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NM - Game director's hunting license may be revoked

NM game director's hunting license may be revoked

The Associated Press
Tuesday, September 16, 2008

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.: The head of New Mexico's Game and Fish Department could lose his hunting license for two years after he was accused of illegally shooting a deer on private land.

An independent hearing officer heard testimony Monday about a November 2007 incident in which director Bruce Thompson shot a deer on the Diamond T Ranch west of Roswell. It's illegal to hunt on private property in New Mexico without permission from the landowner.

Thompson, who had a valid deer-hunting license, said he believed he was on U.S. Bureau of Land Management land, based on coordinates entered in his GPS unit. He also said he expects to be treated like any other hunter who violated the rules without intending to do so.

The hearing officer made a preliminary recommendation that Thompson's hunting license be revoked for two years. A final recommendation is expected in 10 days.

The state Game Commission, which has the final say, will likely consider the hearing officer's recommendation at its Oct. 2 meeting. Thompson sits on the seven-member board.

Commission chairman Tom Arvas said it will be a difficult decision, just like all revocations.

"In this case, I think the commission is going to do what it considers the right thing," he said. "They've always done it in the past and I have a lot of faith they'll do it with this case."

Department spokesman Dan Williams said policy is clear when it comes to cases like Thompson's.

Each of the counts he pleaded no contest to earlier this year unlawful hunting and illegal possession of a deer carry a 10-point penalty. Once a hunter reaches 20 points, his or her license can be revoked for up to three years.

As a result of his no contest plea, Thompson also was fined and ordered to serve 182 days of unsupervised probation.

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