It's that time of year when hunters head into the field to enjoy public lands and carry on our time honored tradition of hunting with family and friends. Sometimes during these outings we encounter wrongly locked gates on state trust land. If you run into a gate that you believe to be wrongly locked, here's what to do.
1. Determine if the gate is wrongly locked. The right to enter State Trust Land is assured if access is available by public road (defined in Section 67-2-1, NMSA 1978) or across other public lands or trails. However, sportsmen must get written landowner permission to cross private land where no public access exists to get to the public land.
2. Get location coordinates and incident data. Record a description and location of what happened. GPS location of the problem gate would be best. If that is not possible, please document the location some other way so we can find it, communicate it to others as needed, and address the problem. You can also take a picture of the locked gate to help the authorities identify it.
3. Contact the local NMDGF Conservation Officer. Call NMDGF Law Enforcement. You an ID the Conservation Officer in your area using this map or contact Field Operations at (505) 476-8066. If you are calling during off-hours you should be able to leave a message.
4. Contact the local SLO District Resource Manager (DRM). You can find a directory of DRMs by going to this page (http://nmstatelands.org/staff-directory-2.aspx) and clicking to expand the Surface Resources Division directory. All of the District Offices are listed. If you have any questions about which DRM to contact, call the SLO front office at (505) 827-5760.
5. Submit an Incident Report to the State Land Office: When you get to a computer, use the new “Multiple Use Incident Reporting Form” to document what you encountered and share that information with State Land Office staff.”
The State Land Office is working on improving processes to make incident reporting easier in the future. NM BHA will be sure to keep our members updated on the process as it evolves. Thank you for reporting locked gates in a timely and respectful manner and helping us maintain access!