Commonly known as Roxy’s Law, Senate Bill 32 has many concerned over proponents’ failure to acknowledge its impact on rural New Mexicans.

“They are sentencing us to poverty,” said Wayne Derrick, a Lea County resident who has trapped in New Mexico for 58 years. Derrick also owns and operates a lure business where he sells a variety of attractants to help others in their trapping endeavors. “If SB 32 passes, not only will we lose our business, but I will no longer be able to trap and sell furs. My wife and I will be forced to survive off of $950 a month from Social Security.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2019, 18.2 percent of New Mexicans were classified as impoverished. Even more alarming, a 2019 report released by New Mexico Voices for Children found that 26 percent of the state’s children remained at or below the federal poverty line, placing New Mexico 49th nationally in child poverty.

In a state with already concerning rates of poverty and during a time in which COVID-19 has created even more economic barriers, why is the Legislature pushing a bill that will inevitably cause many like Derrick to lose their livelihoods?

SB 32 is another example of the growing rural-urban divide occurring throughout New Mexico, where a Legislature dominated by urban and suburban elected officials is making decisions that disproportionately impact rural communities.

“A lot of country kids don’t have many other ways to make money outside of trapping. Ranchers aren’t going to be able to protect their sheep and calves. I just talked to a guy who lost 20 out of 60 calves to coyotes this year already. That’s his entire profit margin, and it’s only going to get worse,” Derrick said.

Despite being falsely advertised as in the best interest of people, pets and wildlife, the ramifications of SB 32 are far and wide. Not only will sustainable, science-based wildlife management take a back seat on the legislative agenda, many will lose their livelihood and a key component of their shared outdoor heritage.

Thinking about the impact that the New Mexico Legislature’s decision will have on his day-to-day life, Derrick summarized this reality. “The folks at the Roundhouse always talk about reducing the poverty rate, increased tolerance of alternative lifestyles, and here they are condemning us because of our chosen path in life. It’s just not right.”

Ellary TuckerWilliams is the Rocky Mountain states senior coordinator for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.

(4) comments

Laddie Mills

To call NM G&F’s self-regulated trapping “science-based” is nonsense! $20 licenses will not begin to cover the science or properly monitoring and enforcing unlimited trapping on public lands. Consequently, critical regulations including daily checking and clearing all traps are being ignored!

Maybe, G&F should help ensure public safety by signing traps. Also, they could expand their current GPS hunting maps to make trap locations available for public safety and monitoring uses. Of course, they would have to raise the license fees substantially.

If not, maybe they should just call it quits!

Khal Spencer

I'm surprised the author didn't work in the word "crisis" since everything is now a crisis or should be a crisis, in the eyes of the writers.

Anyway, given that even with trapping we have so many in poverty and our educational K-12 system is second to everyone's, I doubt this bill, should it become law, will make things worse. And as far as science-based wildlife management applied to trapping in NM? Surely you jest.

As far as varmint control, to use an old and somewhat disreputable term? As a teen, I learned to do varmint control with a 225 Winchester shot out of a Savage 340. Unlike an indiscriminate trap, one knows what the target is rather than slowly killing or maiming whatever walks by.

Madeleine Carey

Out of state lobbyists writing op-eds in defense of archaic trapping is lame. The New Mexican publishing out-of-state lobbyists is lamer.

Jerry Black

"Ways of Life" , traditions, etc are not guaranteed to anyone and those who enjoy them at the expense of our natural resources and wildlife will have to accept the fact that their's cannot continue. Most of us have had to seek a new way of life at some point. The issue here is :Will this "Way of Life" that is beneficial to a very few, and destructive to the vast majority's interest in their public lands and wildlife be tolerated?

We are under no obligation whatsoever to subsidize people's lifestyles, particularly when those lifestyles, which includes trapping, are so ecologically, and politically damaging. It's just plain wrong for a very few to make a profit off the wildlife that belongs to all of us.

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