NMWF on Game Commission

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NMWF on Game Commission

Postby quackadikt » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:43 am

http://www.abqjournal.com/368149/opinio ... ement.html

There has been a lot of reaction to the alleged illegal cougar hunt that forced State Game Commission Chairman Scott Bidegain to resign last month.

Some want to prohibit all hunting. Others see it as a symptom of wildlife mismanagement in New Mexico.

But for the thousands of law-abiding, conservation-minded sportsmen and women of New Mexico – the ones who foot the bill for wildlife management and the day-to-day operations of the Department of Game and Fish – this incident demonstrates the need for a careful, extensive reform of our State Game Commission system.

Sportsmen have always been at the forefront of protecting our wildlife and outdoor way of life. A century ago they established Game Protective Associations, which lobbied for stronger laws to protect our remaining fish and wildlife and worked to re-establish elk, antelope, bighorn sheep, wild turkeys and other game species. (The New Mexico Game Protective Association evolved into today’s New Mexico Wildlife Federation.)

Sportsmen then turned their attention to wildlife management, convincing the Legislature to create a State Game Commission to buffer Game and Fish against political interference and set the stage for professional wildlife management.

Today the governor appoints all seven members of the State Game Commission. These appointments, sadly, have become a political plum that often appears tied to campaign contributions. Five of Gov. Bill Richardson’s appointees and their families, for example, together donated $150,000.

State law says five of the seven seats represent geographic areas. The remaining two are “at-large” seats to represent agriculture and conservation. But governors often appoint one person to cover two bases simultaneously. Bidegain, for example, was supposed to represent northeastern New Mexico hunters and anglers as well as the New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association — two constituencies often at odds with each other.

Governors occasionally remove commissioners without explanation or regard to continuity, term length or qualification. Today, four of the six remaining commissioners’ terms have expired and they have not been reappointed; three have not been confirmed by the Senate.

Our current Game Commission system is not beyond repair. Here are ways to get the politics out of wildlife management and rebuild public trust:
•Give the governor five seats to appoint from geographical areas of the state, ensuring that each commissioner has a single constituency — the license-buying sportsmen and women of that region;
•Give the Legislature two at-large seats to fill, one with a background in agriculture and another in wildlife and habitat protection issues, ensuring that those important constituencies both have a seat at the table;
•Prohibit removal of a commissioner without cause, allowing commissioners to vote for wildlife’s and the public’s best interests rather than according to political pressure;
•Limit commissioners to two four-year terms, and ensure that no more than two commissioners’ terms expire in the same year, preventing a governor from replacing most or even all of the commissioners at one time;
•Prohibit commissioners from receiving hunts, fishing trips or other favors from special interests.

The incident involving Bidegain is, at its heart, an example of unethical and illegal behavior that does not meet the standards of any true hunter. That our Game Commission chairman did not know the law or ignored it is appalling; apparently common sense is not a requirement to get that appointment.

But rebuilding trust in our wildlife management system goes far beyond this one individual and incident. This is not a time for knee-jerk reaction.

Hunting and fishing are core traditional and cultural values in New Mexico. Our wildlife are held in the public trust for all to enjoy. Our State Game commissioners must hold themselves to the highest standard.

The sportsmen and women of New Mexico are eager to get on with the work. The question now is whether Gov. Susana Martinez and our Legislature will lead the charge.
"A man may not care for golf and still be human, but the man who does not like to see, hunt, photograph or otherwise outwit birds or animals is hardly normal. He is supercivilized, and I for one do not know how to deal with him." Aldo Leopold
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Re: NMWF on Game Commission

Postby quackadikt » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:45 am

Thoughts?

Personally, I don't think that these should be appointed seats at all...especially not by the governor. If you want to get politics out of the GC, make them elected seats, and make the regions elect their own rep. Give them one, MAYBE 2 terms on the GC and that's it.
"A man may not care for golf and still be human, but the man who does not like to see, hunt, photograph or otherwise outwit birds or animals is hardly normal. He is supercivilized, and I for one do not know how to deal with him." Aldo Leopold
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Re: NMWF on Game Commission

Postby jayclarkie » Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:57 am

quackadikt wrote:Thoughts?

If you want to get politics out of the GC, make them elected seats, and make the regions elect their own rep.


qa, that makes way too much sense for this state to ever even consider. around these parts, it's all about who you know, and how deep your wallet is. all we can do is keep our fingers crossed that senora martinez at least has the good sense to appoint someone who gives two sh**s about hunting and has a shred of knowledge about it.
Sorry folks, park's closed...
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Re: NMWF on Game Commission

Postby quackadikt » Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:46 am

That's how is it back where I'm from too(kind of). The General Assembly sets game laws as they see fit, DNR doesn't really even get a say so.
"A man may not care for golf and still be human, but the man who does not like to see, hunt, photograph or otherwise outwit birds or animals is hardly normal. He is supercivilized, and I for one do not know how to deal with him." Aldo Leopold
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Re: NMWF on Game Commission

Postby jrabq » Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:38 pm

quackadikt wrote:Thoughts?

If you want to get politics out of the GC, make them elected seats, and make the regions elect their own rep.


So you want the people in Santa Fe (or for that matter even Albuquerque) voting to put members on the Game Commission?

We are a minority. There can be lots of problems living in a pure democracy when you are in a minority. The current system is certainly not perfect, but be careful what you wish for.
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Re: NMWF on Game Commission

Postby quackadikt » Fri Mar 14, 2014 9:56 pm

I just want to hear everyone's opinion. That's why I posted this. That's the tough thing about having 1 big city, 2 cities, and lots of little communities in this state.

There's got to be a better way than having the governor appointing people to make game laws.

I still think that there's no point in a GC...just let biologists do their jobs.

How do you think it should be run JR?
"A man may not care for golf and still be human, but the man who does not like to see, hunt, photograph or otherwise outwit birds or animals is hardly normal. He is supercivilized, and I for one do not know how to deal with him." Aldo Leopold
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Re: NMWF on Game Commission

Postby Blackfoot Inc » Sat Mar 15, 2014 5:38 am

jrabq wrote:
quackadikt wrote:Thoughts?

If you want to get politics out of the GC, make them elected seats, and make the regions elect their own rep.


So you want the people in Santa Fe (or for that matter even Albuquerque) voting to put members on the Game Commission?

We are a minority. There can be lots of problems living in a pure democracy when you are in a minority. The current system is certainly not perfect, but be careful what you wish for.



Finally, someone with some common sense!

jrabq, understands you DON'T want "Betty Bunny Hugger" voting on your hunting rights.

VOTE!!! :fingerpt: :fingerpt: :fingerpt:

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Re: NMWF on Game Commission

Postby Blackfoot Inc » Sat Mar 15, 2014 7:17 am

However, I will agree that appointed commissioners is not working.

Idea...maybe promote from within, minimum of 15 years served in our NMG&F should qualify an officer for consideration for commissioner?
Then voted on from within the Dept.

Ex director of wildlife Jim Lane was a transplant from Kentucky with only a forestry degree that made him the only director of wildlife in the nation without any wildlife degree at all. Jim, lost respect of field officers and staff which lead to his resignation.

Scott Bidegain (ex commissioner) did our deer population a favor IMO, Although Illegal!!!

Promote from within eliminate the politics, keep people around with a vested interest in our states wildlife.

Let Biologist do they're job...Ever hear of Tim Mitchison??? He's the reason we're limited on dark geese in the MRGCD, bad idea!
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Re: NMWF on Game Commission

Postby jayclarkie » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:14 am

You've got to have a contingent representing civilians though too...can't be all g/f folks or the pendulum just swings to the other extreme...maybe a ballot for only those holding hunting/fishing licenses to vote on...who knows...I sure as hell don't.
Sorry folks, park's closed...
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Re: NMWF on Game Commission

Postby quackadikt » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:34 am

Blackfoot Inc wrote:However, I will agree that appointed commissioners is not working.

Idea...maybe promote from within, minimum of 15 years served in our NMG&F should qualify an officer for consideration for commissioner?
Then voted on from within the Dept.

Ex director of wildlife Jim Lane was a transplant from Kentucky with only a forestry degree that made him the only director of wildlife in the nation without any wildlife degree at all. Jim, lost respect of field officers and staff which lead to his resignation.

Scott Bidegain (ex commissioner) did our deer population a favor IMO, Although Illegal!!!

Promote from within eliminate the politics, keep people around with a vested interest in our states wildlife.

Let Biologist do they're job...Ever hear of Tim Mitchison??? He's the reason we're limited on dark geese in the MRGCD, bad idea!


Glad to see we can agree on something.

And Jay is right. There has to be some representation of Joe Blow the Hunter.
"A man may not care for golf and still be human, but the man who does not like to see, hunt, photograph or otherwise outwit birds or animals is hardly normal. He is supercivilized, and I for one do not know how to deal with him." Aldo Leopold
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Re: NMWF on Game Commission

Postby Blackfoot Inc » Sat Mar 15, 2014 11:47 am

Too many small special interest groups (DU, Delta, Elk, Trout, Turkey this) that separately don't have a large enough voice to impact voting, collectively these groups would however have an impact politically. It's all about votes!!!

I believe they'll find Malaysia flight MH 370 long before anyone could begin to get these groups to even talk to each other. You see it's about $$$$ to them and somebody's paycheck. NRA is a "Must" join, they understand how to lobby as well as have numbers to back them.

Maybe Ted Nugent would be willing to Lobby NM...just joking!!
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Re: NMWF on Game Commission

Postby quackadikt » Sat Mar 15, 2014 12:00 pm

Funny you mention conservation orgs...I was thinking that it would be good if there was a state rep from each of those orgs on the GC. That way, there would at least be some kind of voice for all the different groups. I'm not sure that would be the answer either, but just throwing out ideas.
"A man may not care for golf and still be human, but the man who does not like to see, hunt, photograph or otherwise outwit birds or animals is hardly normal. He is supercivilized, and I for one do not know how to deal with him." Aldo Leopold
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Re: NMWF on Game Commission

Postby Dingbatter 2 » Sat Mar 15, 2014 6:43 pm

In NC we split the appintments up between the Governor, Speaker of the House and Senate. We are split into Districts (Regions?) and each District has a Commissioner and the rest are at large. No special interests or groups are represented. At one time the District Commissioners ran for the seat but they eliminated that mainly because we got some real bozos. Besides, some big anti-hunting group could get someone to run and pump in a bunch of cash to get them elected. It's not a perfect system but it works fairly well. Having one politician appoint the entire Commission smacks of corruption from the get go.
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Re: NMWF on Game Commission

Postby Blackfoot Inc » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:06 pm

Is your Game Dept budget managed under the general fund ?
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Re: NMWF on Game Commission

Postby Dingbatter 2 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:31 am

No, we are basically self supporting with license sales and PR matching funds. We get very little money from the General Fund. We do have a very nice endowment fund that is based on the sale of lifetime licenses and donations.


http://www.ncwildlife.org/GiveDonate/Wi ... tFund.aspx
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