Wildlife Conservation and Hunting Laws
Unlike oil, coal, or other non-renewable resources, wildlife is considered a renewable resource - meaning that it is a resource which can restock itself as long as it is not completely depleted.
The short and simple definition of conservation is "using natural resources wisely". Hunters are a very important group in establishing and driving wildlife conservation throughout North America. Regulated sport hunting does not endanger wildlife. In fact, hunting regulations were created in the late 1800's after many hunters realized that wildlife was threatened by commercial hunting practices. Due to their persistence in establishing and respecting hunting laws, no North American game animal has ever become extinct because of regulated hunting.
There are many reasons why hunting laws exist today. Hunting is a privilege, not a right; and that privilege can be revoked if a hunter does not adhere to hunting laws. The following are the four key reasons for the existence of hunting laws.
Protection of others
This is the most obvious reason for hunting laws, and the effectiveness of these laws has lead to hunting becoming one of the safest outdoor sports. As an example of a law designed for the protection of others, most hunters today are required by law to take a hunter education course before they can legally hunt. Through hunter education, we learn how to become safer hunters, and how to minimize the chances of hunting incidents.
Protection of wildlife
Laws and regulations that restrict hunting seasons, for example, protect wildlife by ensuring that no animal can be hunted during a time that would be detrimental to the wildlife population. Remember, wildlife belongs to everyone, not just hunters.
U.S. laws were created to require the use of steel, or non-toxic, shot when waterfowl hunting to also protect game and non-game species.
A harvest is never 'guaranteed' - there is always a chance that the game will get away. There are many laws that restrict how a game animal may be harvested, which help maintain the integrity of the sport and helps ensure fair chase.
Regulations such as bag limits, and different seasons for the types of firearms used, ensure that every hunter will have a chance to harvest wildlife.
How can I find hunting laws for New Mexico? Pick up a copy of the current Rules and Information Booklet at any Department Office or license vendor or visit the web page at www.wildlife.state.nm.us