New Mexico’s application periods open early in the year. Hunters can begin applying for Deer, Elk, Pronghorn Antelope, Barbary Sheep (Aoudad), Bighorn Sheep, Desert Bighorn Sheep, Ibex, Javelina, Oryx, and Black Bear in mid-January. Application periods run through mid-March, giving applicants some time to finalize a plan. The exception is black bear applications, due in early February.
Random Draw and Preference Points
New Mexico’s draws are completely random. New Mexico does not have a preference or bonus point system. This, of course, has its pros and cons: Every applicant has the same chance to draw, but those who apply every year are not rewarded with better odds.
Draw Pools: Resident, Non-resident, Guided
Each hunt in New Mexico has 84% of tags allocated to residents. Up to 6% of tags are allocated to non-residents. And finally, up to 10% of tags for each hunt are available to applicants applying with a registered guide.
There are a few important things to consider about New Mexico’s draw pools:
- The pools are broken down per hunt, not for the entire draw.
- The 84% tag allocation for residents is guaranteed, while the 6% non-resident and 10% guided pools are “up to.”
- These two factors mean that some hunts may actually have 0 non-resident tags available. It could be mathematically impossible for residents to have an 84% tag allocation while allowing tags for non-residents or guides. The number of total available tags and the number of applicants can impact the availability of certain hunts to non-residents and guides.
The 10% guide pool is available to both residents and non-residents. Hiring a guide can increase your draw odds, particularly if you are a non-resident. Hunters applying in the guide pool should have an agreement in place and apply using the outfitter’s guide number. If successfully drawn, you’ll be required to hunt with the guide in the field for a minimum of two days. Unlike Nevada’s Guided Draw, outfitters do not have to apply on your behalf.
New Mexico’s draw takes place in the spring. Results for all big game species are usually available in late April. Draw dates are updated in DrawScout as they are made available.
Visit the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish for additional information about the draw.
If your application is chosen in New Mexico’s draw, your first three hunt choices are considered before moving on to the next applicant. This has some similarities to the Arizona big game draws but is a bit different than many other states. For example, in the Wyoming draw, all first choices are considered for every applicant before moving on to second choices. In the case of Wyoming, some hunts simply aren’t available as a second choice. In New Mexico, simply putting a hunt as a second or third choice doesn’t mean you can’t draw that hunt. Be sure to consider this nuance when making your hunt choices.
The fourth and fifth hunt choices in New Mexico work a bit differently than the first through third. If there are leftover tags after all applicants’ 1-3 choices have been considered, the fourth and fifth choices will then be considered. But by including a fourth and fifth choice, you are agreeing to accept any leftover tag and may end up with a tag that you did not choose.
Costs for Applying in New Mexico
In addition to an application fee of $13, applicants must also pay the full cost of their chosen tags upfront and purchase any required licenses. If unsuccessful, the tag costs are refunded. The application fees and hunting licenses are not refunded.
Applicants must purchase a Game Hunting License or combination hunting and fishing license to apply for the draw. Additionally, a Habitat Management and Access Validation license is required, and a Habitat Stamp is required to hunt on Forest Service or BLM land.
New Mexico’s leftover tags go on sale in the summer, usually around late June. During the first 24 hours, leftover tags are only available to residents.
OTC tags may be available for javelina and turkey, as well as private land deer, antelope, elk, and barbary sheep tags.
Private land antelope licenses are unlimited and available over-the-counter. Hunters must secure access to private land or hire an outfitter who has permission to access private ranches before hunting.
Ibex also have an OTC tag available, but the successful harvest rates are extremely low. Be sure to consider the difficulty of this hunt before purchasing.
Plan Your Applications in DrawScout
DrawScout can help you prepare for all of the application seasons around the country, including New Mexico’s. Check out this article to learn more about our toolset: