Publication Date



53 p. ; An outstanding student paper selected as a Honors Paper.


In 1989, the New Mexico State Game Commission (SGC) and Department of Game and Fish (DGF) promulgated the first of a new generation of regulations governing private landowner permits for elk. These regulations proposed to provide compensation to landowners for elk which invade and destroy their private property. With modifications, that original regulation was re-promulgated in 1995 as 19 N.M.A.C. 30.5, Private Land Elk License Allocation. The regulation requires landowners to demonstrate elk depredations, and once shown, allows the landowner access to a permit distribution system. Rather than "tooth and claw" depredations caused by large carnivores, elk cause "displacement" depredations. Because elk compete with other ruminants for the same forage in the same habitat, elk can damage the economic viability of private lands? The regulation intended to compensate landowners for this displacement and for physical damage to property. However, the compensation to landowners is indirect and imprecise because the DGF does not match the compensation to the depredations, but rather only matches the quantity of permits allocated to the depredations. Landowners must market the permits to receive the intended compensation, which leaves the actual compensation variable and inconsistent with the damage inflicted by elk. The regulation fails its purposes because landowners are not guaranteed compensation by the permitting process. The regulation is an inefficient allocation of wildlife resources because it shifts administrative costs to the landowner. This shift must be halted. This note will discuss regulatory options and recommend statutory authorization for a comprehensive administrative system. Section II will describe the process under the current regulatory system. Section III will discuss the shortcomings of this regulatory procedure. These shortcomings include both internal and external difficulties; Section III discusses both types. Finally, Section IV will outline the recommended changes to the regulatory and statutory structure.


University of New Mexico School of Law

Document Type

Student Paper

Included in

Law Commons



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