Category Archives: wildlife

Time for new Game Commissioners – Letters to the editor | Albuquerque Journal

My letter was just one of several objecting to the Game Commission.

Time to get some new commissioners

THE NEW MEXICO Game Commission is charged with managing wildlife for all of us. Recent decisions show there is no representation for those of us who think wildlife, including the top predators, should be protected from slaughter. We are the majority yet completely unrepresented on the commission.

The terms of three of the commissioners expire on Dec. 31. All New Mexicans who believe wildlife has a right to more than a brutal death should implore Gov. Susana Martinez to appoint at least one commissioner to represent the majority.



Elizabeth “Beth” Atkinson Ryan [attorney, oil and gas, hunter, NRA] – 2015
Robert Espinoza, Sr. [hunter, NRA] – 2015
Paul M. Kienzle III [attorney, hunter] – 2015

Letters to the editor | Albuquerque Journal News

Three NM Game Commissioners’ terms are up 12/31/15 — they need to be replaced

Note that the terms of 3 of these commissioners expire at the end of 2015. Their replacements will serve 4 years (2019). Lean hard on Governor Martinez to appoint new people to replace them, at least one representing those of us who hate the slaughter and butchering of public wildlife on public lands for private profit.

Notice the current representation:

Elizabeth “Beth” Atkinson Ryan [attorney, oil and gas, hunter, NRA] – 2015
Robert Espinoza, Sr. [hunter, NRA] – 2015
Paul M. Kienzle III [attorney, hunter] – 2015
William “Bill” Montoya [actual wildlife management training] – 2017
Ralph Ramos [hunter, guide] – 2018
Bob Ricklefs [rancher] – 2018
Thomas “Dick” Salopek [hunter, NRA] – 2017

New Mexico State Game Commissioners

Paul M. Kienzle III [attorney, hunter]
P.O. Box 587
Albuquerque, NM 87103-0587

Paul Kienzle is an attorney in Albuquerque. He hunts and fishes on public and private lands and is committed to protecting people’s right to do so. He enjoys shooting sports. He is passionate about New Mexico’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms for lawful hunting and recreation purposes. He is interested in putting more youth, adults and first-time hunters in the field. He was educated at Duke University and the University of Illinois College of Law. The New Mexico Senate confirmed his appointment Feb. 25, 2013. Kienzle represents Game Commission District Five. His term expires Dec. 31, 2015.

William “Bill” Montoya [actual wildlife management training]
125 Little Creek Hills Road
Alto, NM 88312-9503
Home: (575) 336-2533
Cell: (505) 412-0290

Bill Montoya is a former director of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. He worked for the Department for 28 years, overseeing conservation and game management before taking over the director’s position. He is also the former president of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. He holds a degree in wildlife management from New Mexico State University. The New Mexico Senate confirmed his appointment Feb. 25, 2013. Montoya represents Game Commission District 1. The district is composed of Curry, De Baca, Roosevelt, Chaves, Lincoln, Otero, Eddy and Lea counties. His term expires Dec. 31, 2017.

Robert Espinoza, Sr. [hunter, NRA]
P.O. Box 6792
Farmington, NM 87499
Work: (505) 324-8208

Robert Espinoza Sr. a resident of Farmington for more than 50 years, owns and operates a metal fabricating and construction business in Farmington along with his two sons, Tiger and Benny. He formerly served as President/Executive Director of United Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife New Mexico, and is active in several other sportsmen’s and conservation organizations, including the Mule Deer Foundation, National Rifle Association, Wild Sheep Foundation, Sportsmen and Landowners Coalition, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Safari Club International. A lifelong avid sportsman, he devotes most of his time and efforts to promoting our hunting and fishing heritage in New Mexico and enhancing the habitat for New Mexico’s wildlife, with a big focus on promoting youth actives and opportunities. The New Mexico Senate confirmed his appointment Feb. 25, 2013. Espinoza represents Game Commission District 3. The district is composed of San Juan, McKinley, Cibola, Valencia, Sandoval, Los Alamos and Rio Arriba counties. His term ends Dec. 31, 2015.

Ralph Ramos [hunter, guide]
Las Cruces
Home: (575) 526-1314

Ralph Ramos, a native of Hurley in Grant County, is a Middle School Principal in Las Cruces, having served that community and Las Cruces Public Schools for 18 years. He has taught Agriscience and served as advisor to the local Future Farmers of America chapter for eight years before moving into administration. He holds a BS and MA in Agricultural Education from NMSU. He is a lifelong professional sportsman and guide and has hunted throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and South Africa as he is currently serving as a hunting industry pro staff member. His passion is educating the public through articles and videography, as well as presenting elk and turkey calling seminars for Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and other organizations. He is a member of: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, National Rifle Association, Mesilla Valley Sportsman’s Alliance. Ramos is one of two commissioners appointed at-large. His term expires with the close of the 2014 legislative session. His term expires Dec. 31, 2018.

Bob Ricklefs [rancher]
(575) 376-1123

Robert Ricklefs has been ranch superintendent at Philmont Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico since 1981. He is in charge of wildlife management, livestock, agriculture, water rights, timber management and range management. He is a member of the Colfax regional water planning committee and is a founding member of the Cimarron Watershed Alliance. He contributed to the first black bear study in New Mexico and has been a cooperator in other New Mexico bear and cougar studies. He is a past member of the New Mexico Bureau of Land Management Advisory Council and currently serves as a board member with the New Mexico Cattle Growers Association. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from the University of Wyoming. Ricklefs represents Game Commission District 4. In his personal time, he enjoys camping with family and grandchildren. His term expires Dec. 31, 2018.

Elizabeth Atkinson Ryan [attorney, oil and gas, hunter, NRA]
PO Box 1612
Roswell, NM 88202-1612

An experienced oil, gas and energy attorney, Elizabeth “Beth” Atkinson Ryan focuses her practice in the areas of oil and gas title examination, regulatory, transactional, and everyday operational matters. Partnering with Joel M. Carson III, they created the law firm of Carson Ryan LLC in January 2014 after Ryan’s own firm, Ryan Law Firm, P.C. expanded at an extraordinary pace in 2012 and 2013. Appointed by Governor Susana Martinez in 2011, Beth just completed four years of service as a member of the New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB). She is a member of the Board of Directors of the New Mexico Landman’s Association and is a Trustee of the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation. She is an active member of Safari Club International (SCI) and the local SENM SCI Chapter, National Rifle Association (NRA), and a voting member of the Chaves County DWI Planning Council, a subcommittee of the Chaves County Commission. Beth also serves on the Board of Directors of Lovelace Regional Hospital in Roswell. She has had a passion since a young age for hunting and outdoor adventure. Beth is a summa cum laude graduate of Lubbock Christian University with a B.A. in Humanities with an emphasis in pre-law and a minor in Biblical studies. She received her J.D. cum laude from Texas Tech University School of Law in 2006. Ryan is one of two commissioners appointed at-large. Her term expires Dec. 31, 2015.

Thomas “Dick” Salopek [hunter, NRA]
975 Holcomb Road
Las Cruces, NM 88007
Work: (575) 526-5946
Fax: (575) 526-0867

Dick Salopek of Las Cruces is a third-generation pecan farmer in the Mesilla Valley. He is an avid hunter, bowhunter and outdoorsman. He is co-owner of Tom Salopek Farms, Western Blend, Salopek 4-MP and Robledo Pecan Sorting. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Dona Ana County Planning & Zoning Commission, the New Mexico Pecan Grower’s Association, and is treasurer of the Dona Ana County Farm Bureau. Salopek has been on the Board of Councilors at Citizens Bank. He is also a member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the National Rifle Association. He holds a B.A. in Agronomy and Soil Science from New Mexico State University. Salopek represents Game Commission District 2. The district is composed of Catron, Socorro, Grant, Hidalgo, Luna, Sierra and Doña Ana counties. His term ends Dec. 31, 2017.

Clipped from:

Recall the fall of Scott Bidegain, the cowardly NM Game Commissioner, just over a year ago

With luck, we’ll be rid of all the self-serving fools on the New Mexico Game Commission. With that in mind, recall the fall of Scott Bidegain, who pocketed a wad of cash for setting up the slaughter of a cornered cougar by even-more-loathsome turds from Texas and Oklahoma. The noble Bidegain had previously participated in the sport of kings: coyote slaughtering. What a fine New Mexican!

Each of the current commissioners is of the same ilk and could be brought down by their own cruelty. Let us pray.

Scott Bidegain, outlaw

Game Commission leader resigns after cougar killing
By Staci Matlock, The New Mexican

State Game Commission chairman Scott Bidegain, who state conservation officers a week ago accused of helping four other men illegally kill a cougar on his family’s ranch near Tucumcari, resigned over the weekend. …

Cited along with Bidegain was Larry H. Webb of Newkirk; Billy G. Ivy of Canyon, Texas; Chad W. Hassell of Childress, Texas; and Jason E. Roselius of Oklahoma City. Roselius was cited for killing a cougar without a valid license. It is unclear whether the men shot the cougar or their dogs cornered and killed the cougar.

NM Game Commission

It’s time for a clean slate at the New Mexico Game Commission. All of these people should go. Their successors should include someone from a city, someone who enjoys hiking without killing. Instead, we have hunters, guides, ranchers, people in oil, people whose livelihood and pleasure derive from exploiting public land for profit.

New Mexico State Game Commissioners, from left:

nm game commission

Alexa Sandoval, Director
Bob Ricklefs,
Thomas “Dick” Salopek,
Paul M. Kienzle III, Chairman,
William “Bill” Montoya, Vice Chairman,
Elizabeth Atkinson Ryan,
Ralph Ramos, and
Robert Espinoza, Sr.

listen during their meeting at the Santa Fe Community College in Santa Fe, N.M. Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. The New Mexico Game Commission has approved new hunting limits for bears and cougars around the state despite the protests of environmental groups. (Clyde Mueller/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

article link

Believe me, I’d love to indulge in Wanted posters of these folks and coy references to hunting them down, but I won’t indulge in the violence they endorse. I wish them peaceful lives out of public “service.” If I see one of them, I will flip him or her off. If I have mustard at hand, I will throw it on them. A better man would stand and stare and shake his head at their shame.

Flash mob, anyone?

Why can’t we take the Crane Train to Bosque del Apache?

Imagine boarding the Rail Runner in Santa Fe or Albuquerque and riding south to Bosque del Apache. Wouldn’t it be fantastic? We have the tracks, we have the trains, we have the natural attraction. More than anything we lack imagination and determination to make it happen.

The people most likely to take this train don’t require a fancy stop. The Durango-Silverton rail simply stops in the middle of wilderness for hikers.

Eventually, I’d like to see a special Crane engine modeled after the lovely Rail Runner. But we could start this run in no time. We have trains going to the Wine Festival in Bernalillo. Why not to the Festival of the Cranes?

[reposted from 10/23/13 every year until we can do this]

Enjoy the birds while we have them …

Talk about your canary in a coal mine. Doom.

Global warming may mean bye-bye for some birdies | Albuquerque Journal News

The report says that in a few decades, 126 bird species will end up with a much smaller area to live in, which the society says will make them endangered. An additional 188 species will lose more than half their natural range but relocate to new areas. Those moves will be threatening to the birds’ survival, too, because they will be confronted with different food and soil, bird experts said.

Other birds, including backyard regulars like the American robin and the blue jay, will fly in even more places, the report says. And some of the biggest potential winners aren’t exactly birds that people like — species such as the turkey vulture, the American crow and the mourning dove, which will expand their ranges tremendously.

“If you want to know what the climate change future sounds like, it sounds a lot like a mourning dove,” Langham said. Some people find annoying the singing of the mourning dove, which will more than double its range.

Global warming may mean bye-bye for some birdies | Albuquerque Journal News

More from before (photos from the unnamed wilderness)

OK, I did name the wilderness in the photos themselves. These newest photos are the oldest. (I know, it sounds wrong, but it’s true.) We took a trip to the unnamed wilderness in June with friends Melissa and Lew. We camped in a campground, instead of the jack-camping we did in August. Follow the link for all photos (14 from June plus the previously posted 60 from August).

pale wild iris Western Tanager gray jay (not to be confused with a Clark's nutcracker) a snake in a stream (much smaller than it may seem)

all photos

Fed proposal gives wolves wider range | Albuquerque Journal News

This is a huge and surprising change. The best to come out of this is the feds can stop wasting time relocating wolves from suitable habitat. The downside is more people will get a chance to shoot wolves.

Fed proposal gives wolves wider range | Albuquerque Journal News

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service laid out its plan for the future of the endangered Mexican gray wolf on Thursday, which includes allowing the reintroduced wolves to roam a much larger area.

But an environmental group says the plan also makes it too easy for ranchers and state agencies to kill the wolves – a problem the group’s director says has long hindered the recovery effort in New Mexico and Arizona.

“We’re glad Mexican wolves will be allowed to roam more widely and will be introduced directly into New Mexico,” said Michael Robinson with the Silver City-based Center for Biological Diversity. “But increasing the authority to kill wolves is disappointing and will further imperil them.”


Fed proposal gives wolves wider range | Albuquerque Journal News

Ranchers and Oil Industry demand the right to destroy everything for a profit. Government agrees. Win-Win?

So, ranchers and oil companies have destroyed 80% of the habitat of the lesser prairie chicken and want the other 20%? Greedy much? And the county government serves the money, not the public and certainly not the creatures that lived their long before we did..

Suit filed to stop listing of rare grouse | Albuquerque Journal News

Federal officials say the bird has lost more than 80 percent of its traditional habitat, mostly because of human activity such as oil and gas drilling, ranching and the construction of power lines and wind turbines.

The federal government said those states had fewer than 18,000 lesser prairie chickens in 2013, down almost 50 percent from 2012.

Ranchers and oil companies believe the listing will have a negative effect on the ranching, oil and gas and wind farm industries in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. That’s where the chicken’s habitat is known.

Suit filed to stop listing of rare grouse | Albuquerque Journal News

Let the wolves into El Malpais

If wolves can survive in El Malpais, let them in. Those of us who hike in that area would love the chance to see them.

Gray wolf breeding pair released in Arizona | Albuquerque Journal News

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed expanding the area where the predators are allowed to roam, but it could be months before a final decision is reached. Until then, the agency is required to capture those wolves found outside the nearly 7,000-square-mile wolf-recovery area, which straddles the Arizona-New Mexico line.

That was the case with a pair that had traveled north to El Malpais National Monument near Grants. They had been in the area since February before wildlife managers darted and captured them last Friday.

This was the farthest north a pair of Mexican gray wolves had been documented, said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity.

“This is excellent habitat. It’s remote country, and filled with deer,” he said. “This would have been an opportunity for the population to expand naturally.”

Gray wolf breeding pair released in Arizona | Albuquerque Journal News

Slaughtering wild creatures is “cruel and moronic” — and barbaric

In New Mexico, we have coyote slaughters by similar morons.

10,000 Birds | Rip Van Winkle’s Crow Killing Contest

The “Crow Down” is a “hunting contest” where both adults and children slaughter as many crows as they possibly can in two days. Why do they do this? Look at the Maryland-based website Crow Busters, although I warn you you’ll need a strong stomach for the photographs. Here is a direct (and unedited) quote:

“… keep in mind the main reason why experienced crow hunters got into the sport in the first place, Fun. Plain old fashioned Fun.”

Some people think it’s just plain fun to kill enormous numbers of animals and pile up their bodies, and when there’s no “bag limit” it’s legal to do so. …

[The King of the morons, may he rot in hell,] … lives in Kansas and in December 2013 celebrated killing his 150,000th crow. On the website he reminisces fondly about his “best hunt,” where he killed 3,125 crows in 9 days…

It also brings to mind the uncontested link between animal abuse and violent behavior toward fellow humans. …

“What I want to know is: a hundred feet away, how can these people tell the difference between a crow and a raven, which is a protected species?,” [Missy Runyan, director of the Friends of the Feathered and Furry Wildlife Center in nearby Hunter, NY] asks.

“And how do you keep the kids safe when you’ve got dozens of people in the woods, blasting away? You shoot a bullet up, sooner or later it has to come down. How do you know it’s not going to come down on some kid’s head?”

The Crow Down does not require non-toxic ammunition, either, which means soon the woods will be filled with lead.

10,000 Birds | Rip Van Winkle’s Crow Killing Contest

This is an environmental disaster brought to you by blood-thirsty fools. A pox on every one of them. A single crow has more decency than that entire gang of killers.

The Hunting Industry is out-of-control

Letters to the editor | ABQJournal Online

Industry corrupts hunting

RE: MARCH 5 OP-ED from the NM Council of Outfitters and guides

I agree with one assertion from the executive director of the New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides: Hunting has become an “industry.” The Council of Outfitters and Guides is a perfect example of a special interest that profits from hunting by promoting it.

Decisions made by the New Mexico Game Commission and New Mexico Game and Fish Department are much more likely to be based on the profits that industry generates than on the needs of nature. It is a vicious cycle. Hunters pay the agency in the form of license purchases and the agency makes decisions that affect how much money they can make from hunters.

Conservation and maintaining the sustainability of the entire wildlife community don’t really figure into it. As that quote says, “It is impossible to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on him not understanding it.”

New Mexico bear and cougar hunting quotas are today not based on the best available science. Trapping mid-sized carnivores like bobcats and foxes – with no quotas or bag limits at all – is done to profit from selling their fur.

New Mexico Game and Fish does not know what the populations of these species are or how they are trending. Coyotes are killed in unlimited number without any license purchase needed, so these killers are not even contributing to the revenue stream of the agency. However, this misguided arrangement does please livestock interests, yet another “industry” with its hand in the wildlife pie.

Someday, I hope hunters will return to their conservation roots. Hunters like Aldo Leopold wrote eloquently about “thinking like a mountain” and the importance of all the parts. For now, as an “industry,” hunting is losing its conservation credibility, and it is the money that has corrupted it.


Wildlife worth more than jerks

A MAN GETS out of a truck, walks to a cave where a cougar is cornered by dogs and shoots it. And this is called hunting? I hope that serious hunters in New Mexico are outraged by the actions of this creep millionaire Jason Roselius. That cougar was of far more value to the planet than jerks like Roselius, (Larry) Webb and (Scott) Bidegain, all of whom apparently see wildlife simply as a way to make money … .”


Letters to the editor | ABQJournal Online

Neighborhood Merlin

Just this morning, as I walked Luke to the park, I thought about how we didn’t see our usual merlin (falcon) this winter. In years past, it occupied a particular telephone pole top almost every late afternoon from October to March. Not so this winter. Imagine my surprise when I spotted this merlin an hour later near the usual spot.

merlin (falcon) - mjh

merlin (falcon) - mjh
Death bows its head.

As I watched and photographed, the merlin left its prey and moved to a nearby tree. A scrub jay flew at it and the merlin flew around a bit before landing in another nearby tree. The jay went straight at the merlin and landed near it. A moment later, the merlin left the area. Drama on our street. Was the prey related to the jay?

Monarch butterflies drop, migration may disappear | ABQJournal Online

Life on earth will be so much poorer when the monarch butterflies are gone, when the polar bears are gone, when the oceans are dead. Exterminated by humankind, nature’s biggest mistake.

Monarch butterflies drop, migration may disappear | ABQJournal Online

After steep and steady declines in the previous three years, the black-and-orange butterflies now cover only 1.65 acres in the pine and fir forests west of Mexico City, compared to 2.93 acres last year, said the report released by the World Wildlife Fund, Mexico’s Environment Department and the Natural Protected Areas Commission. They covered more than 44.5 acres at their recorded peak in 1996.

Because the butterflies clump together by the thousands in trees, they are counted by the area they cover.

Monarch butterflies drop, migration may disappear | ABQJournal Online