The state Game Commission meets Aug. 27 to consider trapping cougars, hunting bears and saving wolves.
Not on the agenda is another endangered species: the New Mexico Hunter.
According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the number of hunters nationwide declined slightly over the 20 years from1991-2011, even as total population rose by nearly a quarter.
Here in New Mexico, the number of hunting licenses issued fell about 9 percent between 2004 and 2013.
That may be a reflection of changing demographics. As the Baby Boom enters our creaky and overweight “Golden Years,” more and more of us are reluctant to trade the comforts of the man-cave and a warm bed for the pleasure of tramping the mountains on a frosty fall morning.
Another factor may be increasing urbanization, with more of us living in the city rather than in the small town farm-and-ranch country where hunting is traditional.
Whatever the cause, a decline in hunting participation is bad news both for the state’s economy and the wildlife we share the land with.
New Mexico’s 87,000 hunters spent more than $265 million on their sport in 2013 and contributed another $61 million to the state’s economy in labor, income and taxes, according to Game and Fish.