10% of tags allocated to hunters contracted with outfittersNew Mexico offers some of the best elk hunting in the West because the state limits the number of hunters. Many bulls get old enough to grow bragging-size racks because all hunters, residents as well as nonresidents, must draw permits in the annual tag lottery or acquire one of the limited landowner vouchers. The good news is that 10% of all tags are set aside for customers of outfitters, making them much easier to draw. Some hunt choices offer 100% drawing odds if you book a guided hunt.
Landowner vouchers also availableIf you don't draw a tag, we can usually find a landowner voucher. Prices vary according to demand. Vouchers cost $5,000 or more in the better units. We don't charge extra for vouchers, simply passing the cost to you. This outfitter operates in most of the best units in New Mexico, most of them in southern and western New Mexico, but Hunts.Net President Rich LaRocco hunted in one of his northern areas last year and had a great hunt, taking a 337 6/8 bull during archery season. These units produce some great bulls every year and in good forage years yield a handful of elk large enough to qualify for entry in the Boone and Crockett record books. These are wild, free-ranging animals and are not easy to hunt, however, so realistically you cannot expect to get a shot at a record-book animal. You are more likely to have chance at a mature bull in the 300-340" range.
Hunter success varies from year to year and depends largely on a hunter's physical conditioning and shooting skills. Though the terrain is not nearly as rough or rugged as is typical in the northern Rockies, the ability to hike is still important. Hunters in poor shape usually can get a shot but can't afford to be as selective because they don't get as many good shooting opportunities.
Hunting quality is superior to what hunters find in most other areas of the West. Hunter density is much lower and the numbers of mature bulls are far higher than in most of the West.Some of the best areas are limited to archery and muzzleloader hunting only. In-line muzzleloaders equipped with scopes of any power are legal, and they can utilize modern primers. A hunter in good shape has an excellent chance of taking a big bull if he has a muzzleloader capable of making long shots and knows how to use it.
Applicants get three hunt choices that mean somethingYou can dramatically increase your odds of drawing a tag by applying for three different hunt choices, using your last choice for a less popular season or unit. When your number is drawn (or your group's number), the state considers all of your choices before drawing another number. This means you could draw your third choice while another person might be rejected for the same tag even if listed as a first choice. Some popular websites and hunting magazines publish incorrect drawing odds, failing to consider all the choices made by all applicants.
Playing the drawing game is important, however, because New Mexico's outfitter allocation system offers you perhaps the best chance of drawing a tag for a hunt that gives you a legitimate chance of taking a once-in-a-lifetime bull.