Hunting in New Mexico, USA

New Mexico Hunting Trips

New Mexico covers 121,412 square miles in the American Southwest. The landscape varies from spectacularly colored deserts to rugged, flat-topped mesas to high, snowcapped mountains. Heavily forested mountain wilderness covers a significant portion of the state, especially in the north. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains run though the north of the state. New Mexico has huge areas of national forest land open to public hunting.

Hunting in New Mexico is as varied as the terrain. Game species include elk, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, mountain lion, black bear, javelina, pronghorn, wild turkeys, small game, upland birds and waterfowl. New Mexico also offers unique hunting opportunities for exotic species such as Persian ibex, oryx, Barbary sheep or aoudad, which have been introduced in some areas. New Mexico is one of the few states with four species of quail to hunt – scaled, Gambel’s, bobwhite and Montezuma quail.

Many New Mexico big-game licenses are available only through a draw, but tags for certain species including Barbary sheep, bear, cougar, deer, ibex, javelina, turkey and oryx on private land may be available over the counter, and landowner tags for elk and pronghorn are available through many outfitters, so drawing a tag in advance of the season is not always required. While hunting big game, you must have in your possession a hunting license, a permit for the species hunted (if required), a habitat management and access validation, and a habitat stamp if hunting on BLM or Forest Service lands. Wearing blaze orange is not required, but it is strongly encouraged.

New Mexico has many outstanding professional hunting outfitters. The New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides ( offers information and a directory of guides. Learn more about hunting regulations in New Mexico at