Friday, October 3, 2008

Bruce Thompson's Hunting Privileges Revoked

The New Mexico Game Commission on Thursday revoked state Game and Fish Department director Bruce Thompson's hunting privileges for two years, the result of Thompson's shooting a deer on private property nearly a year ago in Lincoln County.

Thompson, who has headed Game and Fish since 2003, maintained that he inadvertently used incorrect Global Positioning System coordinates that put him on the privately owned Diamond T Ranch instead of adjacent public land.

In New Mexico, it is illegal to hunt on private property without written permission from the landowner. Although Thompson had a valid hunting license, he did not have the required permission to hunt on the Diamond T.

Thompson unsuccessfully contested the citation, issued by a Game and Fish officer, before a hearing officer last month. Though the Game Commission could have suspended Thompson's hunting privileges for three years, Joe Canepa, a Santa Fe attorney who served as the hearing officer, recommended a two-year suspension.

Thompson confirmed that the Game Commission, at its Thursday meeting in Alamogordo, accepted Canepa's recommendation and suspended his hunting privileges for two years.

"I'm pleased and proud of the department and the commission for allowing the appropriate judicial and administrative processes to work as they would be applied to any sportsman," Thompson said Thursday evening via phone. "That was completed today, and we should move on with conserving wildlife in New Mexico."

Thompson was fined $500 in state District Court in June after pleading no contest to a combined charge of unlawful hunting and illegal possession in connection with the November hunt.

The incident raised concerns among members of the New Mexico Conservation Officers Association about Thompson's leadership.

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