Photo from October Greenfield/Audubon potography awards. Courtesy/audubon.org
SANTA FE – As the spring turkey hunting season gets underway, the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF) reminds hunters and other visitors to make health and safety their top priority and follow federal guidelines and New Mexico state public health orders to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Wednesday, all five national forests in New Mexico prohibited campfires to reduce human-caused wildfire that would unnecessarily draw down fire resources and increase first responders’ exposure to COVID-19 as the Southwest prepares for the 2020 wildfire season.
The SFNF is also enforcing restrictions and closures to promote social distancing and prohibit groups of more than five. Developed campgrounds are closed to overnight camping, toilet facilities are locked and trash collection is suspended. Many forest service roads at higher elevations are still closed for seasonal conditions. Hunters are encouraged to contact the local Ranger District for current road status.
For additional safety measures, hunters should review the Forest Service website for hunting safety tips and rules that apply to all national forests and grasslands.
Turkey hunting season opened April 15 and closes May 10. All hunters are required to carry valid hunting licenses issued by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF). In addition, licensed hunters on National Forest System (NFS) or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands in New Mexico are required to purchase a Habitat Stamp from the NMDGF. The Habitat Stamp Program is a cooperative management program that provides ecologically diverse wildlife and fish habitats on NFS and BLM lands.
The use of drones for hunting or locating game is illegal in New Mexico. For additional information about New Mexico hunting rules and regulations, please visit the NMDGF website.
Hunters on the Santa Fe National Forest are required to follow travel management regulations, which designate roads, trails and areas that are open to motor vehicle use. The 2020 Motor Vehicle Use Maps are posted on the SFNF website.