Hunting News

Hunting News2019-01-09T12:05:25+00:00

Hunting News

The latest hunting news and press releases, including important reminders for the 2018-2019 hunting season, from the New Mexico Department of Game & Fish. See additional wildlife news in Conservation News. Department-wide news can be found under Home → NMDGF News.


New Office Location in Albuquerque

The Department’s Northwest Area Office is now located at 7816 Alamo Rd. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120. For directions call (505) 222-4700 and press 8.

New Game Hunting License Options

Big-game draw applicants will be required to purchase a Habitat Management and Access Validation (HMAV) with their Game-hunting or Game-hunting and Fishing License. Applicants will have the option to add the Habitat Stamp, Harvest Information Program (HIP) number and/or Second Rod Validation, if applicable, to their purchase. Hunters must purchase the Habitat Stamp prior to May 15, 2019 to avoid having to print it separately.

Early Purchase Available for 2018–19 Licenses

Licenses for the 2018–2019 license year that begins April 1, will be available online, by telephone and at license vendors and NMDGF offices beginning March 22.

Game Hunting Licenses Are Nonrefundable through the Draw Application Process

Game-hunting license and stamp purchases made through the big-game draw application are no longer refundable.

Electronic Tag (E-Tag) Option for Deer and Elk

Hunters may now choose the E-Tag option when purchasing or applying for any deer or elk hunts. You will not receive a carcass tag if you choose this option. Hunters who choose to E-Tag will be required to download the e-tagging app on their phone, upload their deer or elk license and carry their phone in the field. A printed license and/or carcass tag are not required. See page 8 for details.

License and Tag combined if purchased online or by phone

This year, hunters who choose to receive a physical carcass tag may not need to carry a separate license. If purchased online or by telephone, the top section of the carcass tag will display all annual license and stamp purchases, and will serve as a valid license. Hunters must carry the license/carcass tag with them in the field while hunting (details, page 8). If you do not purchase the Habitat Stamp through the draw, or prior to May 15, 2019, a printed copy may be required. This option is not available for license purchases and/or duplicate tags at over-the-counter (OTC) license vendors.

Upland Game now in Small Game Rules and Info booklet

Hunting information for upland game species is not in this booklet. See the New Mexico 2019-2020 Small Game Rules and Information booklet for upland-game hunting (published July 2019).

New Definitions for Legal Sporting Arm Types

Sporting arm types are defined on pages 30–31.

Hunt codes are now listed by Game Management Unit

Hunts for all species are no longer listed by sporting arm type. Please review listings thoroughly before applying.

Private-land Elk Licenses

The private-land elk rule has changed. See pages 67–69 for details.

Private-land Only Pronghorn License

Most private-land only pronghorn licenses are now available over the counter. A public-land hunt code must be selected when purchasing this license. These licenses are not valid on any public land.

Pronghorn Draw Licenses

Successful draw applicants will no longer be assigned to a private ranch. All draw licenses are valid on public lands and private land with written permission within the Game Management Unit.

New Eligibility Rules for Encouragement Elk Hunts

Only eligible resident youth hunters may purchase these hunts for the first 14 days of the sale. Licenses remaining after the first 14 days of the sale will also be available to eligible resident seniors (65 years and older on first day of the hunt). Nonresidents and resident applicants who were successful for any species (except javelina) are no longer eligible. See page 85 for eligibility information.

Duplicate License Fee

A $6 fee duplicate license fee will be charged for all duplicate tags/licenses in accordance with New Mexico state law. This fee will only be charged when a duplicate tag is obtained requiring reprinting of the license with a new tag number. Big-game and turkey hunters are advised not to purchase their licenses online if they plan to obtain the tag(s) at a license vendor.

Late Season Archery Elk Hunts Now Offered as Draw Hunts

The late-season archery elk hunts are no longer sold online through secondary sale, but are offered through the draw.

Deer Seasons for Bow

Deer Seasons for Bow

New Open Areas for Spring and Fall OTC Turkey

See pages 111–113.

Valle Vidal: Greenwood Area No Longer Included

Greenwood Area is no longer included in the Valle Vidal hunt area. It is private property, and written permission to hunt is required. See page 43.




Reference (2019-20 NM Hunting Rules & Info pg. 2-3)


Early Purchase Available for 2019–20 Licenses

Licenses for the 2019–20 license year which begins April 1 will be available online, by telephone, and at license vendors and NMDGF offices beginning March 25.

Purchase 2019 Game Hunting License through Draw Application

Draw applicants purchasing 2019 Game-hunting Licenses to apply for draw hunts must click “Draw Hunt Applications” in the main menu and purchase the license as part of the application process. Do not click “License Sales.”

Donate an Unused License

A license may be donated to NMDGF for transfer to a youth (17 years of age or younger), a resident veteran or a resident first responder who has been qualified through a nonprofit organization that promotes hunting (page 21).

Free Mobile App

Powered by Pocket Ranger®, the mobile app offers easy access to maps, fishing reports, license purchases, rules and regulations, Operation Game Thief and New Mexico Wildlife magazine at: This is not the app needed for the E-Tag option (see page 8).

Free Hunting and Recreation Maps

Free maps of New Mexico big-game hunting units and recreational areas on public lands can be downloaded to your mobile device at:

Mandatory Harvest Reporting. Don’t Forget!

All Barbary sheep, deer, elk, ibex, javelina, oryx, pronghorn, turkey and trapper license holders must submit a harvest report, whether they hunted or not. Deadlines for species are listed on page 6. Harvest reports may be submitted online, by telephone or in person at New Mexico Department of Game and Fish offices.

Information Center Extended Hours

The NMDGF Information Center is open year-round, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. (except holidays) to answer your questions and assist with license issues and harvest reporting. Extended hours are March 11–March 15, Monday–Friday from 8 a.m.–6 p.m. and March 18—March 19 from 8 a.m.–8 p.m. The Information Center will close at 4:30 p.m. on March 20.

Premium Statewide Deer and Elk Draw Hunts

Statewide memorial hunts now available by draw for deer and elk (page 39).

Mexican Gray Wolf: Encounters and Identification

Know where wolf encounters may occur and how to distinguish the Mexican Gray Wolf from coyotes (pages 130 and 131).

50% Discounts for Resident Military and Veterans

Residents of New Mexico who are active duty military or veterans can receive 50% discounts on licenses, permits and stamps. See pages 19 and Glossary, pages 135–139 for eligibility requirements and details.

Online Hunter Education Course (Residents only)

New Mexico residents 11 years of age or older can take New Mexico hunter education online (page 17).

Contact Land Management Agencies Before Hunting

Prescribed burns and/or other activities that could affect hunting may be conducted by land management agencies during hunting seasons (visit: The Department recommends contacting the appropriate management agency prior to your hunt for information on activities that may affect access or animal behavior in your hunting area. For contact information, please see Federal Lands (pages 42–44).

Habitat Stamp

The Habitat Stamp must be purchased prior to hunting, fishing or trapping on BLM and Forest Service properties. To be included in a combined license/tag, the Habitat Stamp must be purchased before May 15, 2019. Proof of Habitat Stamp purchase must be carried while in the field.

Draw Carcass Tags by Mail

uccessful draw applicants will receive the license/tag(s) via U.S. Postal Service in late- May or early-June.

Draw Refunds

Draw license fee refunds for unsuccessful applicants will be processed shortly after draw results are released in April. Applications paid by credit card will be refunded directly to the credit card used for the transaction within 10 business days. Applications paid by check or cash will be refunded by check by the end of May. Game-hunting License and stamp purchases will not be refunded.

Over the Counter (OTC) Licenses for Some Species Available July 1

OTC licenses for javelina, fall turkey, private-land deer, private-land pronghorn, privateland Barbary sheep, and federal duck stamps will be available beginning July 1.


Reference (2019-20 NM Hunting Rules & Info pg. 4-5)


Director to hear public comments on trapping rule

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866 Media contact, Tristanna Bickford: (505) 476-8027 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, NOV. 16, 2018: Director to hear public comments on trapping rule ALBUQUERQUE – The Director of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish will hold a listening session to hear public comments on proposed changes to the furbearer rule. Proposed changes include mandatory trapper education, increasing set-back requirements, allowance for closure of areas to trapping, signage and further clarifying the definition of a trail. The listening session will be conducted 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 27 at the department’s Northwest Regional Office, 7816 Alamo Road NW in Albuquerque. Comments can be provided by mail: New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Attn: Furbearer Rule Development, P.O. Box 25112, Santa Fe, NM 87504; by email,, or in person at the meeting. ###

Department opens new Albuquerque office Nov. 15

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866 Media contact, Tristanna Bickford: (505) 476-8027 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, NOVEMBER 8, 2018: Department opens new Albuquerque office Nov. 15 SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish will officially open the new Northwest Regional Office in Albuquerque at 8 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 15. The new complex, located at 7816 Alamo Road NW, creates a destination that provides the public a place to interact with staff and participate in educational and recreational opportunities. “Our new facility is a great urban resting space for migratory birds and is within close walking distance of one of New Mexico’s urban treasures – The Rio Grande bosque,” said Mike Sloane, Director. “We are excited about the opportunity this presents for us to expand our hunter, angler and wildlife education programs.” The current office, located at 3841 Midway Place, Read more...

Late-season archery elk licenses available Oct. 31

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866 Media contact, Tristanna Bickford: (505) 476-8027 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, OCT. 18: Late-season archery elk licenses available Oct. 31 SANTA FE – 275 first-come, first-served late season bull elk archery hunting licenses will go on sale at 10 a.m. Oct. 31. The licenses will be available on the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish website. Available licenses include: Game Management Unit 12, Nov. 17-21, 25 licenses; Unit 34, Dec. 15-19, 200 licenses; and Unit 37, Dec. 1-5, 50 licenses. Special restrictions for elk harvested in Unit 34 can be found on page 85 of the current New Mexico Hunting Rules and Information booklet. The first 24 hours of the sale will only be available to residents, after which any remaining licenses will be available to everyone. Only hunters who did not hold a 2018-2019 elk licenses Read more...

Expect roadblocks statewide during hunting seasons

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866 Media contact, Tristanna Bickford: (505) 476-8027 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, SEPT 10, 2018: Expect roadblocks statewide during hunting seasons SANTA FE – Hunting seasons are underway and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish will be conducting roadblocks throughout the state during fall hunting seasons to collect harvest data and to detect wildlife law violations. Conservation officers may be assisted by other agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Police or county sheriff’s offices. As a result, the public may encounter minor delays. At roadblocks, conservation officers also will check for compliance with the Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Act. Drivers of vehicles hauling wood products will be asked to produce documentation as required by the Forest Conservation Act. Everyone is encouraged to report any violations they may observe, such as Read more...

Hunts open for many small game species

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866 Media contact, Tristanna Bickford: (505) 476-8027 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, SEPT. 5, 2018: Hunts open for many small game species SANTA FE – White-winged dove, mourning dove, dusky (blue) grouse and squirrel seasons are open statewide. These hunts offer great opportunities to get a new hunter out in the field. The weather tends to be warmer and good opportunities exist with minimal hiking. Here are a few tips for hunting these species: White-winged and mourning doves can typically be found throughout the state in warmer, open habitats, around water and near farm or agriculture fields. New Mexico has two hunting zones, North and South. The dividing line starts at the Arizona/New Mexico border and runs along I-40 to US Highway 54, in Tucumcari, and then north along US Highway 54 to the New Mexico/Texas border. The seasons Read more...

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