.
out ﬁshing and stocking reports in state.nm.us/education/hunter_ed/index.htm.
“Although most hunts are designed to include
newspapers and on the Department
at least one weekend during the hunt period,
of Game and Fish website, www. For more information and details about
these hunts are designed to give the kids an
wildlife.state.nm.us. Lakes usually youth hunting opportunities, please visit the
opportunity to hunt three weekends,” Hale
are best at ﬁrst because they have Department Web site, www.wildlife.state.
said. “This makes it easier for the kids and their
easy access and fewer snags. nm.us, or check out the 2007-2008 Big Game &
parents who have to work during the week and
• Hook ﬁsh, not ﬂesh: Use only one Trapper Rules and Information Booklet available
may only be able to take the kids hunting on the
hook per line. Pinch oﬀ the barbs for at license vendors or Department of Game
additional safety. and Fish oﬃces in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Las
• Live bait: Minnows and worms are Cruces, Raton and Roswell. Look for youth
tough to beat. Use them to increase
Mentor-youth antelope hunts opportunities for small-game and waterfowl in
your success. the 2007-2008 Small Game & Waterfowl Rules &
In addition to the new youth-only hunts, the Information Booklet, scheduled for publication
• Don’t push it: Keep your outing to
Department, with the input of the State Game in late August.
an hour or two at most the ﬁrst time.
Commission and the Wildlife Federation,
If the ﬁsh aren’t biting, ﬁnd another
created a mentor-youth hunt for pronghorn
activity to keep it fun. Visit the
antelope. The mentor-youth hunt is a draw
marina, look for bugs. If the ﬁsh are
hunt consisting of one adult age 18 or older and Ross Morgan is the Department of Game and Fish
biting, try to leave before they stop.
up to three youths younger than age 18 on the public information oﬃcer for the Northwest Area. He
Your young angler will be eager to
opening day of the hunt. This hunt is available can be reached in Albuquerque at (505) 222-4707 or
for Antelope Management Unit 29 in the email@example.com.
Jack of hares
New Mexico is home to 3 species of jack rabbits
By M.H. “Dutch” Salmon
Fun to hunt,
have always been fascinated
by the remarkable biological good to eat
diversity of New Mexico. Jack rabbits are great sport
For example, the ptarmigan, a with riﬂe, handgun, and
game bird with a “far north” shotgun, as well as running
aura, can be found in sca�ered dogs. I like to hunt them
populations within the higher with the .22 WMR cartridge
peaks of north central New myself, either riﬂe or
Mexico. At the other extreme, the revolver. But we need to get
“Mexican” (common) black hawk beyond the notion that all
summers and breeds in limited these hares are good for is
numbers north of Mexico, along sighting in your gun. Jacks
portions of New Mexico’s Gila are a good game animal,
and San Francisco Rivers. regardless of their “non-
game” status, and hunters
In the Gila National Forest should not be killing them
you may see a beaver and a just to leave them in the ﬁeld.
coatimundi on the same day; an Here’s a jack rabbit recipe
elk and a javelina on the same that works for me.
hillside. And I once caught a
brown trout and a ﬂathead Jack rabbit posole
catﬁsh out of the same pool of
the Gila River. Granted, neither The best meat is on the hind
is native to the Gila, but I was legs (the dark red meat along
astounded that two such diﬀerent the back is great catﬁsh bait)
ﬁsh could be self-sustaining in and the hind legs alone have
the same river. more meat than a whole
But perhaps our most notable
display of biological diversity can Cut meat into small pieces
be found in our various hares, and soak overnight in the
where we alone among the 50 fridge in a bowl of water
states sport three species of jack with a teaspoon of salt.
rabbits, plus the snowshoe hare.
Let’s have a look at where and To cook, sauté in olive oil
how they live, and see how they with onions. Add a couple of
run! cans of hominy. Add red chili
powder or fresh green chili,
In New Mexico, jack rabbits are as you like it. Season to taste
largely taken for granted. Like with salt, pepper, garlic and
ravens, we see them around a oregano. Simmer at least two
lot but don’t really notice them hours till meat is tender. And
much. Hardly anyone remarks, a crock pot does wonders for
Photo: Don MacCarter
“Hey, I saw a jack rabbit today!” Black-tailed jack rabbits' enormous ears allow blood to ﬂow close to the surface of any tough meat.
When jack rabbits do get noticed, their skin, acting as a cooling mechanism and helping them survive the desert heat.
the reference is usually negative.
They get into our gardens and rabbit is a hare. The most sensible explanation and the species will average 5 to 8 pounds, at
eat the crops. They girdle our fruit trees. They I’ve heard for the name “jack rabbit” is this least twice the size of most co�ontail rabbits.
compete with livestock out on the range (It is one: The striking long ears of this hare caused The black-tailed jack has a very broad range in
said that seven jack rabbits will eat as much the descriptive moniker, “jack-ass rabbit,” later New Mexico, from open grasslands through the
forage as a sheep). They lead our bird dogs oﬀ shortened to jack rabbit. mesquite/creosote brush country and pinon/
on merry and futile chases when the dogs are juniper woodlands -- everywhere but the most
supposed to be hunting quail. In turn, jacks are There are four species of jack rabbit in North heavily forested regions.
hard to hit, almost impossible to catch, and are America, three of which reside in New Mexico.
usually considered too tough to eat. And they The most common is the black-tailed jack rabbit On the northern plains, from the Canadian
breed like, well, rabbits. (Lepus californicus). The black stripe down the prairies and extending south to the open sage
top of the tail is descriptive. The coat is mostly plains of Rio Arriba and Taos counties in New
Well, anything can be troublesome if they get grey ﬂecked with black (excellent camouﬂage), Mexico, is the white-tailed jack rabbit (Lepus
too numerous, including people. Still, I mark the ears are 6 to 7 inches long and black-tipped, townsendi). This hare has shorter ears than the
the jack rabbit down as a neat cri�er, uniquely
talented and interesting, even if they are
common as dog tracks.
First of all, despite the name, jack rabbits aren’t
rabbits at all; they’re hares. The gestation period
of a rabbit is about 30 days. Hares hold their
young 7 to 10 days longer. And while rabbit White-tailed jack rabbits
young are born bald, blind, and helpless, a just- are capable of reaching
born hare is already in fur, eyes open, and the speeds of more than 40
li�le leveret can hop around. Rabbits and hares mph, and keeping the pace
long enough to outdistance
are both largely nocturnal, but a rabbit, such as even the fastest grey-
the co�ontail, likes cover; they live in burrows hounds.
or brush piles and when pursued hard they look
for cover or a hole to provide an escape. Hares
spend their entire lives on top of the ground, Photo: M.H. "Dutch" Salmon
hooding up in a “form” -- a mere depression
in the grass -- when they’re not out feeding
or moving about. Flushed by a coyote, fox, or
greyhound, a hare will a�empt to outrun rather
than hide from the predator.
By any or all of the above determinants, the jack
8 Volume 52, Number 2
black-tailed (a hare’s ears dissipate heat, so
New Mexico jacks have longer ears than North
Dakota jacks), and a white rather than a black Hares of New Mexico
tail. In winter, their pelage will turn white or
pale gray, like a snowshoe hare’s. White-tails on Black-tailed jack rabbit (Lepus californicus)
average are bigger than black-tails, weighing Habitat: Common throughout New Mexico. Able
roughly 6 to 10 pounds. to live in some of the ho�est, driest regions, sur-
viving on poor-quality foods and ge�ing water it
In extreme southern Hidalgo County is a rare needs from food.
hare (at least in New Mexico): the white-sided Behavior: Mostly nocturnal. Tremendous leapers,
jack rabbit (Lepus callotis). It looks much like a able to jump more than 20 feet horizontally. They
black-tailed jack, except for the ﬂash of white live in some of the ho�est and driest regions of
fur on its sides and hips. While common farther the continent, can survive on poor-quality foods,
south in Mexico, the white-sided jack is scarce and get most or all of the water they need from
north of the border. Its range in the United States their food. They cope with extreme heat by resting
in the shade during the day. Enormous ears are a
is limited to the Animas Valley, and it is fully cooling mechanism where blood ﬂows close to the
protected as a state threatened species. skin.
The largest and most spectacular North Diet: Creosote-bush and green vegetation when it
American jack rabbit resides nearby in south- can ﬁnd some.
central Arizona and farther south in Sonora, Average size: 18-25 inches long, 2.8-7.3 pounds.
Mexico. Like our Hidalgo County hare, the
antelope jack rabbit (Lepus alleni) ﬂashes a white White-tailed jack rabbit (Lepus townsendi)
coat on its sides and hips when the cri�er is
Habitat: A broad range of elevations, from 131
disturbed or in ﬂight. But this hare is bigger -- to 14,000 feet, moving to higher elevations when
head and body some two feet long, ears up to 9 competing with smaller black-tailed jack rabbits.
inches long without any black on the tips, and a
weight of 8 to 12 pounds. Further, they like the Behavior: Very solitary, interacting only brieﬂy
Sonoran brush country and avoid open terrain, during the breeding season. A female may pro-
while New Mexico’s white-sided hare -- quite duce one to four li�ers of four to ﬁve young each
the opposite -- limits itself to open Chihuahuan year.
Diet: Grasses, green forbs, and shrubs during the
I used to hunt snowshoe hares (Lepus americanus) winter.
with Basset hounds in the conifer forests of
Average size: Males, 23 inches, 7.5 pounds. Fe-
northern Minnesota. Incredibly, the same hare males, 24 inches, 7.9 pounds.
can be found in the high forested terrain of
New Mexico’s Sangre de Cristo and San Juan White-sided jack rabbit (Lepus callotis)
Mountains. And you can hunt these 3- to 5- Habitat: Prefers level ground to hills, and does not
pound. hares in these mountains, with beagles require shrubs for cover, but uses clumps or dense
and Bassets, just like I did in Minnesota. stands of grass. In New Mexico, limited to the ex-
treme southern border with Mexico, more common
in the Animas Valley.
As Aesop knew when he matched a tortoise
against a hare, you can’t talk about hares Behavior: Form male-female pairs, and the male
without talking about speed. The hare the will defend the pair from other males. Breeding
greyhound chases at the race track is artiﬁcial, season runs from mid-April to mid-August, with
one to four oﬀspring in a li�er. Predators include
but the one out in the ﬁeld is real. By knowing eagles, hawks, owls, foxes and coyotes.
something of greyhound speed, one can infer the
speed of a jack rabbit. Diet: Grass.
At a track in Tucson, the greyhound “Whisk Average size: Males, 21 inches, 4 pounds. Females,
Action” covered 335 yards in 17 seconds ﬂat, 22 inches, 6.4 pounds.
an average speed of 40.5 mph. That’s from
a standing start and around a curve. Good Snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus)
greyhounds commonly break 30 seconds for Habitat: Northern swamps, hardwood and mixed
550 yards (nearly 40 mph) and have been evergreen forests from coast to coast. Limited to far
chronographed at an a�ained speed of 50 mph northern New Mexico.
coming down the ﬁrst straightaway. Take such
hounds to the open ﬁeld, ﬂush a jack rabbit, and Behavior: Mostly nocturnal, remaining hidden in
what happens? vegetation until sundown. Two to ﬁve li�ers a year,
with one to eight oﬀspring. Color changes from
brown in summer to white in winter for camou-
Usually, the hound is able to overtake the hare ﬂage. Large feet are padded with dense spiraling
one or more times, forcing the jack to change hairs that act as springs.
direction in order to escape, indicating the
superior speed of the hound. More o�en than Diet: Grasses and shrubs.
not, in the ensuing high-speed chase, the jack
is able to elude the hounds with a myriad of Average size: 18 inches; 3 pounds.
high-speed maneuvers until the hounds begin Graphics: Smithsonian Institute
to tighten up (usually inside of a mile). At that
point the hare is once more able to straighten out
into a sprint, stringing the pack out and leaving hare are considered “non-game” animals. This
them behind. does not mean you can’t hunt them. Quite
the opposite. With the exception of the white-
At times, however, one encounters some sided jack rabbit, which is protected, you
remarkable jack rabbits. I have seen both black- can hunt hares however and whenever -- no
tailed and white-tailed jacks start up not 10 closed season, no bag limit, and New Mexico
yards in front of greyhounds of proven speed -- residents don’t even need a hunting license. The
fresh, healthy hounds on good running ground jack rabbit is so proliﬁc and so adaptable, it is
-- and literally run away from them. These hares virtually immune to hunting pressure.
beat greyhounds at a straightaway sprint!
The jack rabbit is a remarkable cri�er, and in
I have been running jack rabbits with New Mexico we are blessed with an unusual
greyhounds, salukis, and other sighthounds variety of swi� hares. Their presence is a tribute
since 1969. It is clear to me that the best jack to our biological diversity. They are “game”
rabbits are capable of an a�ained speed of at and as well serve as the principal prey base
least 40 mph, and of maintaining that speed for coyotes, bobcats, and several of our large,
for a longer distance than a coursing hound. important raptors. I hope the next time you see
That a hare is capable of outrunning a specially one you’ll say, “Hey, I saw a jack rabbit today!”
bred dog like the greyhound, a quadruped 6
to 10 times its size, is surely one of the most
remarkable feats in the realm of natural history. M.H. “Dutch” Salmon of Silver City is an
accomplished outdoor writer, book author and editor,
In New Mexico, the jack rabbit and snowshoe and a member of the State Game Commission.
By Dan Williams
The New Mexico Department of Game and
Fish received almost 163,000 applications for
59,000 hunting opportunities in the drawing for
2007-2008 deer, elk, antelope, bighorn sheep,
ibex and javelina hunts. Almost 70 percent of
those applications were submi�ed through the
Department website, an all-time high since the
online process was ﬁrst oﬀered three years ago.
Application numbers have grown steadily the
past three years, from 145,126 in 2005-2006 to
almost 163,000 for this year’s drawing for 2007-
The number of online applicants also increased
in the past three years, from 54 percent to almost
70 percent. Photo: Don MacCarter
The two largest desert bighorn rams harvested in North America were taken in New Mexico,
Hunters who use the online application process making the state's single public hunting permit one of the most coveted in the world.
pay a $6 fee with a credit card at the time of
application. They are charged for the license sheep, ibex and javelina:
only if they are successful in the drawing. This year, the drawing for the desert bighorn
Hunters who use paper applications must pay license a�racted 3,315 applicants, up from 2,862
for the 2006-2007 hunt. Licenses cost $159 for Deer: There were 62,652 applications for 34,814
the entire license fee with their application, and available hunts, and 32,285 permits were issued.
will receive a refund check about four months New Mexico residents, $3,166 for nonresidents.
Unlike deer, elk, and antelope licenses, the The extra hunts, mostly less-popular bow-
later if they are not successful. only hunts, will be oﬀered in a special online
drawing for bighorn licenses is not subject to
the quota system that requires 78 percent of the drawing.
“Most hunters consider the online process more licenses go to state residents.
convenient, and they don’t have to wait for a Elk: There were 20,167 licenses available and
refund if they are unsuccessful,” Department “You can see why applying online for a bighorn 20,110 issued. There were 66,706 applicants. The
Assistant Director Patrick Block said. “It also license is more appealing to nonresidents when remaining licenses will be oﬀered in a special
gives hunters the option of changing their they can do it for $6 instead of writing a check online sale.
applications before the drawings, and it saves for more than three thousand dollars,” said
the state time and money because we don’t have Eric Rominger, the Department’s bighorn sheep Antelope: All 1,658 available licenses were
to issue refund checks.” biologist. issued. There were 17,768 applicants.
Not having to put money up front also This year, desert bighorn applicants’ $6 fees Bighorn sheep: All 18 available licenses were
encourages more hunters to apply for species totaled $19,890. The winner of the drawing, a issued. There were 8,451 applicants.
and opportunities they might previously have Californian, paid $3,166 for his license, bringing
passed up. A good example of that is the desert the total generated from a single bighorn license Ibex: All 175 available licenses were issued.
bighorn sheep hunt, which has perhaps the to $23,056. There were 4,231 licenses issued.
highest odds for a hunt drawing in the country.
New Mexico oﬀers only one public drawing Here are some other highlights from the 2007- Javelina: All 2,005 available licenses were
license for desert bighorn sheep each year. 2008 drawing for antelope, deer, elk, bighorn issued. There were 3,170 applicants.
New licenses will give hunters more options, raise money for wildlife
By Mark Gruber authorizations and 12 game-bird or trophy ﬁsh whether they were drawn for a public land deer
authorizations each year. The authorizations permit. Hunters who have General Hunting
The 2007 New Mexico Legislature passed and will be auctioned at special events called by and Fishing Licenses and are unsuccessful in
Governor Bill Richardson signed several bills the governor. For more information about the deer permit drawing can use the license
that positively aﬀect hunters and anglers in these special authorizations, please contact the only to purchase permits for hunting on private
New Mexico. The legislation created new license Department’s Wildlife Management Division at land -- if they have wri�en permission from the
types, added reduced-fee licenses, and created (505) 476-8038. landowner. No refunds will be granted.
two new license packages. Hunters and anglers
can look for these changes to begin during the New licenses, reduced fees Resident Junior/Senior Fishing and Small
2008-2009 license year. Game Combination License: This license
Three new license types will give hunters and promotes youth hunting for small game
Grand Slams anglers more choices and avoid conﬂicts with and waterfowl and ﬁshing by oﬀering these
Some of New Mexico’s best fund-raising eﬀorts the drawing for deer hunting permits. opportunities at a discounted price. The same
for wildlife conservation have been through license is available to older residents at a
public auctions and raﬄes of special hunting Resident Fishing and Small-Game discount. It can be purchased by a resident
opportunities for bighorn sheep and elk. The Combination License: This new license is younger than 18 years or older than 65 years,
2007 legislation will allow the Department to similar to the General Hunting and Fishing and entitles them to ﬁsh for game ﬁsh or hunt
expand those opportunities with the creation of License, without the deer license a�ached. It was for squirrel and game birds (except turkeys)
two Grand Slam permits that will be auctioned created to allow hunters and anglers to purchase during the open seasons for each species. The
each year to the highest bidder. The Grand a combination license early in the season annual Resident Junior/Senior Fishing and
Slam packages will allow hunters to take a without having to gamble on being successful Small Game Combination License fee is $16.00,
combination of one elk, one oryx, one ibex, one in the drawing for deer permits. The new a signiﬁcant savings from the $25-$28 cost of
deer and one antelope. Funds collected will be license entitles a resident to hunt squirrels and ﬁshing and small game licenses purchased
used to enhance, conserve and protect big-game game birds (except turkeys) and to ﬁsh during separately.
habitat statewide. Details about the auctions will the open seasons for each species. The annual
be announced soon. Resident Small Game and Fishing Combination Resident Junior/Senior Deer License: A third
License will sell for $33.00. A small game new license type will allow youths and seniors
Governor’s Authorizations license and an annual ﬁshing license purchased to purchase a discounted deer license similar to
separately would cost $45. A resident deer the Junior/Senior Elk License. This license may
Governor Bill Richardson signed a bill that will license costs $39. be purchased by residents younger than age 18
raise more money for wildlife conservation or older than 65. It will allow residents who are
through special auctions for trophy hunting The General Hunting and Fishing License is successful in the permit drawing to hunt for deer
and ﬁshing. The legislation allows the governor still available for $62. However, hunters are during the open season. The annual Resident
to make available up to 12 big-game special encouraged not to purchase one until they know Junior/Senior Deer License fee is $24.00.
10 Volume 52, Number 2
Program opens private lands to public
Landowners earn cash
on public access leases
for wildlife recreation Private landowners
who particpate in the
Open Gate Program
are paid $1 an acre
By Kerry Guiseppe and $500 per water
source annually for
A new program coordinated by the New Mexico granting access leases
Department of Game and Fish is opening new to their property for
opportunities for hunters and anglers by leasing hunting, ﬁshing and
private lands and unlocking gates. other wildlife-associat-
ed recreation, and for
access to landlocked
The Open Gate: Hunting and Fishing Access public lands.
Program is designed to open access to more of
the approximately 45 percent of New Mexico
that is privately owned. By leasing private
property access, the Department hopes to Photo: Dan Williams
expand hunting, ﬁshing and other wildlife-
related recreational opportunities on private
lands and on public lands that formerly were
“land-locked” because they are surrounded by
“Access programs like Open Gate are
becoming increasingly popular in the West as
a win-win solution to increase public hunting
opportunities,” said Jeremy Vesbach, Director of Landowners can participate in the Open Gate
the New Mexico Wildlife Federation. “Montana Program in three ways:
pioneered the concept 20 years ago and has
opened 9 million acres of private lands for • Leasing their property for either an
public recreation. With Governor Richardson’s entire year’s worth of activities or for a
continued support, I’m conﬁdent we’ll see Open speciﬁc season such as waterfowl, turkey
Gate expand our hunting opportunities in New or ﬁshing. Properties are evaluated by a
Mexico as well.” district conservation oﬃcer for suitability
of inclusion in the program. li�er or damage to my property from hunter use.
I signed up to make money by utilizing all of the
Access opportunities for the 2006-2007 season • Granting access to landlocked public resources on my property and I hope the Game
included more than 26,000 acres for dove, quail, land through their property. This type and Fish Department has go�en their money’s
waterfowl, and deer hunting. Landowners have of access usually will be negotiated as a worth.”
enrolled more than 27,611 acres in the program long-term easement. The Department
for the 2007-2008 season, and the Department will appraise the property and negotiate As Open Gate gains popularity, public hunters,
hopes to add more opportunities such as a fair price for the easement. anglers and wildlife watchers will be called
turkey and oryx hunting, ﬁshing, and wildlife upon to hold up their end of the deal by
watching. • Providing access when there is a following the rules and respecting landowners'
unique potential for wildlife viewing property. This will be critical to the program's
on their property that would enable future. Enrollment by landowners is voluntary
Habitat validation pays oﬀ a Gaining Access into Nature (GAIN) and experiences will directly aﬀect public access
opportunity to be organized by the in subsequent years. Everyone who uses these
Funding for Open Gate is from the State’s $4 Department. This could be a once-a- properties is urged to obey all state and federal
Habitat Management and Access Validation, year opportunity or could encompass laws, and to be considerate and respectful
which is required for buyers of hunting and numerous viewing options such as elk of landowners, their neighbors and other
ﬁshing licenses. Fees paid to landowners begin bugling and bird watching. recreationists. One bullet hole in a water tank or
at $1 per acre, $500 per water source (tank, one cut fence may be all it takes for a landowner
pond, river access), or can be negotiated with “I’ve had a very favorable experience with the to bail out of the program the following year.
approval by the Department Director. The lease program,” said Ellio� McMaster, a southeastern
agreements protect landowners from liability New Mexico landowner who signed up for the
issues, and may help alleviate chronic trespass program in 2006, oﬀering hunting opportunities
Information and applications
problems. for waterfowl and quail. “I didn’t ﬁnd any
Maps to enrolled properties will be posted on
the Department website, www.wildlife.state.
nm.us, also will be available at Department
oﬃces in Santa Fe, Raton, Albuquerque,
Roswell and Las Cruces. Maps will include
directions to an access point and other pertinent
information, including dates and seasons of
access and whether there is any road access or
if the property is walk-in only. Maps should be
available several weeks prior to the start of the
season and will be updated as more properties
The deadline for landowner applications
to participate in the Open Gate Program is
one month before the start of the season.
For instance, if you would like to lease your
property for quail season, your application
should be submi�ed by Oct. 15.
To learn more about the Open Gate Program,
information and forms are available at the Santa
Fe oﬃce, all area oﬃces and on the Department
Photo: Dan Williams website, www.wildlife.state.nm.us. Information
More access to private lands through the Open Gate Program will increase hunting opportuni- also may be obtained from Open Gate
ties for quail and other small-game species throughout New Mexico. As the program grows, the Coordinator Kerry Guiseppe, (505) 476-8043 or
Department of Game and Fish hopes to expand the program to include more big-game hunting, Manager of Private Land Programs Cal Baca,
ﬁshing and wildlife watching activities. (505) 476-8044.
forecasts This young black
bear found the
weather -- and
Watch the bear grease the groceries -- in
Edgewood to his
for latest on weather liking. He was
moved to nearby
By Dan Williams mountains, where
he could fatten up
While it doesn’t take a weatherman to know on natural food.
which way the wind blows, we all can use
some help when it comes to predicting what’s
blowing in this winter, or tomorrow for that
ma�er. So when we’re planning a ﬁshing trip or
making reservations for a skiing vacation, most
of us are content listening to highly educated
meteorologists who dazzle us with satellite
Photo: Ross Morgan
images, Doppler radar and weather “models.”
Some of us, however, prefer a more natural grease on the map when he embraced the -- following the test of the ﬁrst atomic bomb. He
approach. Instead of tuning in to AccuDoppler, technique he learned from George Hightower, a said he was paid a visit by military oﬃcials a�er
we consult our Farmer’s Almanac, fuzzy New Mexico Game Warden. Wimsa�’s uncanny word got out about his discovery. Apparently,
caterpillars, cow hides or bear grease. bear-grease weather predictions soon spread they wanted to know his source of information.
far and wide -- all the way to the television
Bear grease? networks, where he even won a forecasting duel Today, Wimsa�’s bear-grease legacy is carried
with the Good Morning America weatherman. on by hundreds of grease-reading disciples
Using rendered bear fat to predict the weather He became a favorite guest speaker at area across the country. Many are his relatives, who
has been practiced for hundreds of years, schools, including the school at the Mescalero inherited one or more of his jars, some of them
according to a dedicated few who keep the Apache Reservation. dating back 50 years or more.
tradition alive. Longtime bear grease readers say
the technique was passed down by the Apaches, Until his death in 1995 at age 80, “The Bear
who observed the fat through deer intestines Grease Kid” predicted long- and short-term “The old ones still work great,” says Ron
that were carefully scraped to translucence. The weather events, from simple cold fronts and Carpenter, Wimsa�’s son-in-law. He and Gordon
theory is that each pa�ern created by the grease thunderstorms to tornadoes, hurricanes and Wimsa�’s daughter, Sheila, keep watch on more
sediment represents some kind of weather or droughts. Occasionally one of his jars displayed than 100 jars, old and new. One of their hopes
earth-shaking event. Sometimes the pa�erns unusual pa�erns that he eventually associated is that more people will remember Gordon
show what’s happening now; sometimes they with earthquakes, and yes, even atomic blasts. Wimsa� and acquire a jar of weather-predicting
indicate events yet to come. One of Wimsa�’s favorite stories was the time animal fat. If you are interested in learning more
back in the 1940s when one of his bear grease about the tradition, visit his website, www.
The late Gordon Wimsa� of Mayhill put bear jars showed an inversion -- or mushroom cloud gordonwimsa�.com.
Bear grease patterns show current, future wind, rain, even earthquakes
For more than 50 years, Cloudcro�, N.M., enabled him to make weather forecasts that
resident G. Gordon Wimsa� used rendered baﬄed scientists and earned him national
bear fat to predict the weather and other recognition.
earth-shaking occurrences with remarkable A�er years of observing his many jars of
accuracy. Although he had no idea why the grease and comparing their pa�erns with the
bear grease reacts the way it does, his dil- weather, he created this chart to help others
ligent a�ention to the old Apache technique "read" the grease.
Heavy in bot- Slight buildup: Build up and
Ingredients: One piece of clean, well-trimmed animal fat. Bear, chicken or turkey fat work tom: no change Some cloud peak: Clouds
for several cover coming. and moisture
best. Avoid cow, deer, pork and elk fat.
hours; clear. close at hand.
1. Cook fat in a skillet over low heat until it turns to a clear liquid. Don't let the fat get too
2. Immediately strain the liquid into a hot, clean, dry clear glass jar. Any size will work.
Baby food jars work great.
3. Cap the jar and set it in a south or east facing window sill. Try not to move the jar, but if
you must, return it to its original position.
4. Observe pa�erns and color changes in the jars, making note of weather conditions at the
time. Keeping a journal will help you learn to predict the weather by "reading" the grease.
5. Don't give up if you don't notice changes at ﬁrst. Some grease works right away; others
take as long as two months to show changes. Occasionally a jar of grease will go dormant Slight depres- Slight depre- Moisture close
for a period of time, and then become active again. sion, large sion, small at hand from
6. Not all fat works. If you don't notice changes in 60 days, try another batch. particles: light particles: heavy direction of
local winds. local winds. point.
Graphics: Dan Williams
Large suspend- Mushroom Padded pattern: Hurricane Several torna- Tornado pat- Cone: Happens Irregular build-
ed particles: pattern hap- Indicates future buildup pattern does to hit in a tern showing just before a up: beginning
earthquake pat- pens only after storm. showing direc- very short time. direction of volcanic erup- of earthquake
tern. atomic blast. tion of travel. travel tion. pattern.
12 Volume 52, Number 2
Dying to meet you
Continued from Page 1
biologist, said good reproduction during the
past two years pushed more bears into areas
where they got into trouble.
"All of a sudden you have all these young
bears moving around, ge�ing pushed out
by their mothers, trying to ﬁnd their place
in the world," Winslow said. "Most of our
problem bears are young bears, 100 to 150
pounds, who are out looking for food and
wind up ﬁnding dumpsters, birdfeeders,
dirty campgrounds. Some of them are
a�racted to towns, especially if mom used to
bring them in to McDonald's for breakfast."
Finding their place
Young lions also are more likely to get into
conﬂicts with humans than older, wiser cats.
Once their mother sends them out on their
own, they must establish their own territory,
and that's ge�ing increasingly diﬃcult as
humans encroach on lion habitat. O�en,
what li�le habitat is available is already
spoken for by a very territorial adult lion,
Photo: Nick Smith
and a male cougar's territory averages 120
New Mexico's mountain lion population is 2,000 to 3,000 and growing, according to recent
square miles. estimates. People are seeing and encountering more of the elusive cats as human development
continues to expand into cougar country.
Young, inexperienced lions can be
dangerous if they're hungry enough. John annual occurrences in California. • In January 1974, 8-year-old Kenneth
Montoya, a U.S. Forest Service employee, Clark Nolan of Arroyo Seco was
discovered that in August 2005 when ﬁve "It's really quite simple -- either people start killed by an emaciated 47-pound
lions approached him on Patos Mountain learning to live with bears and lions, or female cougar. The boy and his 7-
in southeastern New Mexico. He yelled we're going to have to start removing more year-old half brother were playing
and waved his shovel and was able to back bears and lions," Winslow said. about a half-mile from their home
down the mountain to his truck, followed by when they were a�acked by the
the lions all the way. The same year, a young New Mexico's two fatalities involving bears lion. The 7-year-old ran for help, but
female lion killed a family dog, and then and lions were as hard to explain as they by the time the father arrived, the
chased the owner into his house near Las were tragic: lion had killed Nolan. The father, a
Vegas. The next day, conservation oﬃcers state policeman, shot the lion three
used the calls of a fawn bleat and an injured • In August 2001, 93-year-old Adelia times with his pistol, but it ran oﬀ. A
rabbit to lure the lion within shooting range. Maestas Trujillo was mauled to death neighbor tracked it down and killed it
by a 275-pound black bear in her with a riﬂe.
"Lions can be very unpredictable," Winslow rural home near Mora. The a�ack
said. "If you live around them, you don't puzzled investigators, who said Keeping populations in check
want to create an a�ractive environment for Trujillo had not been cooking and did
their prey species. Deﬁnitely don't feed the nothing obvious to a�ract the bear. The Department estimates there are 5,000
deer, and if you must have pets, keep them No one could recall another case of a to 6,000 bears and 2,000 to 3,000 cougars
indoors, especially at night." bear a�acking someone inside their in New Mexico. Populations are stable
house in New Mexico. or increasing for both species, which are
A�acks are rare managed under a zone system that regulates
numbers of animals harvested each year
A�acks on humans by cougars or bears are by hunters, for depredation issues or lion
very rare, despite a fair number of close control to protect bighorn sheep. The
encounters and a few nips and scratches. Department issued 4,913 over-the-counter
Only two people have been killed by a bear licenses in the 2006-2007 season and
lion or a bear in recent memory. Still, the those hunters harvested 356 bears. The same
possibility is there; that's what makes bears season, 1,570 lion hunters harvested 204
and lions so dangerous, and so interesting. lions.
"Bear stories are always interesting," said The Department uses hunting as a tool to
Mark Oswald, editor of the Albuquerque keep bear and lion populations in check,
Journal North edition. The newspaper but there's li�le control over human
published more than 30 stories about populations that continue to expand into
encounters between humans and bears bear and lion country. As more and more
or lions in the past two years. On a slow housing developments and roads are built
news day, all newspapers or television in the mountains and foothills, conﬂicts with
stations need is a bear or a lion to spice wildlife are inevitable. Some examples:
up the routine mix of crime, car wrecks,
government and politics. Sometimes, all it • July 2007: Campers in Sugarite
takes is a sighting to make the news. When Canyon State Park near Raton and
a woman in Farmington reported seeing a Grapevine Campground in southern
mountain lion on her hike outside town in New Mexico were bi�en through
obvious lion country, her story made the their tents by bears. Both campers
front page of the local newspaper -- twice. were treated for rabies. The Sugarite
bear was killed and tested negative
With bear and lion populations growing and for rabies. The Grapevine bear
human developments expanding into bear disappeared into the forest. Oﬃcers
and lion country, some say it's only a ma�er File photo believe both bears had learned to
of time before New Mexico experiences the Once a black bear discovers an accessible
type of a�acks that have become almost dumpster, it will be back -- again and again.
Continued on Page 14
A ﬁsherman puts some
distance between him and a
black bear looking for dead
ﬁsh or a handout at Suree
Pond in the Valle Vidal.
Bears are common around
the pond and nearby camp-
ground because they have
learned that campers and
anglers are good food sourc-
es. When the bears become
a nuisance or a public safety
concern, they must be either
trapped and relocated, or
Photo: Dan Williams
Dying to meet you anything. It was released in the
Manzano Mountains. Drought: the worst of times
Continued from Page 13 Problems with bears and lions always
• June 2006: A mature mountain lion
associate campers and campgrounds in the Sedillo Hill area east of increase during years of drought, especially
with food. Albuquerque was killed a�er the lion if the drought year follows one or two
visited a couple's home three nights years of good bear and lion reproduction.
• June 2007: Oﬃcers killed a 150-pound in a row and killed their four pet That happened in New Mexico from 2001
bear in Pinos Altos a�er it had killed pygmy goats. through 2003. Snowpacks and precipitation
26 chickens, injured a goat and were poor those years, resulting in slim
chased other livestock. The bear had • September 2006: A Santa Fe Sheriﬀ's pickings in the high country for all wildlife.
no fear of people and o�en was seen deputy shot and killed a young male Desperate for food, the animals traveled
looking in windows of local houses. mountain lion in the back yard of a down into the valleys -- o�en the only
house south of town a�er the lion source of water and nourishment. There,
• May 2007: Oﬃcers tranquilized and killed and ate a house cat. The same many also found people, dumpsters … and
relocated a young black bear that lion was believed to have killed death.
wandered into Rio Rancho and several house cats in and around
entered a medical clinic. The bear Santa Fe over a period of a few "We killed about 1,000 bears both of those
did not threaten anyone or damage weeks. years during the hunting seasons and for
depredation problems," Winslow said. The
dry conditions and scarce food supplies
forced the bears to concentrate on what few
food sources remained, and that made them
easy prey for hunters. Other bears found
their way into towns, and more trouble.
Hunters harvested nearly 600 bears in the
2001-2002 season and 745 bears in 2002-
2003, nearly twice the 11-year average.
The number of bears killed because of
depredation concerns also skyrocketed
to nearly 200 during the drought years,
compared with only three bears killed the
year before the drought, and 19 when the
rains returned in 2003-2004.
"It was nuts," Conservation Oﬃcer Chris
Chadwick said of the 2001-03 drought
in the Northwest Area, which includes
Albuquerque. "We were ge�ing three or four
calls a night. Everybody was exhausted."
Sometimes oﬃcers are able to trap and
relocate bears or lions, and sometimes the
animals and the people who habituated
them leave oﬃcers no choice but to
permanently remove the problem. Bears
and lions that are handled, trapped or
relocated receive visible ear tags so oﬃcers
can recognize them if they turn up again. If
the oﬀenses become chronic, the bear or lion
Bears that get into trouble usually are trapped and relocated in suitable habitat far from where
they were caught. The Department of Game and Fish tags these bears so ofﬁcers can recognize usually is put down.
them if they turn up again. Continued on Page 15
14 Volume 52, Number 2
Living and playing
with bears and lions
Creating dangerous nuisance wild animals by
intentionally or unintentionally feeding them
is a crime punishable by ﬁnes up to $500. The
real losers in those scenarios, however, are the
animals, especially bears, which o�en have to
be killed. Here are some reasonable measures
homeowners can take to save a bear or lion’s life
by preventing it from associating humans with
Bears at home
• Garbage: Store your garbage in airtight con-
tainers inside a garage or a sturdy shed, or in an
approved bear-resistant receptacle. Clean trash
cans with ammonia to reduce odors that can at-
tract bears. Put the garbage out the morning of a
scheduled pickup, not the night before.
• Pet food: Feed your pets indoors. Don’t leave Photo: Nick Smith
pet food outside. Store it in a sturdy building
Lions and bears can be extremely dangerous if they are cornered or feel threatened. This
or the garage. Make sure your garage door is
lion's posture indicates it is very displeased with the current situation. Best strategy: Stand
closed at night. tall, make yourself look as big as possible an, and slowly back away.
• Barbecues: Keep barbecues clean and free
of grease. Store them in the garage or a sturdy Close encounters: What should you do?
What would you do if you suddenly came over, which could trigger an a�ack.
• Birdfeeders: Hang birdfeeders out of reach face-to-face with a black bear or a mountain
of bears, not on your porch or from the house lion in camp, on the trail, or in your back yard? • Back away: If the animal has not seen you,
ra�ers. Bring hummingbird feeders inside every In most cases, your responses to close encoun- slowly back away while making noise so it
night. ters with both animals should be the same: knows you are there. If it still approaches,
stand tall, yell, ra�le pots and pans or whistle.
• Fruit trees: Plant fruit trees away from your
• Don’t run! If you come across a bear or a If you are on a trail, step oﬀ on the downhill
house, and pick fruit as it ripens. Spoiled fruit
lion, stay calm and slowly back away while side and give the animal room to pass.
that falls to the ground should be removed be-
continuing to face the animal and avoiding
cause the odor is a powerful bear a�ractant.
direct eye contact. Pick up small children so • Don’t mess with mama: Never, ever, get
• Compost piles: Keep compost piles away they don’t panic and run, which can trigger between a mother and her cubs or ki�ens.
from your house. Don’t put meat, ﬁsh, other the animals’ instinct to chase.
pungent scraps or fragrant fruits such as melons • Never oﬀer food: Oﬀering food to a bear is
on your compost pile. Add lime to reduce odors • Travel in groups: There is strength in num- inviting it to stick around. When it’s done with
and accelerate decomposition. bers, and most bears and lions will respect that your friendly oﬀering, it may consider having
and leave the area. you for dessert.
• Talk to neighbors: Bear problems are commu-
nity problems. Make sure your neighbors know • Make yourself big: Hold out your arms and • If you are a�acked: Fight back aggressively,
about bear behavior and how to avoid encoun- spread your jacket so the bear or lion doesn’t using anything you can reach as a weapon. Do
ters. consider you its prey. Don’t kneel or bend not play dead.
Bears in camp
bears have been known to break in anyway. establish their own territory. Here are some tips
There’s nothing a black bear likes quite as much to protect yourself, your family and pets:
as a pic-a-nic basket, fresh garbage or a cooler • No food in the tent: Keep your tent and sleep-
full of wieners and soda pop. Here are some ing bag free of all food smells and toiletry items • Watch the kids: Closely supervise children
ways to prevent dangerous encounters in camp -- even toothpaste. Change your clothes and and make sure they are home before dusk and
for yourself and other campers: store the ones you wore while cooking outside not outside before dawn.
• Garbage in, garbage out: Keep your camp the tent with your food.
• No hiding places: Trim or remove vegetation
clean and store food and garbage in bear-proof
• Don’t cook where you sleep: Your cooking around the house, and close oﬀ open spaces
containers if possible. If not, suspend food, cool-
area should be a good distance -- some say at beneath porches and decks so lions won’t have
ers and garbage from a tree at least 10 feet oﬀ
least 100 yards -- from where you sleep, if pos- places to hide.
the ground and 4 feet out from the tree trunk.
Do not bury or burn your trash. sible.
• Lighting: Install outdoor lighting so you can
• Stow your cooler, pots and pans: Keep your Lion country see a lion if one is present.
cooler and cooking utensils in a secure place,
preferably in a bear-proof container. Vehicles or Mountain lions can be unpredictable, especially • No prey: Don’t feed wildlife, especially deer,
hard-sided camp trailers usually are secure, but when they are young, hungry and looking to which are lions’ favorite prey.
Dying to meet you A food-conditioned bear is one that learns to
associate humans with a food source, such
as bird feeders, apple trees, campsites, trash
Continued from Page 14 dumpsters and grease bins. They run away
when approached and usually are trapped
"The problem isn't the bears; it's the people," and taken back to the mountains when they
Winslow said. "We're bringing our food become a problem. A human-conditioned
into areas where it hasn't been before, and bear is another animal altogether. It is
making it available to the bears. They are also food-conditioned but has changed
always hungry, they are opportunistic, they its behavior and has learned not to fear
learn fast and they have good memories. humans.
Bears know what day is trash day, and what
time Fiﬁ is let out at night. They learn safe "Human-conditioned bears become active in
routes to their food sources, sometimes right the daytime, which is not normal for bears,"
through towns, where they know they won't Winslow said. "When they are approached,
be bothered." they don't run away, and at that point
they become dangerous and might start File photo
Winslow has two classiﬁcations for problem considering humans as a food source. When Young bears instinctively climb when they feel
bears: "food-conditioned" and "human- they start behaving like that, it's usually a threatened, which can cause serious problems
conditioned." death sentence." when they ﬁnd their way into urban areas.
plenty of friends A minnow's song
along Rio Grande A class of fourth-grade students from Cath-
erine Gallegos Elementary School sang this
By Colleen Welch song for the silvery minnow at the dedication
of a new silvery minnow refugium in Los
The river runs slow and low through- Lunas. Music teacher Monica White wrote the
out the Middle Rio Grande. The Rio lyrics, with music to the song, Baby Beluga, by
Grande is not the river it was when Raﬃ and Debi Pike.
the silvery minnow thrived through-
out most of the river’s reach, north to Silvery minnow in the Rio Grande,
south. During the late 1500’s when
Swimming, swimming despite the sand.
the river was also known as Rio del
Norte, the silvery minnow was abun- Heaven above, and water below,
dant and widespread ranging from And a li�le silver minnow on the go.
Espanola, N.M., to the Gulf of Mexico.
Historically, the minnow also ﬂour- Silvery minnow, silvery minnow, swim so fast along.
ished in the Pecos River from Santa We’ll keep you safe from harm, we like to see you.
Rosa to where it meets the Rio Grande
in southwest Texas and in the lower Way down yonder where the turtles play,
reaches of the Chama River. Now it is Where you swim and splash all day,
limited to about 5 percent of its origi-
The water’s cool and sun is hot,
nal habitat -- all within the middle
Rio Grande, from Cochiti Dam to See the turtles sunning out in their spots.
Elephant Bu�e Reservoir.
Silvery minnow, silvery minnow, swim so fast along.
The Rio Grande silvery minnow is the We’ll keep you safe from harm, we like to see you.
only survivor from a group of four
native minnows that once thrived When it’s dark, you’re home and fed,
in New Mexico’s great river system. Curl up snug in your water bed.
The Rio Grande was “home sweet Photos: Lance Cherry
Moon is shining and the stars are out,
home” to these particular minnows, Good night, li�le minnow, goodnight.
Children released bags of silvery minnows into the Rio
not found elsewhere in the West.
Grande during an event in June celebrating the 1 millionth
The other minnows were the Rio silvery minnow released into its native waters. Silvery minnow, silvery minnow, with tomor-
Grande shiner, phantom shiner and row’s sun,
Rio Grande bluntnose shiner. The Rio multiply and ﬁnd the water it needs to survive. Another day’s begun, you’ll soon be waking.
Grande bluntnose shiner and phantom shiner There are plans to improve habitat and water
are now extinct, but the Rio Grande shiner still quality to help the minnow and other endan-
survives in the Pecos River. Silvery minnow in the Rio Grande,
gered species. Minnows also are being hatched
Swimming, swimming despite the sand.
and raised in a $1 million refugium at the City
Today, the silvery minnow has many friends of Albuquerque Biological Park. When the min- Heaven above, and water below,
working to save it from extinction. En- nows get big enough, they are released into the And a li�le silver minnow on the go.
vironmental groups, government agen- Rio Grande. In June, the 1 millionth minnow was You’re just a li�le silver minnow on the go.
cies and children are helping the minnow set free to swim in the river.
the minnow . . .
“I am a small, silvery animal with ﬁns and
scales. I have small eyes. I rarely get longer
than 3.5 inches (9 centimeters). I hatched from
a ﬂoating egg. I eat algae and tiny plant pieces
I ﬁnd ﬂoating in the water and on the gooey
river bo�om. Sometimes I eat old insect skins. I
usually travel in large groups called “schools.” Photo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
I prefer slow-moving waters where the river upstream, sharing the river with 16 other native
meanders and braids. I release my eggs when ﬁsh species.
the river ﬂow increases during the early spring
to summer.” Today, the river has been tamed …
-- Bosque Education Guide The Rio Grande no longer meanders where I try
to survive between Cochiti and Elephant Bu�e
lakes. Five major dams have been built within
Many years ago, when the river was wild … my habitat range and I can no longer swim
upstream. Most of the water is used by farmers
I laid my eggs during the peak spring ﬂows, and cities. Sometimes the river bo�om lies na-
and my young developed in quiet backwater ked and dry, cracked by the hot sun. When I can
areas a�er ﬂooding. I prefer shallow, slow water ﬁnd water, I share it with strange new ﬁsh that
with its silty, sandy bo�om. I am a strong ﬁsh, live behind the dams and ﬁnd their way into the
but I usually live only one year, so my annual river. The new ﬁsh eat my food, and sometimes
spawn is very important to the survival of my eat me! Today, I am one of only nine remaining To learn more about people helping silvery min-
species. The river was strong and carried my native ﬁsh in the Rio Grande, but people are nows, please visit the website,
eggs and young far downstream. I journeyed trying to help me. www.fws.gov/mrgesacp/.
16 Volume 52, Number 2