White Sands Back On Schedule


Published: December - 2003

You may recall that after 9/11 a number of military bases with hunting programs either temporarily closed hunting on their lands or severely curtailed it. Among those was the White Sands Missile Range in Las Cruces, New Mexico. This is, of course, the only place in North America where hunters can pursue free-ranging oryx, also known as gemsbok. You'll remember that White Sands officials, due to a continuing terrorist threat, had cut the oryx hunts from two days to one. And hunters had to be escorted (not guided) by either base or fish and game personnel.

The good news in 2004 is that White Sands will be going back to its normal hunting program, giving hunters a full weekend to hunt. They will also be on their own - without an escort. As always, all hunts on the missile range are self-guided affairs. Additionally, White Sands will allow archery hunts again in 2004. Last year, they eliminated this hunt option because they did not want bowhunters losing a wounded animal that they could not follow up the next day.

Although White Sands Missile Range may have relaxed their hunting program, they are still in a heightened security mode and have gotten very strict about allowing cameras and alcohol on the base. Both are forbidden, and violators will not be allowed to hunt - no second chances and no license fee refunds.

Another change this year regards the Oryx Population Reduction Hunts offered by the New Mexico Game and Fish Department on public lands outside White Sands, or on private lands by permission. Previously, hunters who drew a permit for this hunt were allowed to conduct their hunt at any time of the year, but in 2004, hunters must choose a specific month in which they wish to hunt when they submit their hunt application. New Mexico Game and Fish officials tell us they decided to structure the hunt this way due to the number of complaints they received from landowners who were bombarded by requests from hunters wanting to access their properties during........(continued)

 
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