Hunters find locked gates during turkey season

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By Jill McLaughlin

Turkey hunters who are trying to access the hunting area in the southwest corner of the Valles Caldera National Preserve and areas of the Santa Fe National Forest this year are having a tough time. 

The roads to the main hunting grounds remained locked Friday with only 11 days left in the season.

Hunters could still access the area on foot and by horse or mountain bike in the Valles Caldera, but those who want to hunt turkeys in the Santa Fe National Forest are locked out until the snow melts.

“Most hunters tends to equate no access when we restrict vehicle access, but there’s other ways they can get around,” said Valles Caldera Spokeswoman Kimberly DeVall.

In the Valles Caldera, the best hunting grounds for the Merriam Turkeys are in the southwest corner, but the one road still has snow on it. Also, the wind storm last month knocked down many trees on the preserve and along the road that still need to be cleaned up, DeVall said.

Turkey hunting is allowed through permits awarded by the New Mexico Game and Fish Department. If hunters draw a permit through the lottery system, they have from April 15-30 to hunt turkeys in the state.

They also have to follow rules and regulations, and attend an orientation at the preserve to find out where they can hunt.

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