SANTA FE – A First Judicial District Court judge has ordered the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to turn over the names and addresses of all successful big-game applicants for the years 2015 through April 23, 2019 to Los Alamos County resident James Whitehead.
Additionally, the New Mexico Court of Appeals ordered the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to turn over the email addresses of individuals who applied for state hunting licenses for the years 2015 through 2016 to former Land Commissioner Aubrey Dunn.
Both decisions conclude that information collected from the public in connection with the administration of its public duties falls within the meaning of public records and are subject to disclosure.
In 2017, Dunn requested the names and email addresses of more than 300,000 applicants for New Mexico hunting licenses. Whitehead requested the detailed draw results, names and addresses of all successful applicants, units applied for and units drawn. The Department provided names to Dunn, but denied the additional requests by both parties. As a result, both parties filed lawsuits pursuant to the state Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA).
“The Department argued against the release, but ultimately lost,” said Director Michael Sloane. “We value the privacy of our customers’ personal information but recognize that is the courts’ interpretation of the current IPRA law.”
The Department will release the requested information today and wants to make their customers aware. Individuals who believe they are being harassed by solicitors or similar as a result of this release should call toll-free (844) 255-9210 or file a complaint online at www.nmag.gov/file-a-complaint.aspx.