The Conservationist Vol. 1 No. 4
A quarterly newsletter featuring the fish and wildlife conservation efforts of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and agency partners.
WHAT’S IN A NAME? The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish revived the historic name, “The Conservationist,” for our newsletter to showcase the excellent conservation work our dedicated professionals do in the field of wildlife management. Conservation, often misconstrued as preservation, is the wise use of our resources. The Department is dedicated to the long-term well-being of New Mexico’s fish and wildlife and the benefit to the people of this great state. It is our Mission, to provide and maintain an adequate supply of wildlife and fish within the state of New Mexico by utilizing a flexible management system that provides for their protection, conservation, regulation, propagation, and for their use as public recreation and food supply. December 2012 l Vol. 1 No. 4 Friends indeed! Partners help keep Department on a roll IN THIS ISSUE • Director’s View .....................Page 2 • Safari Club International ...Page 3 • Trout Unlimited ....................Page 5 • Trout in the Classroom........Page 6 • Department partners .........Page 7 • Conservation officers ..........Page 8 • Habitat projects ...................Page 9 • Bighorn programs ...............Page 9 • Southwest shooting .........Page 10 • Harold Olson .......................Page 11 • Calendar of events .............Page 12 The Northern New Mexico Chapter of Safari Club International sponsored the colorful wrap on the Department of Game and Fish Shooting Program trailer, and also stocked it with an automated clay target thrower and 10 shotguns. Please see story on Page 3. Page 2 l The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish CONSERVATIONIST Director’s View Shift happens ... New Mexico Department of Game and Fish By Jim Lane James S. Lane Jr. Director New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Director firstname.lastname@example.org Dan Brooks Deputy Director W hat if I told you an accounting clerk helped a deer by keeping poachers in check today? The heck Jim Lane with wife, Beth, son Christian and daughter Allison. you’d say; but it’s true. A little over a year ago, I became director and embarked on a journey to reorganize the Department. I wanted the agency to deliver our services in the most effective manner, to have better communications within and outside of the Department and to figure out how to get more “boots on the ground” to implement wildlife management programs to benefit license buyers and all New Mexicans. That’s where the bean counters helped out – by reducing the financial support staff in the Administrative Services Division by one-third. You might be asking how in the heck a reduction in the number of staff can be directly helpful to the management of wildlife. I’m glad you asked. One of the major directives from Governor Martinez to this agency, and all executive branch agencies, is to closely examine operations and make sure that we are taking advantage of every opportunity to operate more efficiently and make prudent decisions when it comes to spending public money. A few years ago, the State of New Mexico transitioned to a statewide financial accounting system, known as SHARE, which all agencies were required to use. Prior to SHARE, each department was responsible for reconciling information from its own accounting system to the state’s main system, a labor-intensive task that happened every month. To ensure that we were properly managing public funds entrusted to the Department funds and reconciling the two systems accurately, we had to commit significant staff to accounting jobs. Now that SHARE has been fully implemented and the system is fully-functioning, the positions dedicated to this reconciliation were now free. Additionally, the Department is in the process of transitioning to a fully web-based license sales system. What this means is that there has been a tremendous reduction in the amount of paper-pushing by Department staff. Last year, we implemented an onlineonly application process for handling biggame hunt lottery applications. This meant that the Department did not have to handle more than 120,000 paper documents; reducing staffing needs. This also helped aspiring hunters by reducing processing time by a month and a half. By transitioning to an online application system, the need for staff to support a paperbased system goes away. Our customers also benefit because they instantly know that their application has been accepted. The online system safeguards applicants, preventing many common errors, greatly reducing the number of rejected applications. Moving into the future, web-based license sales will allow customers to print licenses at home, further reducing the need for paperwork handling and the time customers spend coming to a Department office to get big-game licenses. Because of the wise use of technology and streamlining business processes, the Department’s financial operations have become far more efficient. This efficiency has enabled the Department to shift staff positions from support services roles to a direct wildlife management role; allowing the Department to get more projects on the ground, enhance law enforcement capabilities and ensure we are making the best use of the funds hunting, trapping and fishing license buyers provide to fund the Department. R. J. Kirkpatrick Assistant Director for Resources Patrick Block Assistant Director for Support Services Mike Sloane Fisheries Management Cal Baca Wildlife Management Matt Wunder Conservation Services Martin Frentzel Public Information and Outreach Alexa Sandoval Administrative Services Sonya Quintana Human Resources Robert Griego Field Operations State Game Commission Jim McClintic Albuquerque Tom Arvas Albuquerque Bill Montoya Alto Robert Espinoza Sr. Farmington Scott Bidegain Tucumcari Thomas “Dick” Salopek Las Cruces Paul Kienzle Albuquerque Volume 1, Number 4 The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Newsletter is published by the Public Information and Outreach Division, N.M. Department of Game and Fish. Contact The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish for permission to reprint content. Printed in the United States under contract with the State of New Mexico. Marty Frentzel Chief, Public Information and Outreach Division Lance Cherry Chief of Publications Letters may be sent to: N.M. Department of Game and Fish P.O. Box 25112 Santa Fe, NM 87504-5112 Telephone (505) 476-8000 email@example.com Shift happens … and it’s a good thing. Please visit our website, www.wildlife.state.nm.us The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish CONSERVATIONIST l Page 3 Northern SCI Chapter focuses on new shooters By Jack McCormick Safari Club International L ike other wildlife agencies across the country, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is concerned about the number of new hunters and shooters being recruited. One study shows that nationally only 67 young hunters and shooters are replacing every 100 hunters and shooters who stop. The Department of Game and Fish Youth Shooting Sports Program is one response to help reverse that trend. This year, Department staff member Mark Gruber took the job as the fulltime program manager. Gruber is an avid hunter and shotgun shooter. In the early stages of the program, the Department concentrated on training youth shotgun coaches, providing ammunition to shooting teams and sponsoring an annual Youth Clay Target Competition. Now that the program has a fulltime manager, the agency wants to recruit even more youth shooters by conducting several “First Shot” events. “First Shot” is a program of the National Shooting Sports Foundation designed to introduce as many youths as possible to the shooting sports. Always in need of funding, the Depart- Photo: Dan Williams Jack McCormick, left, and George Franklin of the Northern New Mexico Chapter of Safari Club International pose with the Department of Game and Fish youth shooting sports trailer. The chapter paid for the trailer’s colorful wrap and equipped it with a clay target thrower and 10 shotguns. ment approached the Northern New Mexico Chapter of Safari Club International, seeking financial help for the program. The plan was to assemble an enclosed trailer that can be taken all over the state to conduct “First Shot” events. The Department purchased the trailer and the Northern New Mexico Chapter donated the money to purchase a very colorful wrap for the trailer. In addition, the chapter purchased 10 shotguns and an automated Promatic clay target thrower. Ron Peterson Firearms of Albuquerque also generously donated $1,000 to the program. The total chapter financial contribution to the program is more than $7,000. state. The trailers have the same bows, arrows, and targets used in the National Archery in the Schools Program. Summer camps and schools that have trained archery instructors, but have no equipment, use the trailers until they are able to purchase the supplies and equipment they need. With the help of Pittman-Robertson Act funding from excise taxes on hunting equipment, the Department also plans to help communities build shooting ranges in areas that do not have formal places for shooters to sight-in their rifles or practice their wing shooting. Other state wildlife agencies have similar shooting trailers and find them a great way to attract new shooters. Working with the two Safari Club Chapters in New Mexico, the Department will be investigating new avenues to attract more shooters and hunters to the shooting sports. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has had great success using seven archery trailers across the Jack McCormick is president of the Safari Club International Northern New Mexico Chapter. Page 4 l The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish CONSERVATIONIST SCI comes through in southern NM By Mark Madsen Public Information Offficer, Southeast Area M any sportsmen and nongovernmental groups in New Mexico have made a positive difference in the management of wildlife. One group that has supported the many activities and priorities of the Department of Game and Fish is the Southern New Mexico Chapter of Safari Club International (SCI). Safari Club’s mission is to protect the freedom of hunting and to promote wildlife conservation worldwide. Members of SCI support numerous Department activities and programs with manpower and funding. Over the years, SCI has been involved in many aspects of wildlife management in New Mexico. Here are a few examples of that support: • Depredation: SCI purchased a gooseneck trailer for transplanting wildlife and provided funding and manpower to build a soft-release site at Fort Stanton for relocating mule deer. • Hunter education: More than 15 years ago, SCI purchased .22 rifles and shotguns for the Roswell Hunter Education program. Hundreds of students continue to use those firearms. • Poaching awareness trailer: SCI donated approximately 65 percent of the cost for the Department’s “Poach Coach” used to educate the public about unlawful killing of wildlife in New Mexico. The Southern Chapter of Safari Club International has lprovided pheasants for the annual youth pheasant hunt at the Seven Rivers Wildlife Area near Artesia. • Artificial wildlife: Conservation officers approached SCI to see if the southern New Mexico chapter would be willing to assist in the purchasing of new robotic decoys for detecting roadhunting violations such as shooting out of motor vehicles and shooting at game from public roadways. SCI gladly donated the funds necessary to purchase two new decoys. Department officers to successfully file for the increased civil penalties, the poached animal must be scored under the SCI scoring system. SCI has provided certified scoring training for all Department officers, including covering the cost of the training and providing all officers with official SCI scoring kits. • Youth pheasant hunts: SCI purchased pheasants to be released during the Department’s youth pheasant hunt at the Seven Rivers Waterfowl Management area south of Artesia. Releasing pen-raised birds greatly increased the chance of each young hunter harvesting a bird. • Prairie chicken watering units: The Department owns more than 20,000 acres in Roosevelt, Lea and Chaves counties in southeastern New Mexico. That acreage is broken into numerous Prairie Chicken Wildlife Management Areas. Over the years, many of the watering units in these areas have fallen into disrepair, and more are needed. SCI donated $26,000 for the repair and construction of watering units in the areas. Department personnel since have repaired several watering units and built several more. • Increased civil penalties law: The increased civil penalties law is based upon the overall SCI score of trophy wildlife; the larger the trophy score, the higher the penalty. In order for The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish CONSERVATIONIST l Page 5 TU supports native fish restoration By Kirk Patten Assistant Chief, Fisheries N ative trout restoration is a difficult task. Years of overharvest, habitat degradation, and hybridization and competition with non-native trout placed New Mexico’s native trout in dire need of comprehensive conservation efforts to ensure long-term persistence of the species. Though state and federal agencies feverishly work to halt and reverse such declines, lack of resources sometimes can limit overall effectiveness. That’s where nongovernmental organizations can step in. Trout Unlimited, at the local and national level, routinely provides significant support to native fish conservation in New Mexico. With 147,000 members nationwide, Trout Unlimited is dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. At the local level, there are four active chapters of Trout Unlimited that routinely partner with New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and other cooperators on high priority projects. In 2006, an ambitious restoration project began in the Rio Costilla basin to benefit Rio Grande cutthroat trout and other native fishes. Project cooperators recognized the need for a fish migration barrier, genetic purity testing and Photo: Dan Williams Kevin Riley of the Truchas Chapter of Trout Unlimited releases Rio Grande cutthroat trout into Comanche Creek. aquatic insect monitoring, yet lacked the $100,000 to pay for it. Local Trout Unlimited volunteers enlisted the assistance of their corporate staff, who delivered big-time. The barrier was built, nearly 300 Rio Grande cutthroat trout were genetically tested, and a consultant was hired to monitor the effects of the restoration on aquatic insects. Since that time, Trout Unlimited also has spearheaded the design and soon to be constructed fish barrier on Alamitos Creek. Both barriers will protect nearly 25 miles of Rio Grande cutthroat trout habitat. This type of support and volunteer involvement is essential for effective conservation of our native trout. Support by local chapters of Trout Unlimited doesn’t stop there. The Truchas Chapter initiated a Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout restoration fund supported by donations to be used specifically for projects that benefit Rio Grande cutthroat trout conservation. Other activities by local chapters include annual stocking of fingerling Rio Grande cutthroat trout into the Rio Grande gorge, routine participation in the Rio Grande cutthroat trout working group meetings, watershed restoration activities in Agua Chiquita Creek, the Sacramento Mountains, and post-restoration stocking in Comanche Creek. While the road to securing our native trout is challenging, local and national Trout Unlimited members undoubtedly enhance state and federal recovery efforts. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish CONSERVATIONIST l Page 6 Volunteers bring trout to classrooms By Kevin Holladay Coordinator, Project WILD C lassroom students across New Mexico are discovering the joys and challenges of raising rainbow trout and other fish from eggs. Trout in the Classroom is a schoolbased fish-rearing program and has been embraced by Trout Unlimited. Students raise trout from eggs to fingerlings in a classroom aquarium. Students then set a release date, advertise the event, invite public and parents, and release the fish in public fishing waters. Department fish hatchery staff at Lisboa Springs and Red River supply fish eggs to schools. Dedicated conservation officers support Trout in the Classroom and warmwater fish rearing in classrooms with training and equipment in Farmington, Raton, Eagle Nest, Tucumcari and Logan. Members of the Enchanted Circle Chapter of Trout Unlimited have supported the purchase of an aquarium, chiller, pumps and other equipment needed for Eagle Nest Elementary. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also is involved with assisting students in rearing fish in the classroom. The agency supports five schools in Albuquerque with raising Rio Grande Cutthroat trout after they hatch. These native trout are released in the northern Rio Grande. For the last five years, the Truchas Chapter of Trout Unlimited has been the driving force for Trout in the Classroom in northern New Mexico. This school year, the Truchas Chapter is assisting 12 schools in raising rainbow trout. Truchas Chapter volunteers have Photo: Kevin Holladay John Wright, left, youth education program director for the Truchas Chapter of Trout Unlimited, accepts an award from Department of Game and Fish Assistant Director Pat Block for five years of service to the Department’s angling and aquatic resources education programs. put in hundreds of hours delivering eggs, troubleshooting aquarium issues, visiting schools, teaching angling skills and arranging for the careful release of fish. Keeping rainbow trout eggs wellchilled and oxygenated in an aquarium is no easy task. Volunteers and Department staff train the teachers. They and their students quickly learn from hands-on experience what fish hatchery workers face every day and what it takes to sustain trout once the eggs hatch. John Wright, youth education program director for the Truchas Chapter, has been instrumental in administering the program and recruiting other chapter volunteers. “Trout in the Classroom in northern New Mexico is not just a TU program. There are so many other key partners,” Wright says. “The classroom teacher ends up being a volunteer. They use their own personal time after the bell rings and on weekends to make the program successful. A wonderful side benefit has been noted improvement in math and science test scores.” Trout eggs will be delivered to many schools beginning early next year, with release dates set for May, 2013. For more information about Trout in the Classroom program and how schools can get involved, contact Kevin Holladay, aquatic education coordinator, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, (505) 476-8095. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish CONSERVATIONIST l Page 7 Department teams with supporters By Ross Morgan Northwest Area Information Officer P roviding water for wildlife in a state that doesn’t get very much annual rain is an important part of conservation in New Mexico. That’s why the Department of Game and Fish, conservation groups and private companies come together to help provide wildlife with water. Some of these groups and companies include Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, Williams Production, Dona Ana Quail Unlimited, Middle Rio Grande National Wild Turkey Federation, Albuquerque Wildlife Federation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Albuquer- que Mule Deer Foundation, Volunteers for the Outdoors, Yates Petroleum Inc., Concho Resources, Otero County National Wild Turkey Federation, Dona Ana County Associated Sportsmen, Friends of the Sandia Mountains, Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts. Last year, approximately 618 wildlife guzzlers, trick tanks, spring developments and habitat enclosures were built or maintained. This was not an easy task in tight economic times. Thanks to the help of sportsmen’s groups, private companies and the Department they are being built and maintained all over the state. These wildlife groups and private companies not only provide the labor to help build and maintain these projects, in many cases they also provide the money and materials. A good example of these joint efforts is a project that has incorporated the help of the Department, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Albuquerque Chapter of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Middle Rio Grande Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and Concho Resources. A trick tank being built on BLM land in Kellog Canyon in the San Mateo Mountains was funded by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Rio Grande National Wild Turkey Federation. The pipe fencing was donated by Concho Resources. In return, the Department will match these donations of time and materials with federal aid dollars to hire a welder to install the pipe fence. By working side-by-side with sportsmen’s groups and private companies, the Department is able to see numerous habitat projects, forage and water, come to fruition every year. These organizations are making a big difference in the management of New Mexico’s wildlife. Ti Piper: fishing educator extrordinaire Ti Piper, the Department of Game and Fish fishing skills education contractor, received the Steve Campbell Aquatic Resource Education Association Outstanding Aquatic Resource Educators (AREA) Award at the recent AREA conference in Arizona. This is not an annual award and the honor is a tribute to Piper’s commitment, creativity, energy and longevity in the field of aquatic resource education. Except for a four-year stint with Arizona Game and Fish, Piper has been an aquatic resources educator and fishing skills instructor for the Department since 1992. He pioneered the idea of using swimming pools for catch and release angling in Albuquerque with Luke Shelby and the late Scott Brown. Anyone who has seen Piper in action in the classroom or lakeside knows what a dynamic educator he is. He works with schools, youth groups, police departments, scouts and anyone else who is willing to bring him in to teach about fish and fishing. He is dedicated to keeping up with the needs of K-12 educators to meet state standards and benchmarks and weaves in fish and fishing across the subject areas. Photo: Dan Williams There are few things Ti Piper enjoys more than teaching someone, young or old, how to cast a fly. He has been involved with AREA since its inception in 1994. Piper is equally committed to getting kids and adults outside on the water with a fishing rod in their hands. Whether it is fly-fishing, bait fishing, streams, lakes or rivers, Ti does it all and loves it all. Page 8 l The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish CONSERVATIONIST Department of Game and Fish conservation officers prepare to round up some pronghorn antelope. Officers get support from the ranks By Clint Henson Northeast Area Information Officer T he New Mexico Conservation Officers Association, (NMCOA) has been supporting the wildlife, officers and education of young hunters and anglers in New Mexico since 1986. NMCOA is a membership organization whose primary goal is to represent the interests of the officers and to be a working bridge between the Department of Game and Fish and the officers. NMCOA has been instrumental in obtaining law enforcement equipment and providing support for officers and their families in times of need. Donations have been made to conservation officers from all over the country. NMCOA also offers a scholarship to children of New Mexico conservation officers to assist them in paying for college expenses. The NMCOA is devoted to support youth shooting programs, provide hunting opportunities and has provided fishing equipment for outreach clinics. The association has also provided support to the National Archery in the Schools Program that was introduced in New Mexico in 2008. NMCOA is closely associated with two other conservation groups, the Five States Game Warden Association, and the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association, (NAWEOA). Five States is another membership organization composed of conservation officers from New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma. Yearly meetings allow officers to share information and compete in friendly game warden games, such as trailer backing and shooting competitions. NAWEOA has a membership of more than 8,000 officers throughout North America. It has an annual conference devoted to specialized training in wildlife law enforcement and is another venue for game warden games. NAWEOA has built the Game Warden Museum in the International Peace Garden on the U.S.-Canadian border near Dunseith, N.D. You can learn more about NAWEOA from its website at www.naweoa.org. Being a New Mexico conservation officer is a full-time job, but it is not a job officers leave when they take off the badge. It is a lifelong passion of natural resource protection and education and is one of the most rewarding careers imaginable. For more information about donating to NMCOA or becoming a member, contact any New Mexico conservation officer. Clint Henson is the Department of Game and Fish public information officer for the Northeast Area. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish CONSERVATIONIST l Page 9 Partners assist Department wildlife habitat projects 2012 is a big year for the Department of Game and Fish Wildlife Management Division, especially for the Private Land Programs section. The Division has started a new program to facilitate improving wildlife habitat on private land in New Mexico. This year, two focus areas have been chosen: the Middle Rio Grande Valley (MRGV), and the habitat of the lesser prairie chicken in eastern New Mexico. With these focus areas, the Department has joined partners to hire two biologists to aid in facilitating habitat improvement on private lands. Santiago Misquez has been working as a partner biologist in the Middle Rio Grande Valley for approximately a year. His position is funded through a partnership formed by a grant from the Intermountain West Joint Venture, funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. Misquez is tasked with seeking out private landowners and other land management groups in the MRGV to plan and seek funding for habitat improvement projects in the valley. Misquez also has improved hunter access by using Open Gate funds to open hunting access for sandhill cranes and other waterfowl. A landowner has used the lease payment from Open Gate to match other funds to improve the habitat. Misquez currently is in the first phase of restoration of wetland habitat on a property with funding through the partner agencies. When complete, the project will be the largest to apply for the Wetland Reserve Program of the Farm Bill ever in New Mexico. Jacob Swafford was hired in early 2012 as the Department’s second partner biologist position in New Mexico. He will be stationed in Portales and will work with Grant Beauprez on lesser prairie chicken habitat improvement Santiago Misquez and conservation on the private lands in the high plains of eastern New Mexico. Swafford’s position is a funded by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Department of Game and Fish. He is getting to know lesser prairie chicken habitat and the lay of the land in eastern New Mexico. Within the next few months He will begin advising private landowners about funding opportunities to improve habitat for wildlife. Organizations devote time, money to bighorn programs Many facets of the bighorn sheep program in New Mexico have been aided by the Department’s association with nongovernmental organizations. Since 1990, the Department of Game and Fish has auctioned a bighorn sheep permit through the Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF). Since 2000, the state chapter of WSF has conducted the raffle of a second bighorn sheep permit. To date these Special Permits have generated more than $3 million for bighorn conservation. The funds generated from these sales have been integral to the recovery of both Rocky Mountain and desert bighorn sheep. In addition, these organizations have financially assisted the Department when New Mexico has been the host of the Desert Bighorn Council Meeting. More recently, NGOs including WSF, the New Mexico Chapter of WSF, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society, Eastern Chapter of WSF, Midwest Chapter of WSF, and Ovis Grand Slam Club have contributed funding to the cougar management portion of the desert bighorn sheep program. In 2003, three members of WSF paid a combined $31,000 for a desert bighorn ram skull that had been auctioned to provide funding for the cougar management program. The Department has provided the opportunity for members of nongovernment organizations to assist on bighorn sheep traps and at the annual census at the Red Rock captive breeding facility. Much of the original costs of constructing the Red Rock breeding facility were funded by the sportsmen’s groups including Shikar Safari and the Game-COIN. The desert bighorns raised in the Red Rock facility have been the foundation of the restoration of desert bighorn populations in New Mexico. Page 10 l The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish CONSERVATIONIST Groups sponsor shooting in southwest By Richard McDonald a cooperative agreement between the City of Las Cruces and Mesilla Valley Shotgun Sports. Southwest Area Information Officer T he New Mexico Department of Game and Fish in has partnered with sportsmen’s groups for years to advocate shooting sports in southwestern New Mexico. By sponsoring events for small-bore rifle and trap and skeet shooting, and 3-D archery tournaments, these groups teach young shooters how to hone their skills while learning about the challenges of competition. Groups in southern New Mexico include the Kemp Youth Hunting Club, Mesilla Valley Shotgun Sports, Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC), and 4-H shooting sports teams. In Doña Ana County, these organizations have introduced hundreds of kids to the outdoor sports. The Department recognizes that the increasing cost of equipment and supplies can be a prohibitive factor for families to become involved in many of these outdoor activities. The Department provides financial support and ammunition for local YHEC teams, 4-H groups and other shooting sports programs. Participants receive invaluable training and have graduated from the Department’s Hunter Education program. These students will take what they have learned and apply it to situations that they will encounter while participating in the various shooting sports. The shooting range provides opportunities for a large diversity of people to engage in the shotgun sports and compete competitively and recreationally. The group encourages youth participation in shotgun proficiency and safety. The range is open to the general public. Interested shooters can receive classes in safe gun handling, marksmanship, and safety. Sportsmen’s groups sponsor a variety of shooting events in Doña Ana County. The Donald Kemp Youth Hunting Club is a nonprofit corporation based in Las Cruces. Back in 2001, Chase Kemp and other hunting enthusiasts formed the club. The club has reached hundreds of kids and has exposed them to the outdoors. The club provides invaluable training in outdoor sports to area youths that may not have the opportunity otherwise. The club works with members to endorse safety, marksmanship, and conservation. The club takes youth members hunting not only in New Mexico, but also surrounding states. “Our main focus is to get the kids in the field and provide the opportunity to hunt, fish, or shoot,” Chase says. The club works closely with ranchers, guides and other landowners. Mesilla Valley Shotgun Sports, Inc., based in Doña Ana County, was started in 2009 to oversee the development, operation and maintenance of skeet, trap and sporting clays ranges at the City of Las Cruces Butterfield Shooting Range. The range was developed as The group has conducted numerous shooting events over the years and has exposed hundreds of area residents to the shotgun shooting sports. The Department of Game and Fish has provided approximately $14,000 to the group for the purchase of trap and skeet machines and for the implementation of the range and its facilities. The Department provides ammunition for youth shooting events at the range. The Department of Game and Fish also supports 4-H and YHEC shooting teams in Doña Ana County. Numerous teams compete in competitions from archery to hunter safety. Over the last three years, the Department has provided approximately 125,575 shotgun shells, more than 57,000 .22 rounds, several dozen shooting bags, several cases of eye and ear protection, and clay targets for shooting events and organizations in the Las Cruces area. Richard McDonald is the Department of Game and Fish public relations officer for the Southwest Area in Las Cruces. The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish CONSERVATIONIST l Page 11 Olson: a broad-minded conservationist Former director started Share with Wildife, habitat stamp program support, and pursued legislation to supplement license fee revenues with general funds. He also worked for water law revisions to recognize wildlife as a beneficial use. “I’m absolutely convinced that water in a reservoir is more economically beneficial to the public than water in an irrigation field,” he said. By John Crenshaw Department of Game and Fish -- retired F ormer Game and Fish Department Director Harold Olson, 77, passed away Oct. 16. He had served the state’s wildlife and people for 30 years as an agency employee, the last 10 as director, before retiring in 1988. He leaves behind his wife Jean, their six children, 11 grandchildren and six greatgrandchildren, as well as his extended game department family. The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies honored him with its “Director of the Year” award in 1988, recognizing Olson’s many contributions. Those began directly upon his joining the department in 1959, immediately after he earned his master’s degree in fisheries science from Utah State University. Starting as Northwest Area fisheries biologist, Olson did pre- and post-impoundment work on Navajo Lake and the San Juan River, developing a management plan for the San Juan that laid the foundation for a world-class fishery. He also overcame internal resistance to stocking Navajo Lake with anything but Harold Olson trout; anglers can credit him for its array of cold- and warm-water fish. Olson transferred to Roswell in 1970 as area supervisor (“Out of fish management and into everything,” he quipped in a 1994 interview), later becoming Northwest Area Supervisor, assistant director of field operations, then director. A broad-minded conservationist, he foresaw New Mexico’s demographic shift from rural to urban, writing in the 1978-79 annual report: “It becomes increasingly evident that a wildlife agency’s job is no longer merely providing the public with opportunities to hunt, fish and trap. It is, instead, guarding and nurturing the entire wildlife resource for the benefit of all people.” In that vein, Olson’s administration implemented Share with Wildlife, urban fisheries and the Sikes Act habitat program. He believed that mission required broader public He did not succeed with those, but did defeat management-crippling legislation: The Wildlife Privatization Act would have allowed private landowners to manage game on private land and grazing lessees to manage it on public lands. Another bill would have made the agency a division of Natural Resources. Under Olson, the agency began computer modeling of wildlife populations, pioneered drive nets to capture big game, rebuilt Los Ojos, Lisboa Springs and Red River hatcheries, and initiated the desert bighorn sheep restoration project. Bill Montoya, who succeeded Olson as director and worked closely with him, remembered him as a best friend whose character earned loyalty and respect. In his first year as director, Montoya wrote this still-fitting tribute to Olson: “His many years in service, and his rise through the ranks, exemplify the kind of dedication and professionalism the public has come to expect from this agency and its employees. He gave much to the department, the state, sportsmen, and especially, to wildlife; and he earned our heartfelt ‘Thank you, Harold, for a job well done.’” Page 12 l The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish CONSERVATIONIST 2012 DEPARTMENT EVENTS CALENDAR December April State Game Commission Meeting Dec. 13 Lordsburg www.wildlife.state.nm.us High-Plains Lesser Prairie Chicken Festival April 19-21 Milnesand www.wildlife.state.nm.us February Bear, turkey draw application deadline Feb. 6 www.wildlife.state.nm.us Harvest report deadline Feb. 15 All deer and elk hunters must report their harvest results. www.wildlife.state.nm.us (888) 248-6866 March “New Mexico Wildlife” Fall 2012 Read about hunters’ and anglers’ contributions to wildlife conservation; kokanee salmon snagging; bighorn sheep restoration; and more in the Fall 2012 edition of “New Mexico Wildlife.” Click here to read. Big-game draw application deadline March 20 Application deadline for public-land deer, elk, antelope, ibex, Barbary sheep, and bighorn sheep; and private-land deer licenses in Units 2A, 2B, 2C, 4 and 5A. www.wildlife.state.nm.us Contact: NMDGF (505) 476-8000 See Something Missing? Send your event information to Lance Cherry, firstname.lastname@example.org.