No matter what time of year it is, you need to be sure that you are only hunting or fishing the specific animals allowed by law. There are restrictions on the animals you can hunt to help them propagate appropriately, and there are restrictions on how many animals you can hunt to make sure they are not wiped out each season.
Violations of these hunting and fishing rules may not seem serious, but they are. You may even have your rights negatively affected if you hunt or fish at a time when you are not allowed. If you do so when unlicensed, you could face harsh penalties, too.
Do you need a license to hunt or fish in New Mexico?
Most people will need to have a license to hunt or fish. Licenses are valid between April 1 to March 31 the following year and not for a full year if bought at a later time.
Licenses aren’t required for everyone. For example, no fishing license is needed on private Class-A lakes or on tribal reservations. Many people assume that fishing licenses aren’t needed if you’re 70 or older, but that’s not true. Instead, these licenses are completely free to residents of the state.
Those 12 and older should purchase a fishing license (or get one for free, depending on who they are) from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
As for hunting bigger game, it’s necessary to have a license before hunting any game species in the state. Anyone who wants to hunt big game or turkey will need to have an annual Game Hunting license with the Habitat Management and Access Validation. This is only available to those 18 and older.
Remember, you also have to report your harvest if you hunt certain species, like deer or elk. There are specific rules to follow, which are listed on the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish website.
Hunting without a license is poaching
If you hunt or fish without a license, you may be accused of poaching. Poaching can be a felony under some circumstances, and civil penalties are high. For example, hunting an antelope without a license could lead to up to $8,000 in fines. Since a license is affordable, it’s better to opt to purchase one than to try to hunt without.