The Wildlife Management Program is very active in collecting harvest information, implementing numerous habitat projects and conducting research programs. We are committed to implementing sound management principles and as a result will continue to produce quality big game animals and hunting opportunities for all to enjoy well into the future.
Funding for the projects comes from the hunting program along with supplimental funding from grants. We have partnered with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Natural Resources Conservation Services, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the USDA to make these programs a reality.
Since its inception in 2001, Acoma Game and Fish Enterprise has aggressively developed a management program for the Pueblo based on sound scientific principles. It has created a successful big game trophy hunting enterprise with revenues generated re-invested back into the program. Identifying deficiencies in data, the program developed management plans outlining short and long-term goals, initiated habitat improvements and implemented the collection and analysis of baseline data for its wildlife resources.
Water is an essential component in the arid Southwest. Through the development of solar wells and installation of water catchements, our program continues to increase water distribution throughout the reservation. This distribution aids in the utilization of available habitat by big game animals and increases population numbers.
Aerial Herd Composition Surveys
Surveys are conducted in January of each year to determine population numbers and herd composition. Big game animals are classified by species, sex and location. Males are classified into categories based on the number of antler points and large trophy animals are rough scored. Female and young of each species are also classified. The data collected is used to determine population dynamics, track population trends, and calculate sex ratios and recruitment rates.This data is used to create season structures, project allowable harvest numbers, and allow Acoma Game and Fish to make data based decisions for population management and habitat improvement projects.
Elk Telemetry Project
A total of 18 elk were collared with GPS collars to determine movement, seasonal habitat selection and critical habitat. The information will help better manage the herd and it’s habitat.
Habitat Improvement Projects
Additional habitat work has occurred on cactus and Pinion-juniper. A brush rake was used to mechanically remove Cholla cactus. The area was reseeded with Native Grasses to improve habitat for mule deer, pronghorn, quail and elk. We continue to utilize hydro-axe and so far have completed over 1,000 acres of pinon/juniper which was encroaching on natural meadows. The treatment area was also reseeded so elk and mule deer will benefit.
Mule Deer Study
Our ongoing Mule deer study is focused on survival, movement, resource use, seasonal habitat selection, and critical habitat across Acoma Lands. A mixture of 22 bucks and does were collared with Iridium GPS collars to collect location data through out each day. The location data is analyzed using modern statistical models. The information collected during this study allows our wildlife biologist to make science-based management recommendations to Tribal Administration and Council.