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There’s not enough evidence to close road

May 3, 2017 • Dear Editor

I am a lifelong New Mexico hunter. Hunting is not a sport or a pasttime for me, it is a way of life. It seems that more often lately that way of life is being threatened.
Recently, a landowner has proposed closing the Felix Canyon Road off Highway 13. This is an access point to thousands of acres of public land. If this landowner is successful, public land hunters will have to drive more than 40 miles one way to Highway 82 to access that public land. Roads north of him have also been closed over the years, already limiting our access.
That landowner has stated at two County Commission meetings that he is having trouble with vandalism, poaching and theft, while a local game warden claims he has obtained records from the sheriff’s office with no findings of vandalism and theft. The game warden claimed he had investigated two poaching cases in six years and prosecuted one case.
The landowner also feels there is increased pressure during hunting season. This does not make sense to me because the deer and sheep hunts are draw hunts, which limit the amount of hunters.
If this road closure happens, the hunting traffic will significantly increase to this landowner’s neighbor to the west. This leads me to believe that eventually, another road from 82 will be closed, effectively locking the hunters out.
At the Land Council meeting on April 27, the commissioners had selected a committee to conduct the meeting. As this land owner presented his case, only one committee member stated that he had not provided ample evidence of vandalism and theft while the rest of them voted to recommend that the road be closed.
In my way of thinking, if the commissioners want to close a road, denying access to the public who have bought and paid for that road in tax dollars, they would need to provide strong evidence of all complaints. That evidence was not provided.
The next meeting on this matter is at 9 a.m. May 18 at the County Commissioner’s Office. I am calling on my fellow hunters to please get involved. If you cannot come to the meeting, please send an email stating that you oppose this road closure. Their email address can be found on this website, co.chaves.nm.us/232/County-Commission.
Mark Pantuso
Roswell

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