AR-News(US-NM) Rancher Considers State's Elk Solution
wolfcrest at hotmail.com
Sat Jun 21 01:51:52 EDT 2003
Rancher Considers State's Elk Solution
By WES SMALLING | The New Mexican
"If the Game Department doesn't work something out with Mr. Garcia, we'll
keep it up all summer (shooting elk)."
DAVID SANCHEZ OF HERNANDEZ
regarding written proposal
by the Department of Game and Fish - Kathy De La Torre | The New Mexican
A Rio Arriba County landowner whose ranch manager shot nearly 20 elk in May
for eating grass on his property is close to negotiating a deal with the
state that could avert future elk slaughters.
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish northwest area chief, Luke
Shelby, on Thursday mailed a written proposal to the landowner, Joe Garcia
Jr., who already has a second "kill permit" in hand.
The agency offered to provide an elk-proof fence around the 997-acre ranch
near Brazos, plus pay the owner $5,000 for allowing elk to graze on his land
over the next two years.
Garcia's ranch manager, David Sanchez of Hernandez, said Wednesday that he
planned to start shooting more elk next week, but the plan is on hold while
Garcia considers the department's offer.
"I wanted the department to put it in writing and I still have some people
to consult about it," Garcia said Thursday.
A state law commonly referred to as the Jennings Law, after its author,
state Sen. Tim Jennings, D-Roswell, allows landowners to ask the department
for a permit to shoot elk that are damaging their properties.
Before issuing a kill permit, the department must offer at least three
remedies that might solve the problem, such as fencing or noisemakers. But
if the landowner rejects the offers, the law requires the department to
honor the request for a kill permit.
Prior to this spring's elk slayings, Garcia had rejected offers of fencing,
noisemakers, flagging and other remedies, Shelby said.
The law doesn't allow the landowner and his employees to use the meat, so
most of the carcasses went to waste. A game warden was able to retrieve a
few of the dead elk before they rotted and that meat was sold, Shelby said.
Sanchez said the hay crop on the Chavez Creek Ranch is worth about $200,000
per year, but the elk, which are managed in trust by the state, were eating
it up before it could be harvested.
The ranch had received elk-hunting permits worth several thousand dollars to
help offset losses, but this year the state cut back on hunting permits.
After the elk shootings were reported in The New Mexican and elsewhere,
State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons removed Sanchez from the State Land Office
Agricultural Advisory Board and Gov. Bill Richardson gave Sanchez the boot
from the State Livestock Board.
"Lyons had fun kicking me off a board I was supposedly on and the governor
was pressured to do the same," Sanchez said this week. "Everybody had fun
with it. But here we are with the same problems and no resolution.
"This is Round 2. If the Game Department doesn't work something out with Mr.
Garcia, we'll keep it up all summer (shooting elk)."
Oscar Simpson, president of the New Mexico chapter of the National Wildlife
Federation, has condemned the killings and said ranchers are using the
Jennings Law to extort money from the state in the form of forage leases and
valuable elk-hunting permits.
Simpson also said he believes elk are forced to search for forage on private
lands because the state's public lands have been too heavily grazed by
Fencing the Chavez Creek Ranch would cost $128,000, Shelby said, plus
unknown amounts for surveying, gates, maintenance and other expenses.
The money would come from hunting fees earmarked for the Big Game
Depredation Damage Fund, established by the state Legislature in 2001.
New Mexico residents pay an extra $3 fee for every big-game license they
buy; non-resident hunters pay $10.
Since the depredation fund was started, the state has completed five fences
and is about to finish two more within the next couple weeks.
This year, the department is spending $370,000 on fencing, said depredation
coordinator Brandon Griffith.
Forage leases are capped at $2,500 per year for a maximum of two years. The
cap was put in place by the State Game Commission in 2001 after the
department negotiated a lease with Sanchez for $52,000 over two years on his
own property near Chama. The department also plans to build a fence for
Sanchez around his alfalfa pasture this year, Griffith said.
Posted: Friday, June 20, 2003
by: Bobby Garcia
I second Mr. Wilson's comments. All of these ranchers want the "government
off their back" while they always have the biggest hand out in the welfare
line. Everything they do is subsidized; all so they can continue to pursue
an antiquated dream of being a "cowboy". News flash guys, our beef, for the
most part, is raised in stock pens that are basically cow factories. Hardly
anybody is buying your two cows that take 300 acres to graze on. Find a real
job and stop using my tax dollars to play dress up cowboy.
Posted: Friday, June 20, 2003
by: Peter Wilson
This is the crookedest sounding deal I've heard in a long time. Mr Sanchez
has been taking advantage of New Mexicans, killing our elk, and manupulating
his influence to get a sweetheart forage deal.
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