SANTA FE – Trophy poachers who kill bighorn sheep, ibex, oryx, Barbary sheep, elk, deer or
pronghorn antelope without a license or out of season just for the head or horns face increased
fines and jail times if convicted.
Gov. Susana Martinez has signed legislation that elevates the crime of wasting game from a
misdemeanor to a felony, which upon conviction carries a maximum prison sentence of 18
months and a fine of $5,000. Convicted felons also no longer would be able to hunt with a
firearm. As a felony, the statute of limitations on wasted game cases increases from two to five
years. Out-of-state suspects in such cases also could face extradition under the new law.
“Over the last five years, I have worked closely with the department on this important
legislation,” said Representative Alonzo Baldonado. “Our state’s conservation officers now have
the added strength of this law to better protect New Mexico’s valuable wildlife resource for all
citizens of New Mexico.”
The department also recognizes the invaluable support of Gov. Martinez, the State Game
Commission and the many organizations and individuals that helped strengthen the state
“We are pleased this bill was signed into law,” said commission chairman, Paul Kienzle.
“Conserving New Mexico’s wildlife is our top priority and with these enhanced penalties our
game wardens will have the tools needed to provide a greater level of protection.”
Game wardens with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish investigate up to 100 trophy
poaching cases a year in which only the head or horns are removed and the rest the animal is
left to rot. Hunters are required by law to utilize edible portions meat from harvested game
For more information, please visit the department’s website, www.wildlife.state.nm.us. To report
a poaching incident or other wildlife crime, please call the Department of Game and Fish tollfree
Operation Game Thief hotline, 1-800-432-4263. Callers may remain anonymous and may
be eligible for rewards if charges are filed.