Our Campaign to Ban Public Lands Trapping in New Mexico


Trapped Coyote in Leghold Trap


A 2005 poll conducted by Research and Polling, Inc. found that 63% of New Mexican voters regardless of party affiliation support a ban on leg-hold, snare and lethal traps on public lands. In short, most voters want to see traps banned because they are cruel devices.

Since 2010, at least five New Mexico governmental bodies have adopted resolutions opposing trapping on public lands of New Mexico.

Arizona, Colorado, California, and Washington have already banned public lands trapping.

Nearly 800,000 people who recreate in New Mexico identify themselves as wildlife watchers.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife watchers spend $297 million annually in New Mexico. In a 2004 study, NMDGF estimates trapping netted the state economy only $671,000 that year. 

The number of fur trappers in New Mexico is approximately 2,000, less than 0.01% of the states total population. Paying only $20 for a resident license, trappers can profit from exploiting the public's wildlife.

In the summer of 2011, New Mexicans generated over 12,000 comments to the Department of Game and Fish and that requested a trap ban on public lands. Yet, the New Mexico Game Commission ignored this appeal. On July 21 it expanded trapping across New Mexico, and even lifted the trapping closure in the range of the Mexican wolf. 

Other problems:

  • Since 2002, 15 Mexican wolves have been caught in non-governmental traps.  Two died. Five more sustained injuries, while three required amputation surgeries (two wolves had entire limbs removed). In the wild, lobos number less than 60 individuals; yet, over 20% of that number have been trapped.
  • Traps can be placed as close as 25 yards from any trail with no warnings in New Mexico.  As a result, many people and pets have had negative injurious encounters. Dogs have lost limbs from trap injuries.  People have been injured while helping their dogs.