What should I do if I harvest a tagged or collared animal?

Some big-game species hunted in New Mexico may have radio collars or ear tags to collect data and monitor herd health. Harvest of these animals is legal, and the edible portions must be transported from the field for human consumption.

During captures, radio collars are attached to animals to aid in tracking and monitoring the animals’ movements and status. Signals emitted from the collars allow biologists to determine the animal’s location, either by tracking with an antenna or by satellite GPS location. These collars will also emit different signals that can inform biologists whether the animal is alive or dead.

Ear tags can also be attached to animals during Department captures. Some of these ear tags are also radio tracking transmitters, functioning signal similar to a radio collar. Ear tag transmitters are often easier to attach to young animals than collars since their necks will continue to grow in size as they mature.

Other ear tags are just numbered plastic tags similar to livestock ear tags. While not as informative as transmitters, these numbered tags still allow biologists to related that animal to a specific capture event or study location.

If you harvest a collared or ear-tagged animal, please contact the Department immediately at 1-888-248-6866 (weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or 1-800-432-4263 (after hours and weekends).

For more about one of the Department’s many efforts to monitor heard health, check out this article: Department Conducts Largest Elk Capture in New Mexico from New Mexico Wildlife e-newsletter.

Collared ram. Department photo by Martin Perea.


It is the mission of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to conserve, regulate, propagate and protect the wildlife and fish within the State of New Mexico, using a flexible management system that ensures sustainable use for public food supply, recreation and safety—and to provide for off-highway motor vehicle recreation that recognizes cultural, historic and resource values while ensuring public safety.