Cougars in New Mexico
Cougars are known by many names, including puma, mountain lion, and panther. The New Mexico State Game Commission and the department are responsible for establishing, reviewing, and setting rules and regulations for hunting cougars.
Cougars were historically considered varmints and there were no limits on the number of cougars that could be harvested per year. Classification was converted from varmint to game animal in 1971 due to concern over shrinking cougar numbers and distribution. Poison, traps, and snares were prohibited, as was killing spotted kittens and female cougars with young. Hunting was limited to the southwest quadrant of New Mexico with a bag limit of 1 cougar, and a 4 month hunting season. This was gradually expanded to include the rest of the state, a bag limit of 2 cougars, and an 11 month season. All harvested cougars were required to be pelt-tagged by Department personnel. The season was later shortened to 4 months with a bag limit of 1 cougar.
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