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Big Game Tag Allocation

Big Game Tag Allocation:

Overview & Background:


New Mexico, like most western states, issues big game license through a public draw process subject to a quota system which determines the number of resident and non-resident licenses issued. Per state law, New Mexico’s quota distributes hunting licenses as follows: a minimum of 84% of all licenses for each hunt and species are reserved for New Mexico residents, 10% of licenses are allocated to residents or non-residents who apply while under contract with an outfitter, and the remaining 6% of licenses are allocated for non-residents who apply and are not under contract with an outfitter.


License allocations between residents and non-residents is often a subject of contentious debate. This issue if further compounded by the preference that is given to outfitters and the set-aside allocation of tags that is distributed to private landowners under the EPLUS Program.


The fact of the matter is that a large majority of revenue collected by NMDGF comes from the sale of non-resident big game tags NMDGF. Like many fish and game agencies throughout the west, NWDGF does not receive general funding from the state legislature or any taxpayer dollars rather the agency is funded through the fees collected from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses and is further compensated by federal funding from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Fund and the Sportfish Restoration Act. Consequently, state agencies are forced to consider license allocation as a function of the agency budget to ensure they have sufficient revenue to conduct the duties of the agency and the necessary resources to dedicate to fish and wildlife management.


DSC New Mexico Position:


DSC New Mexico understands this reality and is of the opinion that the current license allocation is an appropriate balance between the interests of residents and non-residents as well as outfitters.  As such, we remain supportive of the current license allocation structure. We have an eye toward protecting the resource first, and that takes financial solvency.

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