New Mexico Upgrades Certain Wildlife and Hunting Charges to Felony Status

Click here for all New Mexico Hunting and Fishing Regulations

Click here for all New Mexico Hunting and Fishing Regulations

Following states like Colorado, New Mexico has made waste of game a felony offense for big game.  Hunters convicted of waste of game in New Mexico now face having a felony record, prison time, and stiff fines.

The waste of game statute in New Mexico states, specifically, that waste of game is defined as: “removing from the animal only the head, antlers or horns or abandoning any of the four quarters, backstraps or tenderloins of the carcass.” New Mexico Statutes Annotated 17-2-8.  However, this offense can only occur when the animal is taken “outside of the legal season or without a valid license.”  Hunters who take big game animals with a valid license or during the legal season but are accused of waste of game still face only misdemeanor charges.  The law applies to the following big game animals: bighorn sheep, ibex, oryx, Barbary sheep, elk, deer or pronghorn antelope.

A conviction or plea to any charge under the new waste of game statute in New Mexico is a fourth degree felony.  Fourth degree felonies in New Mexico are punishable by up to 18 months in prison and/or $5,000 in fines. 

If you are accused of any hunting or fishing crime, it is imperative that you speak with an attorney prior to entering a plea or paying any fines.  There are certain ancillary consequences of being convicted of, or pleading guilty to, any crime especially felonies.  You may be facing loss of your right to possess a firearm or even your job.  Hunting Violation Attorney Nathaniel Gilbert can help make the right choice and present your best defense to any charges.  Working with a lawyer when you are charged with a crime does not make you look guilty and is your right when dealing with law enforcement.