New Mexico ordered a man caught hunting out of season to pay thousands of dollars after a traffic stop revealed antlers in the bed of his truck.

Game wardens determined the antlers in question fell under illegal possession, and the courts agreed. Because the rack was still attached to the skull plate, the proper hunting permit needed to accompany the antlers. The hunter, Michael C. Aguirre of Silver City, didn’t have a license because elk weren’t in season. The courts ordered Aguirre to pay $4,000 and hand over the antlers.

Hunting for charges

Consequences for not abiding by strict game and fish regulations can be severe and range from civil penalties to criminal repercussions. After the local district attorney decided not to bring the Aguirre case to a criminal trial, the presiding conservation officer brought the matter to civil court, where they levied the judgment.

Tracking minutiae

The rules in New Mexico have a wide berth, and you’re usually required to know them all. From calendar days marking the season to antlers requiring a hunting permit, you’ll need to be aware of anything that doesn’t line up with department rules:

  • Sporting without the proper permits
  • Hunting or fishing out of season
  • Using restricted sporting arms
  • Not abiding by specific bag limits
  • Illegal possession of game or fish

You’re generally responsible for knowing the rules and regulations in place for hunting in New Mexico. Failing to follow them could result in fines, license suspension and even jail time, so make sure you know what the wardens expect before you head into the wild.