- Associated Press - Friday, February 7, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Penalties for poaching big game in New Mexico would increase under a bill moving through the Legislature.

The House Health, Government and Indian Affairs committee voted unanimously Thursday to crack down on hunters who illegally kill bighorn sheep, ibex, oryx, Barbary sheep, elk, deer and pronghorn antelope. State officials say at least 100 such animals are killed in New Mexico every year for their heads, horns or antlers.

Poaching the animals would become a fourth-degree felony under the bill by Republican Rep. Alonzo Baldonado of Valencia.

A fourth degree felony carries a prison sentence of up to 18 months and a fine of up to $5,000.

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