License and Regulations

License and Regulations 2017-07-28T10:42:17+00:00

Game Hunting License, Validations, Stamps and HIP Number

All migratory game bird hunters must possess a Game Hunting License or Game Hunting & Fishing License, Habitat Management & Access Validation (except as defined below), Habitat Improvement Stamp if applicable, and Harvest Information Program (HIP) number. For license fees and information, as well as general regulations, refer to the “2017–18 New Mexico Hunting Rules and Information” booklet (available online and in print).

Habitat Management & Access Validation

Once each license year (April 1– March 31) all hunters, trappers and anglers must purchase a Habitat Management & Access Validation. Validations are not required for hunters and anglers ages 17 years and younger and not required for 70 years and older resident anglers or 100%-disabled resident veterans in conjunction with their free license.

Habitat Stamp

For U.S. Forest Service and BLM lands in New Mexico, all hunters, trappers and anglers must purchase a Habitat Improvement Stamp. Purchased separately and valid for one license year, this stamp is not required for trappers and anglers ages 11 years and younger, 70 years and older resident anglers or 100%-disabled resident veterans in conjunction with their free license. Funds from the Habitat Improvement Stamp are used to protect and increase wildlife and fishery habitat throughout the state. Since its inception in 1986, this program has invested more than $46 million to protect, improve and create new habitat in New Mexico.

Harvest Information Program Number (HIP)

Each license year, migratory bird hunters must obtain a HIP number. Residents and nonresidents must possess a separate permit number for each state in which they hunt migratory birds.

Duck Stamp

All waterfowl hunters who are ages 16 years and older must possess a federal Migratory Bird Hunting & Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp), available online: or and at U.S. Post Offices, NMDGF offices and at all license vendors.

Hunter Education or Mentored Youth Number Required

Before purchasing any type of firearm hunting license, individuals younger than 18 years of age must either: 1, possess a Hunter Education number from New Mexico or another state; or 2, possess a New Mexico Mentored-Youth Hunter Program number. Certification and/or registration numbers must be carried at all times while hunting.

Youth Hunts

To qualify for youth hunts, applicants must be 17 years of age or younger on opening day of the hunt and must possess a Hunter Education Course Certificate number or a Mentored Youth-Hunter Program registration number.

Federal Youth Waterfowl Days

No application or special-hunt permit is required. Youth hunters must be 17 years of age or younger and fully licensed. Hunters 16 years of age and older must possess a federal Duck Stamp. An adult 18 years of age or older must accompany the youth in the field. For more information about this hunt, see pages 3, 7, and 15.


Lands Owned or Managed by the State Game Commission

Wildlife Management Areas

Bernardo, Casa Colorada, Charette Lake, Jackson Lake, La Joya, McAllister Lake, Wagon Mound, Tucumcari, and W.S. Huey. Shooting hours are 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1 p.m., unless otherwise noted.

Exception: Shooting hours for September teal on the Bernardo and La Joya areas are from 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset. See pages 6 and 14–15 for areas and species.

Colin Neblett, E.S. Barker, Humphries, Marquez, Rio Chama, Sargent, Socorro-Escondida, Water Canyon, Sandhills Prairie Conservation Area, Prairie Chicken Areas and Big Hatchet Special Management Area. Shooting hours for migratory game birds are 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset. See pages 6 and 14–15 for areas and species.

See also: State Game Commission Lands.

Lake Holloman Wildlife Refuge:
May be closed during September teal season. For further information telephone: (505) 572-3931.

Bottomless Lakes Overflow:
The Bottomless Lakes Overflow is open to shooting 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1 p.m.

Legal Shooting Hours on Other Lands

Shooting hours for migratory game birds are 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset, unless otherwise noted.

Sunrise and Sunset Times at Albuquerque, NM

For points west of Albuquerque, add one minute for each 12 miles. For points east, subtract one minute for each 12 miles. Mountain Daylight Savings Time ends 2 a.m., Sunday, November 5, 2017.


Federal Regulations

In addition to the New Mexico regulations set forth in this booklet, the following federal regulations apply to taking, possessing, transporting and storing migratory game birds (ducks, geese, coots, common moorhens, snipes, soras, rails, doves, band-tailed pigeons and sandhill cranes). Persons cited for violating federal regulations will be required to appear in federal court. The complete federal regulations (50 CFR-Part 20) is available online:

Illegal Methods

No person shall take migratory birds:

  1. 1. From a sink box (a low floating device that has a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water).
  2. From or with the aid or use of a car or other motor-driven land conveyance or from or with the aid of any aircraft or drone.
  3. By baiting (placing or directing placement of feed such as corn, wheat, salt, etc. for the purpose of causing, inducing or attempting to take any migratory game bird). Hunters should be aware a baited area is considered to be baited for 10 days after the removal of the bait.

Importation of Harvested Migratory Birds

During any one-week beginning on Sunday, no person shall import more than:

  1. 25 doves and 10 pigeons from any foreign country.
  2. 10 ducks and 5 geese from any foreign country, except Canada and Mexico.
  3. The Canadian and Mexican export limits for doves and waterfowl, which vary for different foreign provinces and states.

In addition, one fully feathered wing must remain attached to all harvested migratory game birds being transported or shipped between a port of entry and one’s home or taxidermist. No person shall import harvested migratory game birds belonging to another person.

Waterfowl Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges (NWR)

All state and federal regulations apply, including licenses, permits, method of take, bag limit, etc. Only USFWS-approved nontoxic shot may be used and possessed on refuges. Sporting arms must be unloaded and cased when transported.

Bosque del Apache NWR: The Bosque del Apache conducts Special Permit Light Goose Hunts and may allow limited hunting for dove in specific areas. For current information, maps and applications, visit: or telephone: (575) 835-1828.

Las Vegas NWR: The Las Vegas National Wildlife Refuge conducts Special Permit Canada Goose Hunts and limited dove hunting. For current information, maps and applications visit: or telephone: (505) 425-3581.

Bitter Lake NWR: The Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge has limited hunting for ducks, geese, coot, sandhill crane and dove. For information, maps and applications visit: or telephone: (575) 622-6755.

Sevilleta NWR: Due to restoration and enhancement efforts, hunting on Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge will not occur in 2017 – 2018. For more information, visit: or telephone: (505) 864-4021.

Report All Banded Birds!

NMDGF requests all banded birds harvested be reported online: