Update on Challenges to New Mexico Antelope Private Lands Use System


Published: January - 2011

Senior Western Correspondent Lance Stapleton has, as promised, updated last month's report on New Mexico, where the A-PLUS (Antelope Private Lands Use System) program was under attack by the New Mexico Wildlife Federation:

"The proposal supported by the Federation was to issue only one free antelope license to enrolled landowners regardless of the size of the ranch, with the balance of the antelope licenses issued through public drawing. Historically, around 70 percent of the permits went to landowners. Furthermore, the second "poisoned arrow" aimed at landowners and nonresidents was that the Federation also proposed to cap the number of permits available to nonresidents in the drawing at no more than 10 percent!

I am happy to report that the Commission rejected the Federation's proposal by a vote of 4-3. The program stays much the same, with a few changes. One change is that the old Antelope Management Units and maps will be eliminated, and instead all game will be managed under the Game Management Units used for other game management. Some ranches may be managed in a different management unit than in the past, and, in some cases, that might have a minor impact on the number of permits issued to a ranch. A more important change is that the permits will now be allocated on only the qualifying antelope habitat acreage on a ranch, as opposed to the entire enrolled acreage of the ranch. The number of private/public permits will be allocated based on the ratio of privately owned acreage versus the public acreage leased by the landowner. Of course, doe:buck ratios, herd population, drought conditions and other factors will continue to impact the number of permits allocated as well. Another change is that the permits will be restricted to the specific ranch; permit holders can no longer be reassigned to a different ranch after the season starts.

"All in all, these are minor changes compared to the Federation's original proposal. I'm concerned by the close vote. But, for now, the program will continue with relatively minor changes, which is good for nonresidents........(continued)

 
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