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The Jicarilla: A Premiere Hunting and Fishing Destination
Located in north-central New Mexico, the 850,000 acre Jicarilla Apache Reservation was established in 1887 as a homeland for the Jicarilla Apache people, who had historically roamed extensively across mountains and foothills in New Mexico and Colorado. The Jicarilla is rich in natural resources, including oil and gas, timber, rangelands, fisheries, and wildlife. Elevations range from 6,500-9,000ft, and the landscape varies from rugged pine covered mesas and pinyon-juniper woodlands to lowland sagebrush flats, several great fishing lakes, and the Navajo River. Dulce is the reservation's sole community with a population of approximately 3,000 people, and is home to the Jicarilla Apache Nation's headquarters.
Spectacular Hunting Opportunities
The Jicarilla represents a unique opportunity for wildlife management, since the Nation has jurisdiction over both habitat and wildlife, which is an uncommon situation in the west. This allows the Game and Fish Department to coordinate big game habitat and herd management strategies, resulting in spectacular hunting opportunities for sportsman seeking quality hunting experiences and trophy-class animals. Although Trophy Mule Deer are the hallmark of the Jicarilla Game Management Program, hunters are offered a variety of other high quality opportunities including Elk, Black Bear, Mountain Lion and Turkey.
Managing Wildlife on the Jicarilla Apache Nation
The Jicarilla Game and Fish Department (est. 1957) has a long history of professional wildlife management from which a world-class big-game hunting program has emerged and flourished. In 1982 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Indian tribes had sole jurisdiction and sovereign authority to manage fish and wildlife within reservation boundaries (Mescalero v. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish). The Nation expanded the Jicarilla Game and Fish Department (JGFD) and organized management capabilities into 4 divisions, which include 1) Administration, 2) Biological: Wildlife and Fisheries Management, 3) Conservation Law Enforcement, and 4) Parks and Recreation Divisions. To this day under sovereign right and authority, JGFD has sole management of wildlife, fish and their habitats on Jicarilla lands. Hunting is an important part of Jicarilla tradition and heritage and provides significant revenue to the local economy through commercial hunting opportunities. The Department recognizes hunting’s importance in the community and administers a limited entry conservative harvest policy focused on providing quality hunting experiences to tribal members, and non-tribal members alike.