Hunting News

Hunting News2021-04-13T10:35:49-06:00

Hunting News

The latest hunting news and press releases, including important reminders for the 2020-2021 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.

Social distancing is a challenge for all outdoors enthusiasts; the itch to get outside just keeps growing. But this is a time for all New Mexicans to pull together for the overall health of all our citizens and stay home. The Department reminds recreationists it is their responsibility to be aware of closures and contact land managers for properties of interest when restrictions are lifted.

To help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 the following are closed to the public:

Outdoor recreationists should consult their local government’s website for information regarding specific city and town lake and recreation area access.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM):
U.S. Forest Service (USFS):
New Mexico State Lands:
New Mexico State Parks:
New Mexico Open Gate Properties:
New Mexico Wildlife Mgmt Areas:



Department offices may be closed or have restricted access due to the Covid-19 public health crisis. Customers can purchase licenses by credit card online or by phone. Please check the Department’s website for updates.

New: Ibex Incentive Draw Discontinued

The NMDGF will not be conducting the ibex incentive draw this year. Recent surveys indicate that the management goal of reducing the population has been reached, and therefore there is no need to encourage harvesting nannies.

Unit-wide Ranch Maps

Unit-wide elk hunting property maps are available online:

Requirements for Military Documentation

Proof of service for all military only hunts and returning Iraq/Afghanistan veteran oryx hunts must be received by NMDGF prior to application.

New Electronic Tag (E-Tag) Option for All Big Game and Turkey

Hunters may choose the E-Tag option when purchasing or applying for any big-game or turkey 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 NM E-Tag app on their phone, upload their license and carry their phone in the field. A printed license and/or carcass tag are not required, but the animal or turkey must still be physically tagged.  See page 8-9 for details.

NM E-Tag app allows hunters to tag an animal in the field using their smartphone.NM E-Tag allows hunters to tag an animal in the field using their smartphone. Upon submitting the date and time of kill for their license, the hunter will receive a tag number to hand-write on durable material to be attached to the animal.

Installation: Search for “NM E-tag” in the App Store or click the icon below:App Store Google Play

No Electronic Check Payments

Electronic check payments are not accepted. Payments may be made in person by cash or credit card, and online and by telephone by credit card only.

Mandatory Harvest Reporting

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.

Purchase 2021 Game Hunting License through Draw Application

Draw applicants purchasing 2021 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.”

Duplicate License Fee

A $6 duplicate license fee will be charged for all duplicate tags/licenses in accordance with New Mexico state law. This fee will be charged only 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.

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 cash will be refunded by check by the end of May. Game-hunting license and stamp purchases will not be refunded.

Early Purchase Available for 2021–22 Licenses

Licenses for the 2021–22 license year which begins April 1 will be available online, by telephone, and at license vendors and NMDGF offices beginning March 24.

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 & 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 17, 2021 to avoid having to print it separately.

Game Hunting Licenses Are Nonrefundable through the Draw Application Process

Game-hunting license and stamp purchases made through the big-game draw application are nonrefundable.

License and Tag combined if purchased online or by phone

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 17, 2021, a printed copy may be required. The combined license/tag is not available for license purchases and/or duplicate tags at over-the-counter (OTC) license vendors.

Habitat Stamp

The habitat stamp must be purchased prior to hunting, fishing or trapping on BLM and Forest Service lands. To be included in a combined license/tag, the habitat stamp must be purchased before May 17, 2021. Proof of habitat stamp purchase must be carried while in the field. The habitat stamp fee will be $5 if purchased prior to April 1, 2021. If purchased on or after April 1, 2021, the fee will be $10.

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 20).

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 8–March 12, Monday–Friday from 8 a.m.–6 p.m. and March 15—March 16 from 8 a.m.–8 p.m. The Information Center will close at 4:30 p.m. on March 17.

Private-land Elk Licenses and Fees

See pages 65–68 for private-land elk hunting rules, fees and information.

Pronghorn Draw and Private-land Only Licenses

Successful draw applicants are no longer assigned to a private ranch. All draw licenses are valid on public lands and private land with written permission within the game management unit(s). 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. Written permission from the landowner is required.

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). Nonresidents and resident applicants who were successful for any species (except javelina) are no longer eligible. See page 81 for eligibility information.

Free Hunting and Recreation Maps (page 126)

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

Premium Statewide Deer and Elk Hunts

Statewide memorial hunts are available by draw for deer and elk (page 36).

Mexican Gray Wolf: Encounters and Identification

Know where wolf encounters may occur and how to distinguish the Mexican gray wolf from coyotes (pages 117 and 118).

New: Mobility Impaired Eligibility Requirements

Individuals must have a permanent impairment that limits mobility to a walker, wheelchair or crutches; or have one or more permanent disabilities or conditions that substantially limit the ability to walk. See page 14.

50% Discounts for Resident Military and Veterans

Residents of New Mexico who are active duty military or honorably discharged veterans are eligible for 50% discounts on licenses, permits and stamps. Proof of service may be requested to verify eligibility. See page 16 and Glossary, pages 120–125 for eligibility requirements and details.

Online Hunter Education Course (Residents only)

New Mexico residents 10 years of age or older can take New Mexico hunter education online (page 18).

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: NMDGF 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 38–40).

Draw Carcass Tags by Mail

Successful draw applicants who did not choose the E-Tag option will receive the license/tag(s) via U.S. Postal Service in late-May or early-June.

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

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

Bear and Turkey Draw Permits

Bear and/or turkey draw permits cannot be printed until all appropriate licenses have been purchased.

Legal Shooting Hours

Legal shooting hours for big game, furbearers and turkey are from 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset, unless otherwise noted.



Reference (2021-22 NM Hunting Rules & Info pg. 2-5)


Public Meeting: Habitat Stamp Program Citizen Advisory Committee to Prioritize Projects for 2021-2022

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866 Media contact, Tristanna Bickford: (505) 476-8027 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, MAY 12, 2021: Public Meeting: Habitat Stamp Program Citizen Advisory Committee to Prioritize Projects for 2021-2022 SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has scheduled a public meeting on May 21 at 5:30 p.m. to allow the Citizen Advisory Committee to prioritize proposed projects for the upcoming fiscal year. Members of the public are invited to attend this meeting (to be held virtually) in order to become familiar with the proposed projects and to offer feedback and opinions. Information about how to attend and participate in this virtual meeting will be available on the Department's Habitat Stamp webpage. Copies of the proposed projects are also available on this webpage. Comments on the proposed projects can be provided by mail: New Mexico Department of [...]

Migratory Game Bird rule changes topic of public meetings

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866 Media contact, Tristanna Bickford: (505) 476-8027 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, APRIL 12, 2021: Migratory Game Bird rule changes topic of public meetings SANTA FE – The Department of Game and Fish is seeking public comment on proposed revisions to the Migratory Game Bird rule. The proposals are available on the Department’s proposals under consideration webpage. To gather public comments, one public meeting will be conducted via Zoom. The meeting will be held April 26 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Click here to join the virtual Zoom meeting. Or enter the following in your Zoom client: Meeting ID: 824 6900 9878 Passcode: 444544 To join the meeting by phone please dial 1-346-248-7799. You will be prompted to enter the Webinar ID: 824 6900 9878 and Passcode: 444544 Presentation slides will be posted on the Department’s proposals under consideration [...]

State Game Commission expands agreement with State Land Office

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866 Media contact, Tristanna Bickford: (505) 476-8027 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JAN 26, 2021: State Game Commission expands agreement with State Land Office SANTA FE – At the Jan. 15, 2021, State Game Commission Meeting, a unanimous vote finalized a four-year agreement between the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the New Mexico State Land Office. The easement will allow hunters, anglers and trappers to access state trust lands in exchange for an annual payment of $800,000 and $200,000 of habitat improvement projects on state trust land. “This is a wonderful agreement that increases opportunities for hunters, anglers and outdoor recreationists,” said State Game Commission chairwoman Sharon Salazar Hickey. “The Department of Game and Fish and the State Land Office worked together, to find balance for the benefit of all New Mexicans.” The Department of Game [...]

Call for applicants: Citizen advisors needed for Habitat Stamp Program

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866 Media contact, Tristanna Bickford: (505) 476-8027 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, DEC. 1, 2020: Call for applicants: Citizen advisors needed for Habitat Stamp Program SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is accepting applications for volunteer citizen advisors to the Habitat Stamp Program. Advisors will serve on a Citizen Advisory Committee to the Habitat Stamp Program, and will review and prioritize proposed projects for annual funding. Advisors are expected to engage and encourage public participation and involvement in the program. They will also be expected to represent public interest and be engaged and informed with regard to wildlife and fish habitat conservation needs. The citizen advisors will be appointed at the January 15, 2021 Commission meeting, which will be held virtually. Those applying to serve will be evaluated upon: Familiarity with current wildlife conservation [...]

Department of Game and Fish reminds customers to call or go online for services

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, NOV. 18, 2020: Department of Game and Fish reminds customers to call or go online for services SANTA FE – As the holiday season is quickly approaching, the Department of Game and Fish is continuing to proactively take measures to keep staff and customers safe from COVID-19 by keeping offices closed. Department services remain accessible to customers by phone, on the website, Facebook or by appointment when required. The rates at which COVID positive cases and COVID related deaths in New Mexico continue to rise is alarming. Per Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s current executive order, everyone is encouraged to stay home, avoid travel and not attend public gatherings. Officials have predicted that many people may not heed these recommendations during the holidays, causing the Department to take further precautions to keep staff and customers [...]

Load More Posts
Go to Top