Elk Kill Permits Suspended
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has suspended the use of "kill permits" for dealing with elk depredation on private land. The action was taken at the recommendation of Gov. Bill Richardson.

"The use of these permits has encouraged the wanton waste of the state's wildlife resources and resulted in the killing of elk for no cause," Gov. Richardson said. "As a New Mexican sportsman and conservationist, I simply cannot accept this as a state-sponsored solution to our depredation problems."

Dr. Bruce Thompson, Director of the Department, notified the first of nine ranches currently holding kill permits of the suspension through a hand-delivered letter Friday. His letter to Mr. Joe O. Garcia explained that landowners requesting these actions would be required to prove their financial losses to elk damage exceed the income they generate from the animals. Four permits expire Monday, June 30, bringing the total permits suspended to five.

Many ranches throughout New Mexico receive income from elk by participating in the Landowner Sign-up System. The system grants landowners authorizations to buy hunting licenses for elk and the landowners are allowed to sell, trade or barter access to their private lands to individual hunters or outfitters. Some authorizations sell for $3,500.

While continued killing of elk under the withdrawn permits will not be allowed, the Department is statutorily authorized to provide landowners with other interventions that will address landowner depredation concerns, Dr. Thompson's letter said.
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