Is It Illegal To Kill Pigeons In New Mexico [Yes, But Why]

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Pigeons are intelligent. They have evolved and learned to live with the changes. Unlike other birds, they prefer to live in tall buildings. It is their easy way of food source. But it is a nuisance for humans. So, is it illegal to kill pigeons in New Mexico? 

Yes. It is illegal to kill pigeons in New Mexico without any valid reason. There are eight pigeon species living in the state. But few of them are protected, and others are not. So, you can take down the unprotected species at any time with no limit.  

You can take down protected pigeons only during Small games. Continue reading the article to learn more about it. 

Which Type Of Pigeons Are Illegal To Hunt And Eat In New Mexico? 

In New Mexico, it is illegal to hunt Migratory pigeons off-season. So, you can take down these species only on the allowed dates. These pigeon species include the Mourning dove, White-winged dove, Inca doves, Rudy ground doves, Band-tailed pigeons, and Commo ground doves.  

It is legal to hunt these pigeons and doves in Small games. That begins in February and ends in March. The wildlife authorities have assigned dates for each species according to their breeding season. So, you cannot hunt more than the daily bag count or possession limit. You cannot harvest more than 15 birds of each species.  

Other pigeon species in New Mexico are Rock pigeons and Eurasian collared doves. You can hunt former specie all year with no restriction. But, it is legal to hunt later during September with no harvest limit. 

However, eating pigeons is legal in the state. You can eat the protected and unprotected species as long as it proves that you haven’t to hunt it solely for eating. 

Why Is It Illegal To Hunt And Eat Pigeon In New Mexico? 

It is legal to hunt Migratory pigeons and doves only during Small games. The state authorities don’t allow the hunting of these birds all year. So, you will have to wait for the hunting festival. The state protects these birds as per the law.  

In 1918, the USA signed an MBTA along with Mexico, Japan, and Canada to protect migratory birds. According to this act, it is illegal to harm, kill, trade, or transfer these birds without state permission. So, Hunters who wish to hunt migratory pigeons and doves will have to wait for the Small games. Not abiding by the law can cause you a hefty fine.  

The state does allow eating pigeon and dove meat. You can also eat the pigeons harvested during the game. But, it is better to avoid eating Rock pigeons as they carry many pathogens. 

Laws Governing About Pigeon Shooting In New Mexico State

The shooting rules are to guide hunters on the safe removal of the nuisance bird. Hunters must go through the state shooting and hunting rules to learn all the essential tips. These laws are for the people who plan to hunt pigeons in New Mexico. 

Hunter education course 

Hunter education course is to meet the safety hunting standards in New Mexico. It is the course on behalf of the government and teaches the laws and responsibilities of hunting. You must have access to the internet to take online classes. There is a quiz at the end of each unit. You must obtain at least eighty percent marks in that test to move to the next. After completing online lectures, print the completion certificate. The minimum age for this course is ten. 

Hunting License  

All hunters must possess a hunting license, irrespective of age and residence. People can purchase a hunting license online or through a New Mexico wildlife agent. However, hunters will have to revoke their hunting licenses each year. The cost of the hunting license is different for residents and non-residents.  

Hunters as young as eight years can hunt pigeons and participate in small games. But they must possess a hunting license. So, to ensure young hunters’ safety, they must be under the supervision of an adult licensed hunter. Also, the supervisor should be above the age of 21.   


Hunters can only use a shotgun for shooting migratory pigeons in New Mexico. The gun must not be larger than ten gauges and cannot hold more than three shells. So, if the shotgun has three pellets inside but can hold more, you cannot use it for shooting pigeons. But, to hunt other pigeon species, you can use air rifles. Additionally, hunters can also use bows and arrows but not crossbows.   

Private property  

New Mexico wildlife control doesn’t remove the nuisance pigeon. However, it allows individuals to take care of themselves on their own. It is legal to shoot pigeons on your property. But you will need a permit from the authorities. Also, the land must be at least two to three acres.   

Much of the land in New Mexico is under private owners. So, seasonal hunters will need a permit. The permit is permission from the landowner to hunt on their land. So, hunters must respect the rights and property of the landowner. Not following the rules can result in the cancellation of a hunting license for three years. 

Migratory Bird Act   

The Migratory bird act prohibits the killing of Migratory pigeons and doves off-season. In New Mexico, there are six Migratory pigeon species. The state protects these pigeons and doves. So, you cannot hunt them without a permit. You will have to wait for a small game to hunt migratory pigeons. These species are part of the MBTA or Migratory Bird Treaty Act. According to this act, it is illegal to harm, kill, trade, or transfer these birds without state permission. 

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Pigeons In New Mexico State? 

It is illegal to cause any harm to pigeons in New Mexico. You can take down pigeons as long as you follow the rules. Hunting of unprotected species is open all year. But you will have to wait for the hunting festival to shoot migratory pigeons and doves. The points below will assist you in shooting pigeons.  

  • The hunting license is issued after you complete a basic hunting training program.    
  • Get your hunting license online or via an agent. You must have a hunting license on the field. It can be on an e-device or in print. 
  • For shooting on private land, get permission from the land owner. Using land without a permit is trespassing.    
  • It is not legal to shoot across the highway or in residential areas.   
  • Avoid shooting pigeons in residential areas. The state does not allow the use of firearms within two acres of a residence or any dwellings.   
  • Carry all the gadgets, including safety headphones and glasses, to the hunting field.    
  • Use a high-quality legal weapon, including a shotgun and air rifle.   
  • Hunters cannot use decoys, electronic calls, or food to attract Mourning doves. But you can use these tricks for Feral pigeons.  
  • Submit the daily harvest and possession count of Migratory pigeons and doves by filling out the forum online.   
  • Ensure proper disposal of dead pigeons.    


The wildlife authorities allow the hunting and killing of pigeons. So, shooting and hunting pigeons is easy if you know the rules. The law teaches the hunters basic ethics and responsibilities. The first necessary step is completing the Hunting education course and purchasing a hunting license. Hence, go through all the rules before going on pigeon hunting.  

In New Mexico, you can kill, shoot and hunt pigeons. But, it is illegal to cause harm to Migratory pigeons or doves. You can take down these pigeons only during Small games. Hunters can only shoot or hunt 15 while possessing 45 per day.