Just in time for trapping season, the Department of Game and Fish is seeking public comment on proposed revisions to the furbearer rule.

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Here is what the Department has proposed:

  • Closing only 0.5% of New Mexico’s public land to most traps.
  • Increasing setbacks from trailheads, but not from trails or roads.
  • Adopting a year-round season for raccoons and nutria.
  • Increasing trap check times for underwater traps (leaving animals in traps longer)

These minor changes are not enough. Nearly 70% of New Mexicans oppose trapping entirely. It's time for an outright ban on trapping on public lands. Make your voice heard by attending the following meetings and making public comment:

  • Raton: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Department of Game and Fish office, 215 York Canyon Rd, Raton.
  • Roswell: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Department of Game and Fish office, 1615 West College Boulevard, Roswell.
  • Las Cruces: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Department of Game and Fish office, 2715 Northrise Drive, Las Cruces.
  • Albuquerque: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Department of Game and Fish office, 7816 Alamo Rd NW, Albuquerque.

Consider these talking points, and always lead with a personal connection or story:

  • Traps are cruel. They cause suffering, stress, and injury to wildlife.
  • Traps are indiscriminate. A trap will catch anything that has the misfortune to stumble upon it. They are like landmines on public lands.
  • Trapping is done for profit. For a measly $20 fee, trappers can kill an unlimited number of "protected furbearers" for months out of the year and sell their hides for a profit. Why should a handful of people be allowed to capitalize on the public's wildlife? And it is a handful: less than 3,000 furbearer licenses are sold every year in the state of New Mexico.
  • Trapping hurts outdoor recreation. New Mexico recently passed a bill to kickstart our outdoor recreation economy. How will visitors feel when they find out the hard way that traps can be set just 25 yards from a trail or road and just half a mile from a designated campground? New Mexicans and visitors alike should be able to recreate on public lands without fear.

Read more about traps at www.trapfreenm.org.