Open Gate Program in New Mexico


The Open Gate Program is a voluntary initiative designed to enhance public access to private lands for outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, and trapping. It operates through leasing agreements with private landowners statewide, facilitated by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF).

Program Features

Access to Private Lands

  • Leasing Lands and Waters: Private lands and waters are leased to provide public access for specific outdoor activities.
  • Activity Specific Rules: Each property has its own set of rules for permitted activities as agreed upon by the landowner and NMDGF.

Responsibilities and Etiquette

  • Rule Adherence: Users must know and follow the rules posted on each property or available online. Violations can result in citations.
  • Respectful Behavior: The program emphasizes the "Leave No Trace" principle, urging visitors to be respectful, maintain cleanliness, and express gratitude to landowners.

Incentives for Landowners

Financial Compensation

  • Lease Payments: Landowners receive payment based on the type and extent of access provided. This includes a per-acre rate for land leases and payments for right-of-way access to enable entry to otherwise unreachable state trust or federal lands.

Legal Protections

  • Liability Coverage: New Mexico offers liability protection to landowners participating in the Open Gate program, encouraging more to join.


The program is funded through a portion of the revenues from annual Habitat Management & Access Validation (HMAV) sales.

Participation and Further Information

Landowners interested in offering their lands for lease can learn more about the benefits, requirements, and process by visiting the NMDGF website or contacting the department directly. Outdoor enthusiasts looking to utilize these lands can also find detailed information, including available properties and specific rules, through the same resources. This initiative aims to create a mutually beneficial relationship between landowners and outdoor users, enhancing access to beautiful and resource-rich private lands across New Mexico.

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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.