Outfitted Hunts in New Mexico (2023–2024)

Choosing a Reputable Outfitter

  • Registered Outfitters: It's essential to book your hunt with an outfitter registered with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF). The list of registered outfitters is updated weekly and can be found on the NMDGF website.
  • Research and References: Prospective hunters are advised to thoroughly research potential outfitters. This includes asking for references from both successful and unsuccessful hunters to get a balanced view of the outfitter's services. While online searches are valuable, hunters should remember that online presences can be misleading.
  • Inquiries and Preparation: It is recommended to ask detailed questions about the hunt and make a list of all the things you want during your hunt. Taking notes during discussions with the outfitter is also beneficial.
  • Type of Land for Hunting: Understanding whether the hunting will occur on private or public land is crucial.
  • Public-Land Draw Hunts: When applying for public-land draw hunts, using an outfitter might improve your odds of drawing a license. It is advised to refer to the “outfitter list” and search for outfitters that have “Yes” in the 10% pool column.
  • 10% Pool License Conditions: For those drawing a 10% pool license, it is mandatory that the outfitter or their guide is physically present with the hunter for at least the first two days during the contracted dates of the hunt.

Legal and Contractual Aspects

  • Contracts Requirement: By law, all hunts must be accompanied by a signed contract before applying in the draw or for private-land hunts. The contract should clearly state the terms, hunt dates, guide-to-hunter-client ratio, and compensation charged.
  • Outfitted Hunts on Private Land: These hunts must be conducted by a registered outfitter, the landowner, their authorized agent, or their ranch employees. If you're planning to book a hunt with an agent who is not a registered outfitter, it is advised to contact NMDGF beforehand.
  • Private-Land Authorizations: Understanding the difference between ranch-only and unit-wide authorizations is essential. Ranch-only authorizations are restricted to the property’s deeded acreage and are not valid on public land.

Compliance and Illegal Outfitting

  • Verification of Registration: Before engaging with an outfitter, verify that they are on the registered list provided by NMDGF. Conducting business with unregistered individuals is illegal.
  • Guide vs. Outfitter Distinction: It is important to understand that guides are not outfitters. Booking a hunt directly with a guide, bypassing an outfitter, is against the law.
  • Contact Information: For more details or to verify the registration of an outfitter, you can email DGF-GuideOutfitter@dgf.nm.gov or call 505-476-8066.

Management Hunts

Population Management Hunts

  • Species Selection: These hunts are available for Barbary sheep, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, ibex, javelina, oryx, or pronghorn.
  • Application Process: Hunters interested in population management hunts must select the 5th-choice option on the draw application for the appropriate species. Applications must be completed online or by telephone by March 22 before 5 p.m.
  • Eligibility Criteria: To be eligible for a population management hunt, applicants must apply for at least one regular draw hunt choice for the same species.
  • Hunt Notification and Acceptance: If a population management hunt is scheduled, NMDGF officials will contact selected hunters with details about the hunt areas, dates, bag limit, allowable sporting arms, and any special restrictions. Hunters can accept or decline the hunt offer.

White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) Hunts

  • WSMR Eligibility: For hunts on WSMR, applicants need to enter a hunt authorization code from an approved 2023 WSMR security sponsor.
  • Population Management Hunt Fees: Hunters accepting a 5th-choice hunt must purchase the appropriate license(s) with tags. Access fees may apply for hunts on federal lands like WSMR and Jornada Experimental Range.

Harvest Reporting and Late Fees

  • Reporting Deadline: Harvest reports for late-season management hunts must be submitted by April 7 to maintain draw eligibility. It's recommended to report by telephone to avoid late fees.

Enhancement Hunts

General Information

  • Partnerships: NMDGF collaborates with non-profit organizations dedicated to wildlife conservation to conduct auctions and raffles for special hunting permits.
  • Use of Proceeds: All proceeds from enhancement hunts are exclusively used for habitat enhancement, conservation, research, and management projects in New Mexico.

Types of Enhancement Hunts

  • Auctioned Hunts:

    1. Two big game enhancement packages including authorizations for deer, elk, ibex, oryx, and pronghorn.
    2. Two bighorn sheep authorizations, one each for Rocky Mountain and desert bighorn sheep.
    3. Additional authorizations for specific species such as fork-antlered deer, mature bull elk, and bearded Gould’s turkey.
  • Raffled Hunts: Similar offerings to the auctioned hunts, with specific season dates and conditions.

Season Dates and Specifics

  • Detailed season dates are provided for each species, including extended seasons for certain types of game.

Premium Statewide Deer and Elk Hunts

Tribute to NMDGF Employees

  • These premium hunts are conducted in honor of Austin Roberts and Ocie Gray, NMDGF employees who tragically passed away in a plane crash in 1960.

Hunt Details

  • Hunt Codes: DER–1–700 for deer and ELK–1–700 for elk.
  • Hunting Flexibility: These hunts allow the use of any big-game sporting arm and are valid in any unit statewide, including NMDGF’s wildlife management areas and private land (with permission).
  • Duration: These hunts are available from September 1, 2023, to January 31, 2024.

Drawing and Quota Information

  • The premium hunts are available through the draw and are subject to a quota system. Nonresident and outfitted applicants have a significantly lower chance of drawing.

Additional Information and Resources

  • For comprehensive details, including licenses, applications, harvest reporting, and general hunting information, hunters can visit the NMDGF website or contact them directly at 1-888-248-6866.

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.