Free fishing day set for Saturday

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SANTA FE – Saturday is National Hunting and Fishing Day and to celebrate, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is offering free fishing in the state.
Residents and non-residents of all ages can fish without a license at public waters in New Mexico.
 “We want to encourage New Mexicans to get out with their families and enjoy their wildlife resources, and celebrating National Hunting and Fishing Day on free fishing day is a great way to do that,” Department Fisheries Chief Mike Sloane said.
Game and Fish and New Mexico State Parks are also partnering to provide a day of family fun at Fenton Lake State Park. Department staff will be on hand to give expert instruction and hands-on training in outdoor skills such as fishing and archery.
First-time anglers are encouraged to come learn a new skill.
Activities at Fenton Lake will be from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and will include free archery and fishing instruction, aquatics education and more.
The state park charges a $5 per vehicle day-use fee. Walk-in entry is free.
Fenton Lake State Park is owned by the State Game Commission and managed by New Mexico State Parks.
For more information about National Hunting and Fishing Day activities at Fenton Lake State Park, call 575-829-3630.

Bull elk found dead, poaching is suspected

ALMA – New Mexico Department of Game and Fish conservation officer KC Gehrt recovered a dead trophy bull elk outside of Reserve Sept. 4.
It is suspected by Game and Fish the elk was killed by poachers.
Hunters discovered the rotting — but completely intact — elk carcass in a canyon 1-1/2miles east of Little Round Mountain. Hunters in the area last saw the massive elk alive Sept. 1.
After examining the elk Gehrt was able to find what appeared to be trauma to internal organs, in particular to the tops of the lungs, which would be consistent with injuries caused by a small caliber bullet.
Due to extent that the elk had decomposed, Gehrt was not able to find the bullet.
“In the past, poachers have waited to return to an animal because they couldn’t find it or they were waiting to claim the animal when they had a hunting license,” Gehrt said. “That is what I suspect happened here. The wanton waste in this situation is sickening. It’s one of the reasons that trophy poaching should be a treated as a felony.”
Gehrt measured the elk’s antler length to be 422.375 inches, just shy of the Safari Club International (SCI) New Mexico Big Game Record of 437.625 inches (typical).
Although archery season opened Sept. 1 in Game Management Unit 23, it is illegal to hunt elk with a firearm during archery season.
Anyone with information about this crime is urged to call Operation Game Thief toll-free, 800-432-4263, or to visit wildlife.state.nm.us.
Callers can remain anonymous and may earn rewards if information leads to charges being filed.