NM Game Commission chairman resigns after cougar hunt

Posted at: 02/19/2014 8:55 AM
By: Kim Tobin, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The New Mexico Game Commission chairman has resigned over his involvement in a cougar hunt near Tucumcari.

While it's perfectly legal to hunt a cougar in New Mexico, state law requires the hunter to have a valid license and to be present for the hunt and kill. That's where things went wrong in this case.

State Game Commission Chairman Scott Bidegain was with four other hunters when the cougar was killed on Feb. 9. They were on the Bidegain family cattle ranch that straddles San Miguel and Quay counties north of Tucumcari. 

According to the criminal complaint, Bidegain aided "in the killing of a cougar that was pursued by dogs without the licensed hunter." The hunter with the cougar license apparently did not show up until after the dogs were released.

Bidegain resigned over the weekend, saying it was in the best interests of the Game Commission.

Officials with the state Game and Fish Department say it's likely others in the hunting party will be charged in the cougar killing.