Enhancement Hunts

Reference (2023-24 NM Hunting Rules & Info pg. 35-36)

Cazas de mejora

(2023-24 NM Cacería Reglas e Información)

All proceeds from enhancement hunts are used solely for habitat enhancement, conservation, research and management projects in New Mexico for the species auctioned or raffled. Authorizations may be used either by the recipient or any individual of the recipient’s choice through sale, barter or gift. These hunts do not count as once-in-a-lifetime hunts.

Big Game Enhancement Packages

2013 big game enhancement package. Mike Gallo’s world record pronghorn score 96 4/8. (Photo: Courtesy of Gallo)

2013 big game enhancement package. Mike Gallo’s world record pronghorn score 96 4/8. (Photo: Courtesy of Gallo)

Two big-game authorization packages will be auctioned by NMDGF annually with the partnership of two conservation organizations (contact the Department for more information). Each package will consist of five authorizations, one for each of the following: deer, elk, ibex, oryx, and pronghorn. The season dates for the valid license year are Sept. 1–Jan. 31 for deer and elk; Aug. 1–Nov. 1 for pronghorn; and April 1–March 31 (year-round) for ibex and oryx (for oryx hunts, WSMR access must be prearranged).

Bighorn Sheep Enhancement Licenses

This Wheeler Peak ram was taken by 2009 auction winner Peter Kaindl. (Photo: Courtesy of Peter Kaindl)

This Wheeler Peak ram was taken by 2009 auction winner Peter Kaindl. (Photo: Courtesy of Peter Kaindl)

 

Two authorizations will be auctioned by NMDGF with the assistance of the Wild Sheep Foundation—one for desert bighorn sheep and one for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep—during their annual convention. Additionally, two authorizations will be raffled by NMDGF with the assistance of the New Mexico chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation (NMWSF)—one for desert bighorn sheep and one for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

Raffle tickets can be purchased by contacting NMWSF President Bryan Bartlett: 575-635-3499 or bartlebc@yahoo.com. Hunt dates for the valid license year are August 1–December, except in GMU 53 (Wheeler Peak) where season dates are August 1–15 and September 1–December 31, 2023. The successful auction bidder for desert bighorn sheep will choose their exclusive hunt area, and the successful auction bidder for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep will also choose their exclusive hunt area (excluding Unit 58, Dry Cimarron). Each successful auction bidder must select their exclusive hunt area by June 30. Raffle winners for desert bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep must do the same by July 29, however, they may not choose the same exclusive area declared by the successful auction bidders. The units remaining after both the auction and raffle winners have chosen their hunts may be hunted by either or both enhancement license holders.

Deer Enhancement Licenses

One deer authorization will be auctioned by NMDGF with the assistance of the Mule Deer Foundation at the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo. One deer authorization will also be raffled. The bag limit for these hunts is one fork-antlered deer, and the season dates for the valid license year are: Sept. 1–Jan. 31.

Elk Enhancement Licenses

2007 elk auction winner Tod Reichert, San Mateo Mtns. SCI World Record 437 5/8. (Photo: Courtesy Tod Reichert)

2007 elk auction winner Tod Reichert, San Mateo Mtns. SCI World Record 437 5/8. (Photo: Courtesy Tod Reichert)

One mature bull authorization will be auctioned by NMDGF annually with the assistance of the a conservation organization (contact the Department for more information). Additionally, one mature bull authorization will be raffled with the assistance of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. License holders choosing to hunt on the Valles Caldera must arrange access with the National Park Service 575-829-4100 at least 2 weeks prior to hunting. For more information please visit the RMEF website: https://events.rmef.org/shop/newmexicostate?utm_source=rmef.org&utm_medium=events_page. The bag limit for these hunts is one mature bull elk, and the season dates for the valid license year are: Sept. 1–Jan. 31.

Gould’s Turkey Enhancement Licenses

Two Gould’s turkey enhancement permits will be offered annually, one through auction and the other through raffle. Winners of the auction and raffle for Gould’s turkey authorizations also will receive one additional turkey tag for an open Over the Counter game management unit.

The Auction will be conducted during the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Convention and Sport Show in February in Nashville, Tennessee. Additional information will be available on the NWTF website: https://www.nwtf.org/get-involved/nwtf-convention. The Raffle will be held by the New Mexico chapter of NWTF. Tickets are $20 each and the drawing will be held in March.  Additional information will be available at https://nmnwtf.org/fundraising/

Premium Statewide Deer and Elk Hunts


Right (left–right): Ocie Gray and Austin Roberts. NMDGF photo taken the day of the crash.

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish premium deer and elk hunts are in honor of two NMDGF employees, Austin Roberts and Ocie Gray, who were killed in a January 1960 plane

crash while delivering hay to starving pronghorn on the snow-covered plains outside of Las Vegas.

Pilot Austin Roberts, 40, of Roswell, was a 14-year veteran of NMDGF at the time of his death. A cause of the accident was never determined. Before joining NMDGF Roberts served as a bomber pilot during World War II and survived 62 bombing runs and being shot down six times. Lake Roberts in the Gila National Forest is named after him.

Ocie Gray, 25, was a NMDGF biologist and a 1959 graduate of New Mexico State University in Las Cruces where a scholarship in his name is available to biology students.

The two premium hunts are authorized by the New Mexico State Game Commission, one for deer and one for elk, to provide the public an affordable chance at a high quality hunting experience. The hunt codes are DER-1-700 and ELK-1-700 and allow hunting with any big-game sporting arm in any unit statewide, including NMDGF’s wildlife management areas and private land with written permission. The season dates for the valid license year are Sept. 1—Jan. 31. The hunts are available through the draw and are subject to quota (nonresident and outfitted applicants are extremely unlikely to draw).