New Mexico on map
About hunting in New Mexico
New Mexico covers 121,412 square miles in the American Southwest. The landscape varies from spectacularly colored deserts to rugged, flat-topped mesas to high, snowcapped mountains. Heavily forested mountain wildernesses cover a significant portion of the state, especially in the north. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southernmost part of the Rockies, run though the northern part of the state, and New Mexico has huge areas of national forest lands open to public hunting. Hunting in New Mexico is as diverse as the terrain. Big game species include elk, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, mountain lion, black bear, javelina, and pronghorn, and hunting for wild turkeys, small game, upland birds, and waterfowl also excellent. New Mexico also offers unique hunting opportunities for exotic species such as Persian ibex, oryx, and Barbary sheep or aoudad, which have been introduced in some areas. New Mexico is one of the few states with four species of quail to hunt: scaled, Gambel’s, bobwhite, and Montezuma quail. Many New Mexico big-game licenses are available only through a draw, but tags for certain species including Barbary sheep, bear, cougar, deer, ibex, javelina, turkey, and oryx on private land may be available over the counter, and landowner tags for elk and pronghorn are available through many outfitters, so drawing a tag in advance of the season is not always required. While hunting big game, you must have in your possession a hunting license, a permit for the species hunted (if required), a habitat management and access validation, and a habitat stamp if hunting on BLM or Forest Service lands. Wearing blaze orange is not required, but it is strongly encouraged. New Mexico has many outstanding professional hunting outfitters. The New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides (nmoutfitters.com) offers information and a directory of guides. Learn more about hunting regulations in New Mexico at www.wildlife.state.nm.us.
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