New Mexico Trespassing - Hunting Laws and Regulations

Criminal Trespass Laws in New Mexico Related to Hunting

Understanding Criminal Trespass in the Context of Hunting and Outdoor Activities

Legal Framework for Trespass

The New Mexico Statutes Annotated (NMSA) 1978 provides a comprehensive legal basis for understanding and enforcing criminal trespass, especially in the context of hunting, fishing, or trapping. Key aspects of these laws include:

  • Section 30–14–1 NMSA 1978: This section defines criminal trespass and lays out the circumstances under which it applies. It focuses on unauthorized entry or remaining on private property without written permission from the landowner or person in control.

Categories of Criminal Trespass

The law categorizes criminal trespass into several specific scenarios:

  1. Trespass on Posted Private Property: Entering or remaining on posted private property without written permission constitutes criminal trespass. Exceptions include properties with NMDGF agreements for public access or possession of a landowner license for hunting or fishing.

  2. Trespass on Unposted Lands: Knowingly entering or remaining on unposted private lands without consent is also criminal trespass. This is determined by the absence of consent from the owner or occupant.

  3. Trespass on State or Political Subdivision Lands: The law extends to properties owned, operated, or controlled by the state or its political subdivisions.

  4. Damage to Property: Trespassers causing injury, damage, or destruction to any part of the realty or its improvements are guilty of a misdemeanor and liable for civil damages.

  5. Removal or Tampering with No Trespass Signs: Knowingly removing or tampering with "no trespass" signs is a petty misdemeanor, with escalated penalties for damages exceeding $1,000.

Consequences of Criminal Trespass

The law stipulates clear penalties for those found guilty of criminal trespass:

  • Misdemeanor Offenses: Criminal trespass is generally treated as a misdemeanor.

  • Revocation of Licenses: Violations connected with hunting, fishing, or trapping activities can lead to a minimum three-year revocation of licenses by the State Game Commission.

Posting Requirements for Trespass

Guidelines for Property Owners

Property owners wishing to prevent trespass must adhere to specific posting requirements:

  • Notice Placement and Specifications: Notices must be posted along boundaries and at access points, with clear prohibitions and relevant information. They must be legible, of a certain size, and include specific prohibitions like "no hunting" or "no fishing."

  • Prohibition Against Posting Public Lands: Illegally posting public lands is a petty misdemeanor.

Regulations Regarding Hunting on Private Property

Written Permission Requirement

Hunting on private property in New Mexico is regulated by strict requirements:

  • Mandatory Written Permission: Hunters must have written permission to hunt on private property unless exempted by specific agreements or rules.

  • Seizure of Illegally Taken Game: Any game taken in violation of trespass laws is subject to seizure.

  • Exceptions: Certain properties under unitization agreements or those receiving compensation for public access are exempt from the written permission requirement.

Definition of Written Permission

The law specifies what constitutes valid written permission:

  • Contents of the Permission Document: It must include verifiable details like the person's name, permitted activities, property location, granting authority's contact information, and duration of the permission.

  • Licenses as Written Permission: In some cases, licenses issued for private land hunting with the ranch name printed on them may serve as written permission.

For more details on these regulations and to download the required forms, hunters can visit the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish website at

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.