Hunting in New Mexico
New Mexico is a state with diverse and abundant hunting opportunities for a range of species and habitats. Whether you are looking for big game, exotic game, or upland game, you will find something to suit your preferences and skills in New Mexico.
Big Game Hunting
Some of the most popular big game animals to hunt in New Mexico are elk, mule deer, and pronghorn. These animals can be found in various regions of the state, from the mountains to the plains. You will need a license and a tag to hunt these animals, and you will have to apply for a draw or buy an over-the-counter license depending on the season and the unit. You can also hire an outfitter or a guide to help you find and harvest your trophy¹².
Exotic Game Hunting
New Mexico also offers hunting opportunities for exotic species that are not native to the state, such as Persian ibex, oryx, and Barbary sheep. These animals were introduced to New Mexico for sport hunting and wildlife management purposes, and they have adapted well to the arid and rugged terrain. You will need a license and a tag to hunt these animals, and you will have to apply for a draw or buy an over-the-counter license depending on the season and the unit. You can also hunt these animals on some tribal lands with permission from the tribes¹².
Upland Game Hunting
If you prefer hunting smaller game animals, such as quail, grouse, squirrels, or pheasants, you will find plenty of opportunities in New Mexico as well. These animals can be found in various habitats, such as forests, grasslands, deserts, or wetlands. You will need a license and a stamp to hunt these animals, and you can buy them online or at a vendor. You can also use dogs or falcons to assist you in your hunt¹².
Hunting Lands and Maps
New Mexico has a variety of public and private lands where you can hunt legally and ethically. You can use maps and apps provided by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) to find hunting units, boundaries, access points, roads, trails, water sources, and more. You can also find information about landowner programs that allow hunters to access private lands with permission or fees³. You should always respect the landowners’ rights and follow the rules and regulations when hunting on private lands³.
Hunting Licenses and Permits
To hunt legally in New Mexico, you will need a valid hunting license and a tag or a stamp for the species you want to hunt. You can buy your license online through the NMDGF website or by phone or at a vendor. You can also apply for draws or buy over-the-counter licenses for certain seasons and units. You should check the NMDGF website for the latest hunting rules and information books available as downloadable PDFs¹. You should also be aware of any discounts or exceptions that may apply to you based on your age, residency, disability, military service, or tribal affiliation².
If you want to learn more about hunting in New Mexico, you can visit the publications page of the NMDGF website where you will find various resources such as:
- Hunting Rules & Information Booklets
- Harvest Reports
- Hunter Education Manuals
- Wildlife Notes
- Wildlife Management Areas Brochures
- Wildlife News Magazine
- New Mexico Wildlife Podcast¹
You can also read articles from the New Mexico Magazine that feature stories and tips about hunting in New Mexico².
(1) Hunting – New Mexico Department of Game & Fish. https://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/hunting/.
(2) Hunting In New Mexico | Locations, Licenses & Permits. https://www.newmexico.org/things-to-do/outdoor-adventures/hunting/.
(3) Hunting Lands & Maps – New Mexico Department of Game & Fish. https://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/hunting/maps/.