Hunting Elk on Private Lands
It is the hunter’s responsibility to ensure they understand all the rules and regulations for hunting elk in New Mexico; please consult the current New Mexico Rules & Info booklet before hunting. Hunters must be properly licensed to hunt elk on private land.
The E-PLUS program distributes private land elk authorization certificates to landowners. Landowners may transfer the authorization certificates to hunters or their agents. A hunter may use an authorization certificate to buy a private land elk licenses for specific elk hunt.
There are two types of authorization certificates. These are ranch-only and unit-wide.
A unit-wide authorization certificate allows a hunter to buy a unit-wide private land elk license. Unit-wide hunters are allowed to hunt legally accessible public lands and unit-wide private lands within the boundaries of the Game Management Unit (GMU).
A ranch-only authorization certificate allows a hunter to buy a ranch-only private land elk license. Ranch-only hunters are restricted to the private land within the boundaries of the ranch. No public lands may be hunted using a ranch-only private land elk license. In GMUs 4, 5A, 46, 55A, and 55B ranch-only hunters are allowed to hunt on other private lands within the GMU with written permission from the landowner.
Finding a Private Land Elk Authorization Certificate
Private land elk authorization certificates may be obtained from landowners who have been issued them for the current hunting season. Any arrangements for authorization certificates are between the landowner and hunter. Hunters may check the E-PLUS landowner lists, by following the links below, to find landowners who have been issued authorization certificates. These lists are provided as a courtesy from the Department of Game and Fish. They are normally updated each year in May-June.
There are three different E-PLUS landowner lists (below) that hunters can use to find landowners who have been issued authorization certificates.
- Landowner List Primary Management Zone (Updated June 10, 2021) – These landowners have been issued one or more authorization certificate for their land that is within the Core Occupied Elk Range (COER).
- Landowner List Special Management Zone (to be announced) – These landowners have received authorization certificates for their land that is located outside the COER.
The interactive map is designed to help elk hunters locate active unit-wide ranches in each GMU for the current license year. Maps provided on this webpage are the department’s best interpretation of the ranch based on property information received from and verified by the landowner.
Private ranches enrolled in the EPLUS program as unit-wide provide additional elk hunting opportunities across the state. These landowners selected the unit-wide hunting option on their EPLUS agreement and received a unit-wide authorization(s) for the current license year. In exchange, they agree to allow public elk hunting access on their private ranch to legally licensed elk hunters in that GMU. Hunters who possess a public draw elk license or a private land unit-wide elk license may access these private unit-wide ranches in addition to the accessible public land in their assigned GMU.
- Unit-wide private ranches are open during each public elk hunt for the sole purpose of hunting elk.
- They are not open during any other time of year or for any other purpose.
- Hunters are allowed free access to the entire unit-wide ranch during their licensed hunt dates, including scouting up to two days immediately preceding the start of their hunt.
- Landowners and their employees may not interfere with elk hunters while on the ranch and elk hunters are not required to notify landowners or their employees before entering the ranch.
- Vehicular access may be restricted on the ranch however; it must be equally restricted to all elk hunters, including hunters holding a license purchased with authorizations issued to the ranch.
- No elk hunter, including hunters holding a license purchased with authorizations issued to this ranch, may drive off-road on a unit-wide ranch except to retrieve legally harvested elk with separate permission from the landowner.
- Unit-wide ranches are not open for camping.
The interactive map (below) is designed to help hunters and landowners find Unit-wide ranches. Click on Units to display a pop-up window of information and clickable links. Print/PDF button (lower map) available at any zoom level.
The map will be taken down in March each year and will be published again in early August before the start of the next hunting season. Unit-Wide ranches are subject to change from year to year.
Purchasing a Private Land Elk License
- Ranch Number
- Authorization Certificate Number
- Hunt Code
For additional information and instructions about buying a private-land elk license, you may also visit the Licenses and Permits section of this website or consult the current New Mexico Rules & Info booklet.
Private-land Elk License Fees
|Mature-Bull or Either-Sex||$99||$557|
|Quality Mature-Bull or Either-Sex||$99||$782|
|Junior/Senior Elk License||$67||Not Issued|
Harvest reporting is mandatory for all licensed elk hunters. The deadline to file a harvest report for an elk license is February 15th. Harvest reports filed after this deadline will be subject to an $8 late fee. Licensed elk hunters who do not report will be ineligible the following year for all special entry hunt applications, population management authorizations, and private land authorizations.