Guide to Choosing Outfitted Hunts in New Mexico
Ensuring a Reputable Outfitter Experience
- Registration Check: Always book with an outfitter registered with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF). Check the updated list on the NMDGF website.
- Seek References: Request both successful and unsuccessful hunter references to get a balanced view of what to expect.
- Inquire Thoroughly: List all your queries and expectations to discuss with the outfitter. Clarify whether you'll be hunting on private or public land.
- Understand Draw Hunts: Using an outfitter for public-land draw hunts might improve your draw odds. Ensure the outfitter is eligible for the 10% pool and understand the terms.
Legal and Contractual Obligations
- Contracts Requirement: By law, a contract outlining the terms, dates, guide ratio, and fees must be signed before applying for draws or private land hunts.
- Guide Accompaniment: For 10% pool licenses, the guide must physically accompany you for at least the first two days of the hunt.
Private Land Hunts Specifics
- Outfitter or Agent: On private lands, hunts must be conducted by a registered outfitter or legally authorized agents of the landowner.
- Private-Land Authorizations: Be aware of the difference between ranch-only and unit-wide authorizations. Understand the size and restrictions of the property before booking.
- Verification: Verify the registration status of the outfitter or agent, as it's illegal to conduct business with unregistered individuals. Guides cannot act as outfitters.
What to Do If Issues Arise
- Reporting Issues: If an outfitter isn't listed as registered or if you have other concerns, contact NMDGF directly before proceeding with any bookings.