AR15.Com Archives
 Couple of legal questions about varmint hunting in NM
EternalVigilance  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 8:44:05 AM EST
I have a friend visiting from Texas, and he wants to come help me try to call in some coyotes on Friday. There are rabbits ALL over the place where we are going, so I will probably be shooting some of those too.


I know that he can't actually shoot anything unless he gets a non-resident permit from New Mexico of some kind. I bought two permits a while back for varmints and such, I don't remember what the permits are called, but one was for BLM land and one was for forest land (I think?). We are going to be on BLM land.


Anyway, I have a few questions.

1) Assuming we don't get a license for my buddy, can he come with me and run the call and generally tag along, as long as he is not actually shooting?

2) What is the cheapest way to get him whatever permit he needs so that he can actually participate?

3) Can you hunt coyote and rabbit at night in new mexico? I may or may not have once shot a rabbit with my pistol on the hike back from the spot I go to up there, when it was dark out already and using my surefire to put light on him. I later found out that this is illegal in many states and is called "spot-lighting". Is it considered spot-lighting to use a weapon light? Is this legal?

4) What about if you see a varmint at night time on the ride back either on a four-wheeler or in your truck, and you get out of the vehicle and shoot it. Is this legal? I know you can't shoot from within / on a vehicle and probably not too near any county roads or anything.



Thanks guys
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nmmi9100  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 12:22:59 PM EST
NM Game & Fish

1. Yes; I don't varmint hunt but i'm pretty sure that "running the call" in New Mexico is illegal...no electronic calls. I stand corrected
2. See above Link; He'll need a small game license, a habitat stamp, and a habitat mgmt stamp
3. NO; There is no night hunting in New Mexico. And if you hunt with a light, plan to lose your GUN, TRUCK, ATV and whatever else you rode in on.
4. NO; There is no night hunting in New Mexico.

I think you really need to read the PDF Small Game Proclamation available at the above link. I have a lifetime Texas license and I hunt regularly in New Mexioc. If you don't read the Proclamation, you're probably going to end up in jail applying Texas rules to NM.

Texas is like the Wild Wild West when it comes to varmints, exotics, spotlighting...New Mexico is totally different.

-David
Edgewood, NM
EternalVigilance  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 12:35:20 PM EST
Originally Posted By nmmi9100:
NM Game & Fish

1. Yes; I don't varmint hunt but i'm pretty sure that "running the call" in New Mexico is illegal...no electronic calls.
2. See above Link; He'll need a small game license, a habitat stamp, and a habitat mgmt stamp
3. NO; There is no night hunting in New Mexico. And if you hunt with a light, plan to lose your GUN, TRUCK, ATV and whatever else you rode in on.
4. NO; There is no night hunting in New Mexico.

I think you really need to read the PDF Small Game Proclamation available at the above link. I have a lifetime Texas license and I hunt regularly in New Mexioc. If you don't read the Proclamation, you're probably going to end up in jail applying Texas rules to NM.

Texas is like the Wild Wild West when it comes to varmints, exotics, spotlighting...New Mexico is totally different.

-David
Edgewood, NM




Damn, that sucks.


I've had one or two people tell me that you could even use night vision to hunt coyotes in new mexico...don't listen to gun store commando's I guess.



I was going to ask if it would be ok for me to use any rabbits that I shoot as coyote bait, but based on that info, I'm guessing not.


Thanks for all of the info!



eta: I really don't get these rules. The place where I hunt is CRAWLING with tons and tons of rabbits, literally probably thousands per square mile. Half the damn things are nothing but little disease ridden vermin. Shit load of coyotes too! I guess according to the sate I'm a bad guy if I shoot them at night.

Thanks again...good thing I posted this!
EternalVigilance  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 12:45:07 PM EST
Everything that I can find so far in the NM statutes that talks about "artificial light" or "baiting" and other various restrictions always refers to "protected game".

Coyotes and rabbits are not "protected game" though, right?




Also, I thought the best time to go after coyotes was at dusk (or dawn). Is there some guideline that defines at what point it becomes "night hunting"?


I'm reading through what I can find online...
EternalVigilance  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 12:52:16 PM EST
I don't think that some of these statutes apply to coyotes and rabbits.

http://www.conwaygreene.com/nmsu/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-hit-h.htm&2.0


17-2-3. Protected wildlife species and game fish defined.

A. The following mammals are game mammals:

(1) all of the family Tayassuidae (javelina);

(2) within the family Bovidae:

(a) all of the genus Bison (American bison) except where raised in captivity for domestic or commercial meat production;

(b) all of the genus Capra (ibex) except for the domestic species of goats;

(c) all of the genus Ovis (bighorn sheep) except for the domestic species of sheep;

(d) all of the genus Ammotragus (aoudad);

(e) all of the genus Tragelaphus (kudu); and

(f) all of the genus Oryx (oryx);

(3) all of the family Antilocapridae (American pronghorn);

(4) all of the family Cervidae (elk and deer);

(5) all of the family Ochotonidae (pikas);

(6) all of the genus Sciurus (squirrels);

(7) all of the genus Tamiasciurus (red squirrels);

(8) all of the genus Marmota (marmots) of the family Sciuridae;

(9) all of the family Ursidae (bear); and

(10) all of the species Concolor (cougar) of the genus Felis and family Felidae.

B. The following birds are game birds:

(1) all of the family Anatidae (waterfowl);

(2) all of the family Tetraonidae (grouse and ptarmigans);

(3) all of the family Phasianidae (quail, partridges and pheasants);

(4) all of the family Meleagridae (wild turkeys) except for the domestic strains of turkeys;

(5) all of the family Perdicidae (francolins);

(6) all of the family Gruidae (cranes);

(7) all of the family Rallidae (rails, coots and gallinules);

(8) all of the family Charadriidae (plovers, turnstones and surfbirds);

(9) all of the family Scolopacidae (shorebirds, snipe, sandpipers and curlews);

(10) all of the family Recurvirostridae (avocets and stilts);

(11) all of the family Phalaropodidae (phalaropes); and

(12) all of the family Columbidae (wild pigeons and doves) except for the domestic strains of pigeons.

C. The following fish are game fish:

(1) all of the family Salmonidae (trout);

(2) all of the family Esocidae (pike);

(3) all of the family Ictaluridae (catfish);

(4) all introduced species of the family Serranidae (sea bass and white bass);

(5) all of the family Centrarchidae (sunfish, crappie and bass);

(6) all of the family Percidae (walleye pike and perch);

(7) all introduced species of the family Pomadasyidae (sargo); and

(8) all introduced species of the family Sciaenidae (corvina, bairdiella and redfish).




EternalVigilance  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 12:55:34 PM EST



17-2-31. Use of artificial light while hunting prohibited.

It is unlawful for a person or a group of persons together in possession or control of a firearm or other implement to throw or cast the rays of a spotlight or other artificial light into any field, pasture, woodland, forest or prairie where big game or domestic livestock may be, or are reasonably expected to be, whereby any big game animal or domestic animal could be killed by aid of an artificial light. However, the following shall be exempt from the provisions of this section:


A. an officer authorized to enforce the game and livestock laws of the state;

B. a government employee acting in an official capacity;

C. a landowner or lessee or employee of such landowner or lessee, while on the land owned or leased in connection with legitimate activities; or

D. a person who has received a permit or authorization from the department of game and fish to conduct such activities.








eta: I also found something about using bait, and it said the same thing about "big game".

EternalVigilance  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 1:01:55 PM EST
All of this talks about "big game"...also, the spot-lighting tidbit refers to 17-2-31, which I posted above, and only specifies "big game" or "livestock".




17-2-20.1. Seizure and forfeiture; property subject.

A. All firearms and bows and arrows may be subject to seizure and forfeiture when used as instrumentalities in the commission of the following crimes:

(1) illegal possession or transportation of big game during closed season;

(2) taking big game during closed season;

(3) attempting to take big game by the use of spotlight or artificial light; and

(4) exceeding the bag limit on any big game species during open season.

B. Any motor vehicle shall be subject to seizure and forfeiture when operated in violation of the provisions of Section 17-2-31 NMSA 1978, regarding hunting by spotlight.

C. The provisions of the Forfeiture Act [31-27-1 NMSA 1978] apply to the seizure, forfeiture and disposal of property subject to forfeiture pursuant to Subsections A and B of this section.

EternalVigilance  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 1:03:24 PM EST


17-2-32. Diseased rabbits; hunting and trapping.

The department of game and fish may restrict hunting and trapping of rabbits in any area when notified by the department of public health [department of health] that rabbits in the area are infected with bubonic plague. Any restriction under this section shall be terminated when the department of public health [department of health] notifies the department of game and fish that danger, of public health significance, no longer exists in the area with respect to these diseased rabbits.






This is why I shoot, but do not eat, rabbits.
EternalVigilance  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 1:10:37 PM EST
Well, I combed through everything I could find on these sites:

http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/index.htm

http://www.conwaygreene.com/nmsu/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-hit-h.htm&2.0

http://www.nmcpr.state.nm.us/nmac/_title19/T19C030.htm


I can't find anything even mentioning night hunting or artificial light with coyotes and rabbits. Everything says "big game" or "protected game", and the list of "protected game" contains neither.


I've googled the hell out of this stuff and haven't found anything credible there either.



Can anyone confirm what nmmi9100 said? I'm a new and very inexperienced varmint hunter...any help would be appreciated guys. I'd like to stay within the law, but I don't want to ruin my fun if indeed some of these possible activities are not in fact illegal. Hunting coyotes with night vision would be pretty bad ass.
EternalVigilance  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 1:10:37 PM EST
double tap
SJHunter  [Member]
6/1/2009 1:25:22 PM EST
You can use an electronic predator call in NM.

The phrase concerning spotlighting, where livestock or game animals maybe present, pretty much covers the entire state. If you're hunting at night with an artificial light you will be cited if caught. If you shoot from a motorized vehicle or from a road, you will lose your gun, vehicle and hunting rights.

We have called & shot coyotes at night during a full moon with snow on the ground. After a while your eyes adjust and it's amazing how much you can see.
EternalVigilance  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 1:30:30 PM EST
Originally Posted By SJHunter:
You can use an electronic predator call in NM.

The phrase concerning spotlighting, where livestock or game animals maybe present, pretty much covers the entire state. If you're hunting at night with an artificial light you will be cited if caught. If you shoot from a motorized vehicle or from a road, you will lose your gun, vehicle and hunting rights.

We have called & shot coyotes at night during a full moon with snow on the ground. After a while your eyes adjust and it's amazing how much you can see.



Cool, well thanks for informing me guys. I really appreciate it, you may have just saved me some heartache.


Apparently you need to hire a lawyer to review your itinerary every time you go hunting. Maybe I better just memorize the entire fucking new mexico book of statutes before I dare try to go blast a few rabbits.




eta: I know that a lot of the game laws are there for good reason...its just a little disheartening to have to worry about what you might or might not know when out trying to take up this sport on your own. Kind of takes the fun out of it. Probably helps a lot if you grew up in this state and had a father or uncle to teach you growing up.



eta again: This is why I've been starting off just hunting rabbits and coyote out in the middle of nowhere, instead of trying to jump right in to bigger game hunting. Less risk of getting in big trouble doing something stupid just because you didn't know every nuance of the law and how it is applied.
Friiguy  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 1:46:13 PM EST

Originally Posted By SJHunter:
You can use an electronic predator call in NM.

The phrase concerning spotlighting, where livestock or game animals maybe present, pretty much covers the entire state. If you're hunting at night with an artificial light you will be cited if caught. If you shoot from a motorized vehicle or from a road, you will lose your gun, vehicle and hunting rights.

We have called & shot coyotes at night during a full moon with snow on the ground. After a while your eyes adjust and it's amazing how much you can see.

Just to clarify; you can use it on predators only.

I have a fox pro with a shit ton of sounds that I can never use like turkey and ducks.
nmmi9100  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 1:54:45 PM EST
If you want to hunt coyotes/feral pigs/bunnies/etc with spotlights, tracers, night vision, thermal sights, etc....Go to Texas. That's what I do. Lots of landowners will let you hunt predators and feral hogs if you ask.

To the best of my understanding, New Mexico only has daylight hunting...period.

-David
aztec223  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 2:16:36 PM EST
Licenses
Residents ages 12 to 17 who hunt or trap protected furbearers must
buy a Junior Trapper License. Residents age 18 or older who hunt
or trap protected furbearers must buy a Trapper License. Residents
need no license to take unprotected furbearers. See Unprotected
Furbearers below. There is no closed season or bag limit on
unprotected furbearers or unprotected species.
Resident licenses are available from Department of Game and Fish
offices, from license vendors statewide, or by mail using Form 3.
Nonresidents who trap protected or unprotected furbearers in New
Mexico must have a nonresident Trapper license. They also must
permanently mark their traps and snares with the trapper’s name
and address or have a Trapper ID number, which is provided free
by the Department. Nonresidents who hold a nonresident nongame
license or any current New Mexico nonresident hunting license
may use firearms or bows to hunt for or kill coyote, rabbit, prairie
dog or skunk, but may not set traps or snares unless they also
have a nonresident Trapper license. Nonresidents should call any
Department office for licenses.
Bag Limit
There is no bag limit on any furbearer or unprotected species unless
sport harvest exceeds estimated total sustainable harvest in the
furbearer population assessment and harvest management matrix.
Protected Furbearers
Protected furbearers that may be taken during open season are
raccoon, badger, weasel, fox, ringtail, bobcat, muskrat, beaver
and nutria. There are other protected furbearers, but their take is
prohibited. These include, but are not limited to pine marten, river
otter, black-footed ferret, and coatimundi.
Unprotected Furbearers
Unprotected furbearers are coyote and skunk.
Legal Means of Harvest
Furbearers may be taken with dogs, firearms, bows and arrows,
and traps and snares. Calls, including mechanically or electrically
recorded calling devices, are legal in hunting protected furbearers.
Dogs may be used to take protected furbearers only during open
trapping season. There is no “pursuit or training season” outside the
regular open season.
Visible Bait, Trap Flags
It is illegal to place, set or maintain any snare or steel trap within
25 feet of bait that is visible from any angle and that consists of the
flesh, hide, fur, viscera or feathers of any animal. However, a cubby
set is legal when the bait can only be seen from a height of three feet
or less above ground level at a distance of 25 feet from the trap. The
bait must be placed within the natural or man-made cubby but the
trap may be outside. Bones that are entirely free of flesh, hide, fur,
viscera or feathers may be used as visible bait. The restriction on
visible bait does not apply to a trap flag that is suspended above the
ground and is made from materials other than parts of mammals,
birds, fish, reptiles or amphibians.
Seasons
What You Must Know Before You Hunt or Trap
Closed Areas: All of Los Alamos County is closed to all trapping
except the northern quarter and a strip along the west bank of the
Rio Grande, (north of Water Canyon, from the Rio Grande to a
line 1,000 feet below the canyon rim); the Valles Caldera National
Preserve (formerly the Baca Ranch); the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic
River; Orilla Verde and Santa Cruz Lake recreation areas; the Valle
Vidal/Greenwood area; Chihuahuan Desert Rangeland Research
Center; state parks; national parks and monuments; national wildlife
refuges and state wildlife management areas. Ft. Bliss/McGregor
Range only allows furbearer hunting and is closed to trapping
(see Military Reservations page 13). The Gila, Cibola, Lincoln and
Apache Sitgreaves National Forests are all closed to beaver trapping.

Link to Proclamation

Hope this helps
EternalVigilance  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 2:17:47 PM EST
Originally Posted By nmmi9100:
If you want to hunt coyotes/feral pigs/bunnies/etc with spotlights, tracers, night vision, thermal sights, etc....Go to Texas. That's what I do. Lots of landowners will let you hunt predators and feral hogs if you ask.

To the best of my understanding, New Mexico only has daylight hunting...period.

-David



Damnit, why can't there be a state with new mexico's gun laws and texas' hunting laws.


Thanks again guys...


...if I find out any more info about this stuff from someone in a position of authority, I'll come back with an update
EternalVigilance  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 2:28:21 PM EST
I think I am more confused then I was when this thread started.


This is what I have gotten out of this:


1. Hunting at night is not specifically prohibited

2. Using artificial light to hunt at night is prohibited ($100 misdemeanor fine)

3. I'm guessing night vision devices would probably be construed to fall under "artificial light"

4. Non-residents must get a non-game permit

5. Obviously, do not shoot from your vehicle, or the road (common-sense)

6. Still don't know whether you can bait coyotes with freshly blasted rabbits

7. Electronic calls are allowed for coyote (and other predators)
aztec223  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 2:49:13 PM EST
Originally Posted By EternalVigilance:
I think I am more confused then I was when this thread started.


This is what I have gotten out of this:It Is Illegal to:


1. Hunting at night is not specifically prohibited

2. Using artificial light to hunt at night is prohibited ($100 misdemeanor fine)• Shine spotlights or other artificial lights into areas where big game or livestock might be, if persons using the light have in possession any firearm or implement capable of killing big game or livestock.

Criminal Fines for First Offense
• Illegally taking or attempting to take elk, bighorn sheep, oryx, ibex or Barbary sheep; illegally selling big game meat: $1,000;
• Illegally taking or attempting to take deer, pronghorn antelope, javelina, bear, or cougar; exceeding the big game bag limit; falsely purchasing a resident license: $400;
• Hunting with artificial light: $300;
• Attempting to exceed the big game bag limit after having tagged a similar species: $200;
• Hunting without a license, using another person’s license: $100;
• Hunting without a Habitat Stamp or Habitat Management and Access Validation: $50 to $500;
Fines for other offenses can be up to $500 and/or six months in jail, fines for second, third, and subsequent offenses are increased.


3. I'm guessing night vision devices would probably be construed to fall under "artificial light"YES

4. Non-residents must get a non-game permit Unprotected Species Residents are not required to have any license to take unprotected species. Nonresidents may hunt for and take coyotes, skunks and rabbits but first must purchase either a nonresident, nongame license or have any current New Mexico nonresident hunting license.

5. Obviously, do not shoot from your vehicle, or the road (common-sense)

6. Still don't know whether you can bait coyotes with freshly blasted rabbits

7. Electronic calls are allowed for coyote (and other predators)
Use any electrically or mechanically recorded calling device to take or try to take protected species except protected furbearers, cougars and nongame species.
Forfeitures
Sporting arms may be seized and forfeited if they are used in taking,
or attempting to take, or illegally possessing or transporting big
game during closed season, exceeding the bag limit on big game
during open season, or taking or attempting to take big game by
use of spotlight or artificial light. Vehicles and sporting arms used
by anyone charged with spotlighting or hunting with the aid of
artificial light may be confiscated at the scene and are subject to
forfeiture and sale at auction upon conviction.
yipykyah_mf  [Team Member]
6/1/2009 5:31:23 PM EST
Whatever you do, do NOT shoot at night.

My late brother lost his rifle, truck and a shitload of money just for popping a jackrabbit at night Not to mention spending time in the Rio Rathole pokey.

Now, if you own a shiite load o' land out in the middle of nowhere, and you are killing a nuisance predator, things are a little different.
the-gman-1763  [Industry Partner]
6/1/2009 7:29:46 PM EST
I was talking to a game warden a few years ago & I was telling him all about shooting foxes in the UK at night with a spotlight & how you couldn't do that here & he told me that you could. I was like, "What???. I thought that was called jack lighting or spot lighting & was illegal?". Game Warden from NM DOW said quote "you may use a light to hunt coyotes at night on PRIVATE LAND ONLY. Probably a good idea to let us know what you will be doing beforehand but you can do it on private land".

I haven't checked with DOW but that is what the game warden told me so take that for what it is.

Oh, & if you want somewhere with better than TX game laws & more game than NM, it's called England......... & yes, guns can be owned there, just not any really fun ones..... But I do miss 6 MONTH buck season, followed by the 6 MONTH doe season, with no tags, no bag limits, no license & no bull shit DOW or rigged draw system...... Some things are good about the old country, not enough to make me move back there, no FUCKING way!
44Punk  [Team Member]
6/2/2009 12:45:05 AM EST
Eternal, keep us updated on any more info you find. I hunt the heck out of Jacks and coyotes but want to make sure I am within the law. I see people hunting rabbits out of their trucks at night on a weekly basis. Even though it is probably illegal it doesn't seem like it is well enforced.
Friiguy  [Team Member]
6/2/2009 4:28:48 AM EST
I recommend this thread for a sticky. Lots of good info here!
chinga_le  [Member]
6/2/2009 7:36:22 AM EST
I just had a discussion with a buddy of mine about this on Sunday evening. He is a Sgt. with NMDGF.

You CAN hunt at night. You CAN spotlight on private land ONLY. And it IS a good idea to let NMDGF know what you're up to.
Artificial light is just that...anything producing artificial light (including glow sticks).
A full moon is not artificial light.

If you guys are in doubt...just head down to your local NMDGF office and ask. I'm sure you'll find them helpful.
yipykyah_mf  [Team Member]
6/2/2009 2:16:04 PM EST
Originally Posted By chinga_le:
I just had a discussion with a buddy of mine about this on Sunday evening. He is a Sgt. with NMDGF.

You CAN hunt at night. You CAN spotlight on private land ONLY. And it IS a good idea to let NMDGF know what you're up to.
Artificial light is just that...anything producing artificial light (including glow sticks).
A full moon is not artificial light.

If you guys are in doubt...just head down to your local NMDGF office and ask. I'm sure you'll find them helpful.


Spotlight on private land ONLY!!!!!

BLM land+spotlighting=deep kimche

But, I also wonder about night vision being legal.
chinga_le  [Member]
6/3/2009 7:24:52 AM EST
I meant to ask him about night vision, but forgot.
aztec223  [Team Member]
6/6/2009 3:11:58 PM EST
Saw our local Boys in Grey today at the kids day fishing event, the consensus was:
1 Hunt at night for unprotected species OK but expect some questions and scrutiny until they are satisfied that is all you are doing!

2 Night vision for unprotected species OK but same harrassment as above, definitely not for large game.

The thing they all felt was that most people night hunting are there for bigger quarry, and you are just going to have to convince them you are NOT. Unfortunately the area super Kathy McKim was not there, and in the SJ area she is the one you would have to convince!
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