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)


Department of Game and Fish requests flat budget

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, 2020: Department of Game and Fish requests flat budget SANTA FE – At this time of fiscal constraints, the Department of Game and Fish has submitted a flat budget to ensure the continuation of services to New Mexico hunters, anglers and wildlife enthusiasts. “The Department recognizes its role as an economic engine for many of our small, rural communities across the state,” said Director Mike Sloane. “Hunting, fishing and wildlife associated recreation brings nearly $1 billion a year to the state’s economy, often to rural areas where funds are needed most.” Receiving no money from the state’s General Fund, the Department is largely funded by our customers — the hunters and anglers. They enable the Department to conserve wildlife and provide recreational opportunities that benefit [...]

Public Meetings on Proposed Revisions to the 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, August 28, 2020: Public Meetings on Proposed Revisions to the Habitat Stamp Program SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has scheduled two public meetings on proposed revisions to the Public Land User Stamp Rule 19.34.6 NMAC (Habitat Stamp Program Rule). A short presentation providing background information about the Habitat Stamp Program and details of the proposed revisions will be given. The presentation will be followed by a Q & A session where members of the public are encouraged to ask questions and provide input. Members of the public are invited to attend one or both of these meetings (to be held virtually) in order to become familiar with the program and the proposed revisions: September 10th at 6 p.m. Register in advance [...]

Apply now for sandhill crane and pheasant draw permits

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866 Media contact, Tristanna Bickford: (505) 476-8027 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JULY 13, 2020: Apply now for sandhill crane and pheasant draw permits SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish will be accepting applications for special sandhill crane and pheasant permits starting 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 15. Applications can be made online through your account or over the telephone with the Department’s information center, 1-888-248-6866. The application deadline for special sandhill crane and pheasant permits is 5 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 19. Pheasant hunts that will be included in the draw include: Hunt Area Hunt Code Season Dates Number of Permits Bernardo Youth Only PHE-0-001 Oct. 17 20 W.S. Huey Youth Only PHE-0-002 Dec. 5 40 W.S. Huey (open to all applicants) PHE-0-005 Dec. 12 40 Sandhill crane hunts that will be included in [...]

Wildlife crimes net $74,000 in restitution

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866 Media contact, Tristanna Bickford: (505) 476-8027 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JULY 8, 2020: Wildlife crimes net $74,000 in restitution SANTA FE – On June 23, 2020, Sandoval County Judge James A. Noel ordered Cody W. Davis of Arnegard, N.D. to pay $74,000 in restitution to the state for poaching a trophy mule deer buck. This civil restitution included $20,000 for the mule deer which was killed out of season, without a license and resulted in the waste of game and an additional $54,000 in reimbursement to the Department for the extensive investigation required for this case. The restitution to the state is in addition to his criminal conviction which included a $3,000 donation to Operation Game Thief (OGT). An OGT tip in December of 2015 initiated the investigation. Conservation officers searched the area in question and found [...]

Encouragement elk license sale begins July 8

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Public contact, Information Center: (888) 248-6866 Media contact, Tristanna Bickford: (505) 476-8027 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JUNE 24, 2020: Encouragement elk license sale begins July 8 SANTA FE – New Mexico resident youth and senior hunters who applied and were unsuccessful in the 2020-2021 big-game draw are eligible to purchase one of nearly 1,900 antlerless elk licenses. The licenses will go on sale through the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’s Online License System at 10 a.m. MDT July 8. The sale is designed to encourage unsuccessful youth and senior draw applicants and includes almost 1,500 licenses for any legal sporting arm and 390 licenses for muzzleloader, crossbow or bow. Licenses will be sold online only on a first-come, first-served basis. To purchase a license, customers will need to log in to their Online License System account. Eligibility and requirements: For the [...]

Load More Posts
Go to Top