NMDGF Bear and Cougar Management Changes

We do hope that you’re keeping up with the happenings and providing comments where needed. This is an update you should’ve received if you commented on the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s bear and cougar rule-making notice.

Thank you for providing comment on New Mexico Department of Game and Fish rulemaking.

You are receiving this email because you participated in a rulemaking process by the New Mexico State Game Commission and the Department of Game and Fish. The State Rules Act requires the Department to provide those who participated in the rulemaking process with the final adopted rules and concise explanatory statements.

Please see the documents here:

3 19.31.11 Bear and Cougar effective Apr 2024.pdf (clicking this link will take you away from the Four Corners SCI website.)

In summation:

“The rule-making was undertaken to adopt a new Bear and Cougar Rule, 19.31.11 NMAC, which will become effective April 1, 2024. The current Bear and Cougar Rule will expired on March 31, 2024.

The new rule will include:

Statewide Changes

Allow licensed deer or elk hunters who draw WMA hunts to harvest a bear or cougar during their hunt if the zone is open and they possess a Bear and/or Cougar license.


  1. Increase bear harvest limits based on population estimates from new NMDGF research from 2019-2021 ni BMZs 1and 10;
  2. Adjust BMZs 5, 6, and 7such that GMU 57 is moved from BMZ 7into BMZ 5, and GMUs 56 and 58 is moved from BMZ 7 into BMZ 6, thus dissolving BMZ 7 into those zones. Harvest limit allocations from those GMUs in previous BM 7are re-allocated to the new BMZs of which they are a part;
  3. Increase number of permits for bear draw permit BER-1-104 from 32 permits to 60 permits to increase opportunity. Draw hunters are still subject to the existing harvest limit structure;
  4. Increase number of permits for bear draw permit BER-1-103 from 5 to 10 permits, in recognition of the
    Department’s acquisition of the LBar property. Draw hunters are subject to the existing harvest limits;
  5. Move the season start date for BMs 12 and 13 from September 1st back to August 16th.


Adjust harvest limits for CMZ Q based on research studies and statistical modelling efforts.

There have been no changes between the published proposed rule and the final rule. A wide variety of public comments were submitted. It was not possible to incorporate all of the comments into the final rule as many of the comments were mutually exclusive. To view public comments, please visit www.wildlife.state.nm.us/commission/meeting-agendas/ (clicking this link will take you away from the Four Corners SCI website) and click on the Hearing Archive tab. The resulting rule was based on what was best for the resource and overall hunter satisfaction.”

Categories: Wildlife Conservation

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