The state Game and Fish Department is asking a federal court to lift a decades-old order preventing the agency from providing New Mexico residents with more licenses to hunt bighorn sheep, ibex and oryx.
The department wants the U.S. District Court to lift an injunction in place since 1977. The court determined that New Mexico discriminated against out-of-state hunters by setting quotas on how many licenses would be issued to them.
A 1997 state law established license limits for out-of-state residents to hunt big game, including elk, deer and antelope. But the department can't give New Mexicans a preference for ibex, oryx and bighorn sheep licenses because of the court order.
The department said a 2005 federal appeals court ruling upheld license allocations in Wyoming similar to New Mexico's system.