Doña Ana County Sheriff’s deputies will be on heightened alert this Labor Day weekend, conducting saturation patrols and ensuring safety in remote areas of the county as bird season opens to hunters on Sept. 1.
Through a federal grant from the Bureau of Land Management, deputies will add patrol operations throughout the public recreation areas of Aguirre Springs, Dripping Springs and the picnic area at the base of A Mountain east of the New Mexico State University campus.
The holiday weekend also brings an increase in hunting activity along the Rio Grande as the season opens to bird hunting on Sunday.
Deputies warn hunters to be mindful of rules and ordinances using firearms near residential areas. By law, hunters are not allowed to shoot from within 150 yards of a dwelling or building, and are not to shoot within 40 feet of a graded or maintained public roadway.
Residents in the north valley subdivision of Rocky Acres have expressed concern to the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Office over an increase in hunting activity where hunters are not obeying posted signs that prohibit them from being on private land.
“The area where we live along the river is thick with vegetation, and it is difficult for hunters to see traffic along the access roads to our private property and our neighbor’s property,” said Linda Duval, who recently called a meeting with Sheriff Todd Garrison and about two dozen other concerned landowners in the area north of Shalem Colony Trail.
“We had a neighbor who had a bullet go through the exterior of their home during deer season,” said Duval. “So to us, it’s not a matter of if someone will get hurt, it’s when someone will get hurt.”
Hunting along the river from Shalem Colony Trail to the Leasburg Dam is currently prohibited, but is being reconsidered by the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC). A decision whether or not to allow hunting in the area will likely not come until after the Sept. 1 hunting season opens to dove, grouse and band-tailed pigeons.
The IBWC has posted signs along the river near Shalem Colony Trail prohibiting any type of weapon, hunting, or access by motor vehicle.