Changes in NM State Land Access and Use

Rzrbk

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Dispersed and roadside camping on State lands will be a great improvement. Currently you have to hike out at the end of the day and go to a designated campground that can be 20 miles or more. I wonder if this does away with the 14 day prior to season scouting limit? If you can backpack and roadside camp then it seems you could scout while doing it.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JAN 26, 2021:​

State Game Commission expands agreement with State Land Office

SANTA FE – At the Jan. 15, 2021, State Game Commission Meeting, a unanimous vote finalized a four-year agreement between the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the New Mexico State Land Office. The easement will allow hunters, anglers and trappers to access state trust lands in exchange for an annual payment of $800,000 and $200,000 of habitat improvement projects on state trust land.
“This is a wonderful agreement that increases opportunities for hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists,” said State Game Commission chairwoman Sharon Salazar Hickey. “The Department of Game and Fish and the State Land Office worked together, to find balance for the benefit of all New Mexicans.”
The Department of Game and Fish and the State Land Office agreed to the success of a 2020 pilot programs for backpacking and dispersed and roadside camping. With the new agreement these pilot programs have become permanent additions.
Additional changes include:​
  • Expanding the easement from a one-year agreement to a four-year agreement.
  • Representatives from the Department of Game and Fish and the State Land Office will meet within 30 days of the execution of this agreement to discuss additions, deletions and other changes to the access points. Access points will be finalized by May 15 of each year.
  • The Department shall provide the State Land Office with a dedicated after-hours point of contact for law enforcement-related calls and complaints, including but not limited to reports of violations, locked gates or other access problems and resource damage (such as unlawfully cut fences or unauthorized road construction).
  • Expanded camping opportunities.
During the State Game Commission meeting, Commissioner of Public Lands Stephanie Garcia Richard said this is a great day for sportspeople across the state of New Mexico because we have a great agreement between our two agencies to provide access throughout the state for hunting seasons on state trust land.
State Game Commission vice-chairman Jeremy Vesbach summed up the agreement, “One of the values we share with the State Land Office is the ability to get our families in this state outside. This pandemic has shown us just how important outdoor recreation and the tie we have to the land is.”
Since March 2020, the Department and the State Land Office partnered on $200,000 worth of projects to fulfill the indirect project spending portion of the easement. Those successes include completed projects and some that are currently in progress, including:​
  • sheep net-wire fence modification to wildlife friendly design in SE New Mexico,
  • Canadian River native riparian vegetation establishment project in Harding and Mora counties where several thousand willows and hundreds of cottonwood poles will be planted along two to three miles of stream bank,
  • improvements to Luera Mountains Access Road in Catron County,
  • new Turkey Ridge campsite and fencing on Chupadera Mesa in Socorro County,
  • sixty-seven new sportsperson access points including signage and gate installation (20 vehicle access, 47 walk-in access),
  • and two new pilot programs for licensed New Mexico hunters that created the previously mentioned dispersed and backpack camping opportunities.
###​

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Labman

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I’ve always wondered about the rules in this state land stuff. So, do you have to be back at your truck by 30min after sunset or can you be hunting on state land X miles from your rig and arrive back at your truck hours after dark? The dispersed camping thing sounds great and it is for the 15 people in 16E that get permits, and unit 48. But what about the other units in the state ??! Why the over reach? You can lay down and take a nap in the middle of the day on state land but you can’t do it when it is dark? Stupid. Maybe a good start but why the tiny baby step and the need for a damn permit? Open it up.
 

Rzrbk

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I hunted units 57 and 58 last year where all open public lands are State owned, except for some Kiowa grasslands in 58. It seemed crazy that I had to drive to unit 56 for the nearest designated campground on State lands. The camping sites at Sugarite Canyon and Capulin were closed for carona. Hotels in Raton and Clayton were inconvenient. Couldn't I just sleep in my truck, what would it hurt to pitch a tent? What if I shot an animal and it took me till midnight to get it out??? There are county maintained roads running along most State lands....., could I sleep in my vehicle on the side of the road??? I didn't trust wardens to be reasonable and so didn't take the chance.

I'm still a little unclear on exactly what these changes will mean in reality. Hopefully these changes clarify things and improves the situation for hunters.
 

Labman

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I hunted units 57 and 58 last year where all open public lands are State owned, except for some Kiowa grasslands in 58. It seemed crazy that I had to drive to unit 56 for the nearest designated campground on State lands. The camping sites at Sugarite Canyon and Capulin were closed for carona. Hotels in Raton and Clayton were inconvenient. Couldn't I just sleep in my truck, what would it hurt to pitch a tent? What if I shot an animal and it took me till midnight to get it out??? There are county maintained roads running along most State lands....., could I sleep in my vehicle on the side of the road??? I didn't trust wardens to be reasonable and so didn't take the chance.

I'm still a little unclear on exactly what these changes will mean in reality. Hopefully these changes clarify things and improves the situation for hunters.
Exactly. What if you lost your keys and couldn’t move your truck and it had a slide in camper in the back or a sleeping bag in the bed 😉. The position of the sun in the sky shouldn’t make a damn bit of difference.
 

ImBillT

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Where are the new proposed rules for camping? One of my deer units required that I either camped out of the unit or hiked two miles through state land to reach BLM that had no roads to it.
 

hank4elk

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Might find the changes underwhelming,if we can find any.IMHO.
I think it might apply to a few places in a few units,specific places.
But do not expect to camp on state lands anywhere you want,anytime soon. Ranchers in my home unit would be up in arms if there were big changes coming. It is their land after all,don't ya know.....LOL
 

hank4elk

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Just checked the new interactive info map on the State Lands / NMG&F new agreement,via NMG&F website.
Camping is in specific spots in specific units,like I thought.
There are changes in vehicle access,maybe. I'm going to talk to local LEO & G&F to see if they think there are any major changes.
 

Labman

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Can someone correct me if I am wrong on this...say you shoot an elk on state ground right at dark during the archery season. You get to pick between violating the state land access rules and breaking it down after sunset or risking having it spoil (wanton waste).
 

hank4elk

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Can someone correct me if I am wrong on this...say you shoot an elk on state ground right at dark during the archery season. You get to pick between violating the state land access rules and breaking it down after sunset or risking having it spoil (wanton waste).
No.
You just can't set up a camp and wait for daylight....or camp.
You can drive & hike on these lands where allowed, to access/hunt,at night so....I've hiked in & out in the dark a bunch,legally.
Could get the old "This is private" from a rancher or local tho. And there is the private public road issues that seem to be a NM way of life.
 

Labman

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I guess I was reading too much into the "Hunt for big game or take protected furbearers during open hours and seasons" bullet point in the regs. Good info, thanks for clarifying.

They trust us to run around with guns but that sleeping bag, that's just too much...
 

ImBillT

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I packed a deer out ALL NIGHT. I Rarely get back to the truck less than two hours after shooting light.
 

Rzrbk

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The news announcement says there will be expanded camping opportunities, and also says there will be pilot programs for backpacking and dispersed and roadside camping. So, I'm assuming there will be some sort of increase over past years. It's unclear if the pilot program is a limited geographic area or widespread. Somewhere I thought it said "for licensed hunters", so maybe the 14 day access still applies? Then again, it refers to covid and the need for families to get out and enjoy these lands...., thus assuming access year-round. It's confusing but sounds like it moves the bar in a good direction. Hopefully they clarify this before season.
I would never camp on plots containing a farmhouse and working farm. Seems about 80% or more of the State lands did not have human habitation and just had wandering cows. Problems would arise if hunters abused camping access and camped near homes where ranchers are already perturbed.
 

silasd

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New Mexico
I hunted units 57 and 58 last year where all open public lands are State owned, except for some Kiowa grasslands in 58. It seemed crazy that I had to drive to unit 56 for the nearest designated campground on State lands. The camping sites at Sugarite Canyon and Capulin were closed for carona. Hotels in Raton and Clayton were inconvenient. Couldn't I just sleep in my truck, what would it hurt to pitch a tent? What if I shot an animal and it took me till midnight to get it out??? There are county maintained roads running along most State lands....., could I sleep in my vehicle on the side of the road??? I didn't trust wardens to be reasonable and so didn't take the chance.

I'm still a little unclear on exactly what these changes will mean in reality. Hopefully these changes clarify things and improves the situation for hunters.
I'm with you. Not quite sure how this will be rolled out and what it really means.
 

poobah_1

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So this might be a silly questions, but how will this impact dispersed camping in the Federal Grassland areas? It has been my impression that if you possessed an antelope tag in Unit 59, for example, you could pack in and set up camp basically anywhere on the Kiowa National Grasslands and hunt to fill your tag without having to pack out every day. Am I wrong in this? Will this new setup effect the federal side of things?
 

TLowell02

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Sedan, NM
So this might be a silly questions, but how will this impact dispersed camping in the Federal Grassland areas? It has been my impression that if you possessed an antelope tag in Unit 59, for example, you could pack in and set up camp basically anywhere on the Kiowa National Grasslands and hunt to fill your tag without having to pack out every day. Am I wrong in this? Will this new setup effect the federal side of things?
Won't affect the Grasslands or Federal land at all. I wouldn't say there's really any place on the Kiowa that one would need to pack in.
 

poobah_1

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I have not hunted 59 before. So am don't really know about the Kiowa or its access. It seems there are plenty of places one could just drive into the Kiowa and set up a campsite, then use it as a campground to hunt the adjacent or nearby state lands (or the Kiowa itself). I was unclear on a previous post that stated one had to go to unit 56 to camp if one was hunting 58 or 59. That was my confusion. Of course, there might not be much game there. As I mentioned, I am not familiar with that area.
 

silasd

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I have not hunted 59 before. So am don't really know about the Kiowa or its access. It seems there are plenty of places one could just drive into the Kiowa and set up a campsite, then use it as a campground to hunt the adjacent or nearby state lands (or the Kiowa itself). I was unclear on a previous post that stated one had to go to unit 56 to camp if one was hunting 58 or 59. That was my confusion. Of course, there might not be much game there. As I mentioned, I am not familiar with that area.
I'm not familiar with it either. If I draw one like that, I'm going to have to study the rule pretty closely.
 
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