Open Gate Program

The Open Gate program from New Mexico Game and Fish offers private land hunting and fishing access.
Leasing Private Lands and Improving Public Access. Click the tabs below to learn more about the Open Gate program.

The Open Gate Program

A previously-locked gate no allows public access to more hunting and fishing opportunities via Open Gate private lands, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

Private Lands and New Mexico’s Outdoor Heritage

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has long recognized the important role private lands play in promoting New Mexico’s outdoor heritage. Proper management of private lands plays an integral role in protecting our fish and wildlife resources ensuring they can be enjoyed by current and future generations. Private landowners help promote New Mexico’s outdoor heritage by participating in the Open Gate program and providing quality outdoor recreation opportunities for hunters, anglers, and trappers.

Open Gate is a program that leases private lands to increase public opportunity for hunting, fishing, and trapping. Landowners may also participate by allowing access to otherwise inaccessible public lands by providing right-of-way corridors through their deeded land. Open Gate additionally works with cooperating State and Federal agencies to develop access in areas where needed.

Accessing and Using Open Gate Properties

Properly licensed sportspersons may access Open Gate properties during the seasons and times for those species agreed upon in the Open Gate agreement with the landowner.  No fee or special use permit is required to hunt, fish, or trap on an Open Gate property.  Since the landowner is under an Open Gate contract, no additional permission is required to enter an Open Gate property. The primary entrance to all participating properties will be marked with a sign similar to the illustration below. All available hunting or fishing opportunities and all property rules can be located on these signs.  Additionally, all signs will provide a QR code which will take users to additional property information and maps.  Visit the Property Locator tab above for an interactive map showing available Open Gate properties with links to property details and permitted activities.

Open Gate properties are only available to licensed hunters, anglers and trappers.  Specific rules for each property are posted at the main entrance of the property and may also be found on the Property Locater tab above. The following rules are common to most properties in the Open Gate program:

  • Hunting activities may be restricted to drawn hunters only depending on species and GMU.
  • No trespassing unless you are a properly licensed sportsperson, are accompanied by a properly licensed sportsperson or are license-exempt.
  • Each properly licensed sportsperson or license-exempt person is allowed to be accompanied by no more than two guests.
  • Scouting is only permitted during the two days immediately preceding the commencement of open season dates.
  • No motor vehicle travel off designated roads or on closed roads.
  • No destructive acts, including vandalism, graffiti, theft, removal or defacing natural features, resources or signs.
  • No target practice.
  • No consumption of alcoholic beverages.
  • No camping.
  • No fires.
  • No littering.
  • Access allowed from: two hours before sunrise to: two hours after sunset.

Please adhere to all property-specific rules and the following when using Open Gate properties:

  • Be a respectful and courteous guest
  • Practice ethical hunting, fishing, and trapping
  • Leave all gates as you found them
  • Don’t block gates or roads with parked vehicles
  • Don’t shoot towards livestock, buildings, or equipment
  • Don’t hunt, fish, or trap in Safety Zones
  • Pick up all trash – including shotgun shells
  • Clean up after others who may leave trash behind
  • A simple “thank-you” to a landowner goes a long way

Duck hunting in blind - more opportunities with Open Gate public access to private land property, New Mexico Game and Fish

The Open Gate program is funded by the Habitat Management and Access Validation stamp purchased by hunters and anglers each year.  Landowners are paid with these funds and therefore no further fees are necessary for licensed users to access these properties.

For the 2022-2023 License Year, the Open Gate program has 26 active properties.  Of these, 3 are improved access to public land, 2 are projects completed with the US Forest Service to enhance public access, 11 are for hunting access, 7 provide access for fishing, and 3 provide a combination of hunting and fishing access.  Currently, the Department is spending just over $254,450.00 for these opportunities.

All properties or access routes are mapped as properties come into the Open Gate program.  Google map locations are provided to each main property entrance where the property rules signs can be found.  Additionally, Google Earth maps are provided of each property.  There will also be geo-referenced PDF maps available to the Open Gate properties which can be used by Apps similar to Avenza maps for navigating on the property.  These geo-referenced maps can be used even with no cell service.  See the Maps tab above for all relevant property maps.

For more information call the NMDGF Information Center at (888) 248-6866 or the Open Gate Coordinator at (505) 476-8043.

Private land hunting and fishing property access sign. The Open Gate program from New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

 

Angler in a northern stream - more opportunities with Open Gate public access to private land property, New Mexico Game and Fish

Quick Table View

Updated 8-4-2022
Property (PDF)NearCountyGMUHunting/FishingGoogle MapKMZ FileProperty Term
OG.109 - Lake RanchFort SumnerDeBaca32Dove, QuailGoogle MapKMZ FileAnnual - Expires March 31, 2023
OG.111 - Oliver FarmsTucumcariQuay42Spring Turkey HuntingGoogle MapKMZ FileLong Term - Expires March 31, 2027
OG.121 - Access 121RoswellChaves33Improved Access to Federal, State Trust LandsGoogle MapKMZ FileAnnual - Expires March 31, 2023
OG.122 - Gents CattleRoswellChaves33Dove, Quail, Sandhill Crane, Waterfowl; FishingGoogle MapKMZ FileAnnual - Expires March 31, 2023
OG.125 - LCpl Steven Chavez Fishing AreaHondoLincoln36FishingGoogle MapKMZ FileAnnual - Expires March 31, 2023
OG.127 - Monastery LakePecosSan Miguel45FishingGoogle MapKMZ FileLong Term - Expires March 31, 2023
OG.132 - King FarmsMoriartySanta Fe4/43Dove, Sandhill Crane Google MapKMZ FileAnnual - Expires March 31, 2023
OG.133 - Golliheair RanchSan AntonioSocorro18Dove, Quail, Javelina, Deer Google MapKMZ FileAnnual - Expires March 31, 2023
OG.134 - Head RanchFort SumnerDeBaca40Dove, Quail Google MapKMZ FileAnnual - Expires March 31, 2023
OG.141 - Access 141WinstonSocorro17Improved Access to Federal LandsGoogle MapKMZ FileLong Term - Expires March 31, 2032
OG.143 - Sand Camp RanchHagermanChaves33Dove, Quail, Deer Google MapKMZ FileAnnual - Expires March 31, 2023
OG.147 - Stubblefield and Laguna Madre LakesMaxwellColfax55BDove, Waterfowl; FishingGoogle MapKMZ FileLong Term - Expires March 31, 2032
OG.148 - Rhodes PropertySocorroSocorro18Dove, Quail, Pheasant, Turkey, Sandhill Crane, Waterfowl, Deer (Archery Only) Google MapKMZ FileAnnual - Expires March 31, 2023
OG.150 - Luera RoadDatilCatron16EImproved Access to State Trust LandsGoogle MapKMZ FileLong Term - Expires 2051
OG.151 - Morphy LakeMoraMora46FishingGoogle MapKMZ FileLong Term - Expires 2035
OG.152 - Rio CostillaAmaliaTaos55AFishingGoogle MapKMZ FileLong Term - Expires March 31, 2026
OG.154 - Howell RanchElidaChaves/DeBaca32Dove, Quail, Deer Google MapKMZ FileAnnual - Expires March 31, 2023
OG.155 - Weatherby RanchCotton CityHidalgo27Dove, Quail, Sandhill Crane, Javelina, Deer (Draw Hunters Only), Cougar, Bighorn Sheep, Furbearer TrappingGoogle MapKMZ FileAnnual - Expires March 31, 2023
OG.157 - Rancho Grande PondsReserveCatron16AFishingGoogle MapKMZ FileAnnual - Expires March 31, 2023
OG.158 - Royal John BypassGila National ForestGrant24Improved Access to Federal LandsGoogle MapKMZ FileLong Term - No Expiration
OG.159 - La Fragua Re-routeCarson National ForestRio Arriba2BImproved Access to Federal LandsGoogle MapKMZ FileLong Term - No Expiration
OG.160 - Kiehne RanchRoswellChaves33Dove, Quail, Waterfowl, and Sandhill CraneGoogle MapKMZ FileLong Term - Expires 2030
OG.162 - Berrendo CreekRoswellChaves33FishingGoogle MapKMZ FileLong Term - Expires March 31, 2025
OG.163 Access, PinonPinonChaves30Improved AccessGoogle MapKMZ FileAnnual – Expires March 31, 2023

 

Interactive Map

Interactive hunting map helps hunters, anglers, and trappers find suitable Open Gate private land property in New Mexico. (Department of Game and Fish)The interactive map (below) is designed to help hunters, anglers, and trappers find suitable Open Gate properties. Click on a property outlined in red to display a pop-up window of basic information, permitted activities, and clickable links for further details including directions. (Supported browsers include Chrome, Firefox, Safari 3+, Internet Explorer 8+).

Click to reload map below if  borders or tools are missing, or view mobile map in a new browser window.

Click to reload map above if  borders or tools are missing, or view mobile map in a new browser window.

Open Gate Program

Open Gate is a voluntary leasing program that provides incentives to private landowners who open their property to improve public access for hunting, fishing, and trapping.

Providing Public Access for Hunting, Fishing, Trapping

Private landowners may enter into flexible agreements with the Department of Game and Fish to allow access onto or through their deeded property. Landowners may enroll some or all of their property as agreed upon with the Department through the agreement process. There is no minimum or maximum number of acres that may be enrolled, however, properties considered for enrollment in Open Gate must be capable of supporting a hunting or fishing lease. Properties are evaluated individually to assure they meet the desires of the landowner and the Department as well as improved opportunities for hunters or anglers using the property.

Private landowners may participate in Open Gate in two ways:

* Allow public access to a private parcel for hunting, fishing, or trapping
* Provide right-of-way access to exceptional public lands with limited access

Participating landowners may also receive technical guidance and funding to help manage fish and wildlife habitats to improve future hunting, fishing, and trapping opportunities.

Youth with harvested white-tailed deer. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Open Gate private land hunts.

Landowners receive direct payments from the Department of Game and Fish for access.  Access payments are based on various criteria including a property’s location, acreage, type of wildlife habitat (based on computer analysis), and hunting or fishing opportunities permitted. Click the link below to view current access rates. Be aware that all rates are subject to change without notice.

Payments are issued at the end of the agreement period in April of each year if the property is under an annual agreement.  Properties under a long-term agreement may be paid annually, in a lump sum or a combination of payment options. Once enrolled, participating landowners are also eligible to receive technical guidance, additional funding, and cost-share assistance for projects that improve habitat and hunting, fishing, and trapping opportunities on their property.

Open Gate Access Rates (Updated 04-20-2022)

An additional benefit to landowners participating in an Open Gate agreement is limited liability protection.  This is extended to landowners under the terms of Statute 17-4-7 NMSA 1978 .

All properties are posted with rule and guidance signs to manage public access. Rules governing this access are agreed upon between the landowner and Department.  NMDGF Conservation Officers also include Open Gate properties in their regular patrols to help ensure that public hunters, anglers, and trappers comply with property rules and state regulations.

All Open Gate properties are posted with signs outlining the specific rules for a particular property.  This information is also available to users on the Property Locator tab above.  Rules are developed in cooperation with the landowner and the Open Gate program manager to best accommodate the wishes of the landowner and to accomplish the objectives of the program.

Providing Public Access for Hunting, Fishing, Trapping

Private landowners will have flexibility to determine permitted activities, legal species, and access dates when allowing direct public access to their property. Species included in the agreement are determined through a Department process involving local field staff, Conservation Officers, and Open Gate personnel.  Opportunities for the public are balanced against wildlife populations to assure both a good hunting or fishing experience, and sustained wildlife populations on the property and surrounding area.

Providing Right-of-Way Access to Public Lands

Participants providing right-of-way access to public lands will be able to work with NMDGF to determine roadways and access points that mutually meet the needs of the private landowner and public sportspersons. Applicable public lands include State Trust and Federal lands that provide excellent hunting, or fishing opportunities. Participating landowners are not required to hold a government lease on the public lands to which access will be improved. There is no minimum or maximum right-of-way length.

Some of the general rules that are included in all Open Gate agreements include:

  • Hunting activities may be restricted to drawn hunters only depending on species and GMU.
  • No trespassing unless you are a properly licensed sportsperson, are accompanied by a properly licensed sportsperson or are license-exempt.
  • Each properly licensed sportsperson or license-exempt person is allowed to be accompanied by no more than two guests.
  • Scouting is only permitted during the two days immediately preceding the commencement of open season dates.
  • No motor vehicle travel off designated roads or on closed roads.
  • No destructive acts, including vandalism, graffiti, theft, removal or defacing natural features, resources or signs.
  • No target practice.
  • No consumption of alcoholic beverages.
  • No camping.
  • No fires.
  • No littering.
  • Access allowed from: two hours before sunrise to: two hours after sunset.

Each of these is considered independently in each Open Gate agreement.

Most Open Gate agreements are on an annual basis which begin April 1 and expire the following March 31st.  Some properties sign multi-year agreements.  Agreements may be terminated at any time however payments will be prorated in those cases.

New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Conservation Officer checks for a license. (Open Gate private land hunts).

Payments are determined based on number of acres enrolled, quality of habitat, species allowed and demand for hunting or fishing opportunities in certain GMUs.  Agreed upon dollar amounts are contained in the agreement and are paid according to the provisions in the agreement.

Payments are issued at the end of the agreement period in April of each year if the property is under an annual agreement.  Properties under a long-term agreement may be paid annually, in a lump sum or a combination of payment options.  Landowners are required to submit an invoice and are paid within 30 days of submittal.

Leases and Application Process

Does your property provide quality hunting, fishing, or trapping opportunities? Can you help improve access to public land with restricted access? The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is accepting applications for the Open Gate program.

Apply Here! Icon of Open Gate Application Open Gate Application

Open Gate Authorized Ranch Contact

If you are interested in Open Gate participation, please submit a completed application. Applicants must also provide:

  • A copy of the recorded property deed(s)
  • The legal description for the property including acreage (from property tax records or deed)
  • A legible map showing the property boundary. Consider a 1:100,000 scale BLM land status map (easily obtained from BLM offices), USGS map, or an aerial photo map (from Google Maps, etc.).
  • If a lessee wishes to enroll a property in Open Gate, a copy of the existing lease with a notarized and signed statement from the landowner authorizing Open Gate participation is required.

All properties are subject to evaluation by NMDGF to determine if the lands or waters qualify for enrollment. Once your application is received, a representative from NMDGF will contact and work with you to complete the review process.

Open Gate leases are funded exclusively by hunters, anglers, and trappers through their purchase of the Habitat Management and Access Validation (HMAV).

For more information call the Open Gate Program Coordinator at (505) 476-8043 or the NMDGF Information Center at (888) 248-6866.

 

New Mexico hunter access to private land through the Department of Game and Fish program Open Gate

Rate a Property

Successful turkey harvest on private land near Tucumcari, made possible through Open Gate land lea

Relax and fish on Open Gate properties leased by New Mexico Game and Fish
Let NMDGF know about your Open Gate experience. Please take a moment to anonymously rate the Open Gate properties that you have used. Open Gate depends on voluntary feedback from hunters, anglers, and trappers to ensure that each property is providing an enjoyable outdoor experience. We know your experience can differ each time you go afield, so be sure to provide a separate rating each time you visit an Open Gate property.

Simply click the Rate button below. You will see a short online survey that allows you to provide feedback. Additional instructions are provided on the survey form.

Unsure which property in the list below you visited? Simply visit the Property Locator tab.

We appreciate your assistance!

 

For more information call the NMDGF Information Center at (888) 248-6866.