Written by: Devn Schumacher
May, 10 2021
The New Mexico ecosystem is well suited for the various types of games and wildlife. Some of the common games are deer, turkey, mountain lions, bears, and small game animals.
New Mexico has hunting regulations to ensure that hunting culture in the state is well preserved and recent activities do not affect future hunting. The state also implores hunters and residents, in general, to report any form of violation to the New Mexico Fish and Game Commission.
New Mexico’s Hunting Regulation and laws you should know as a hunter in the state include the following:
It is unlawful to lure games and wildlife with any attractant, scent, or deer urine. The state also prohibits the capture or hunting of big games with the use of any form of edible product. But exceptions are made for salt, water, or the mixture of salt with trace minerals that are originally designed for livestock.
Before you can hunt or capture games and wildlife in the state, it is compulsory that you own a valid license issued for either fishing or hunting. You must also be in possession of the license every time you go hunting. If a tag is necessary for hunting, you must possess one too. The license and tags must also be signed prior to any hunting activity in the state.
If you take any game or wildlife unlawfully, then according to hunting laws in New Mexico, the possession of such an animal is illegal. It does not matter if you were part of the hunting or capturing of the wildlife, as long as it was not lawfully taken, its possession is unlawful.
The New Mexico Game and Fish Commission has possession restrictions and bag limits for various types of species. The hunting of wildlife must be according to the quantity and limits defined by the commission. So it is important that you do research before taking wildlife.
It is compulsory to tag all big games captured in New Mexico. The tags usually carry instructions on the tagging procedure at their back. You must follow the instructions to the letter, as well as other tagging rules provided by the New Mexico Game and Fish Commission.
In New Mexico, you can only hunt wildlife and games in periods that the hunting commission prescribes. The commission is also responsible for stopping hunting periods, and during the close season, you may not hunt wildlife.
If you are a hunter specialized in a particular species, make sure that you get information about the regulations provided by the commission before embarking on a hunting journey.
New Mexico hunting laws prohibit the use of artificial light during coyote hunting season in the state. This also means that you are not allowed to make use of vehicle headlights or spotlights while hunting. However, exceptions are made for theft reasons but ensure that the firearm in the vehicle is not able to discharge when making use of the spotlight. The best way to go about this is to leave all firearms, ammunition, bows, and arrows outside the vehicle or in the camp.
The state also prohibits the use of artificial lights to prolong hunting shooting hours.
It is illegal to take games and wildlife from vehicles such as motor, watercraft, or aircraft. An exception is made for those that obtain permission from the New Mexico Fish and Game Commission. In the context of this regulation, the word “Take” refers to the hunting, killing, capturing, pursuing, and shooting of wildlife.
Furthermore, this regulation explains that you may not deliberately drive or hover around in a vehicle to search for wildlife before taking it. The purview of this law does not only stop at shooting the animal from a vehicle, you may not also transport wildlife with a vehicle. And it is a prohibition to get off the main road and move closer to wildlife with a vehicle.
You are only permitted to hunt games and wildlife with devices approved by the New Mexico fish and game commission. Making use of any other device is a prohibition.
It is unlawful to discharge firearms while hunting near a residential building unless you seek the permission of those living in the building. This regulation also includes the use of bow and arrow, inflated weapons that have a .35 caliber, and hybrid weapons. Buildings in this regulation also refer to constructions like cabins, huts, barns, and sheds.
Hunters must assume that the structures are occupied before hunting close to them. Violations to this regulation are common during bird hunting seasons like doves and quails.
It is compulsory for hunters to clean up when they are done with activities. There should be no litter in the camp, and all debris or castings should be moved out of camp. This also extends to the cleaning of animals’ carcasses. There are usually regulations in hunting jurisdictions for the disposal of carcasses and hunters must clean up according to these regulations.
It is a prohibition for hunters to discharge firearms from across the road or a railway while trying to take wildlife. These regulations also affect the shooting of bow and arrow. Hunters are advised to beware of this regulation since it is mostly violated during dove hunting seasons.
Before you can hunt games and wildlife in New Mexico, you need a valid license issued in the state. The age requirement to apply for any of the hunting licenses in New Mexico is 10 years old for both residents and non-residents hunters in the state. People under 10 years old are allowed to hunt other wildlife that is not big game, as long as they are under the supervision of a licensed hunter who is at least eighteen years old. The licensed hunter can only be in charge of at least 2 kids during a session.
Even if you have a valid hunting license in New Mexico, you will not be allowed to hunt games if you are under 14 years old and you are yet to undertake Hunter Education Training Course.
Residents of the state are allowed to buy a New Mexico resident hunting license. To be a resident of the state you must have lived in the state for a period of 6 months prior to the application of your license, permit, or tag. You must also not be a resident of another state in the US.
Other people that can apply for the New Mexico resident license are members of the US armed forces who are posted to the state for either permanent or temporary duties. Only those identified as residents of New Mexico may buy a resident hunting license in the state. Others may only apply for the non-resident license.
New Mexico issues complimentary licenses to those that meet the criteria to obtain free licenses in the state. Complimentary licenses can be used for fishing and hunting in the state. You can only get a complimentary license from the New Mexico Fish and Game Department.
This is a type of resident license issued in New Mexico to those who are at least 70 years old and have been a resident of the state for a minimum period of 25 years.
To obtain this type of license, a veteran must produce proof from the state Veteran administration to prove disabilities. The person must also be a resident of New Mexico for consecutive years prior to the application of the license.
New Mexico introduced an apprentice hunting license in 2009 as a way of improving the hunting culture of the state. The license is free of charge, and it is the state’s strategy to encourage more people to become hunters.
With a New Mexico apprentice hunting license, licensed hunters in the state will be able to take prospective ones on hunting adventures. The prospective or beginner hunters will not have to purchase a regular license to go hunting because of the apprentice license.
The license is not only valid for residents of New Mexico, but non-residents can also apply for it, and it is free of charge.
However, an apprentice license will only be valid for consecutive days, and can only be used for hunting small games, fur games, birds, predators, and nongame mammals.
You can get the apprentice license from the state Fish and Game department. But you must have a mentor who is a resident of New Mexico and a licensed hunter that is at least 18 years old before applying. The mentor must also not exceed the required 2 apprentice hunters in a year. Beginner hunters may only get one apprentice license in a year.
These types of licenses are for only residents of New Mexico. The cost for the application for a lifetime hunting license in the state will depend on the type of the license and the applicant's age.
Non-residents hunters that want to hunt in New Mexico have to obtain a non-permit tag form to purchase licenses, stamps, and hunting tags, etc. This can be done via mail, and they are required to submit the form to the state’s fish and game department separately, without a hunt permit tag application.
The type of fishing licenses that are available in New Mexico include the following:
New Mexico general fishing licenses are available for both residents and non-residents in the state, with prices of $37 and $55 respectively. The license can be used to partake in all state fishing activities.
This is a combination of both fishing and hunting licenses in New Mexico. They are also available for residents and Non-residents of the state at prices of $57 and $160 respectively
This is a fishing license issued by the New Mexico Fish and Game Department at a very subsidized price of $5 for both residents and non-residents youths.
This is a limited license to hunt and fish for a particular period. Residents can purchase this license at a price of $15 for one day, while non-residents can purchase at $20 for one day.
New Mexico community fishing licenses can be purchased at $24 for residents and non-residents of the state.
You do not require a New Mexico fishing license when taking part in fishing activities on public water, on a day that is free for fishing. Free fishing day in New Mexico is always on the first Saturday after the National Fishing and Boating Week.
You do not need a fishing license if you register to become a participant in a fishing clinic that is sponsored by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.
You do not need a fishing license for activities on any private water in the state, including tanks and ponds, as long as you seek permission from the property owner.
New Mexico provides unique hunting opportunities for wildlife such as turkey, quail, and deer. But for big games, the state will only offer animals such as bison, bears, and the bighorn sheep.
Hunting season in New Mexico varies for the games and the types of weapons used to take them.
The 2020/21 hunting season for various wildlife in New Mexico includes the following:
Also, a lot of bighorn sheep are almost inaccessible, so you should only prepare to hunt them down in backcountry regions that are isolated.
New Mexico turkey hunting is only possible with a valid license and tag. Also, there is a hunting limit of just one turkey per annum.
New Mexico Javelina hunting requires a valid state permit, and hunters are issued the permits through a lottery system organized by the state Fish and Game Department. The limit for Javelina hunting in New Mexico is a maximum of 2 per annum.
New Mexico bear hunting is legal for all black bears, but exceptions are made for little cubs and sows.
In New Mexico, mountain lion hunting is limited to just one animal per annum. There are 2 shooting hours for mountain lions, daylight, and daylong periods. For daylight hunts, it must be during the daytime, while daylong includes daytime and midnight.
The date for each season may vary according to zones for all games and wildlife in the state.
New Mexico is one of the states in the US where you have hunting opportunities for big games, small games, furbearers, Waterfowl, and Predators.
Some of the wildlife games available for hunting in the state include the following:
Pronghorns are one of the big game hunting peculiar to states in the Northern part of America. Pronghorns in New Mexico inhabit the northern plains of the state and high elevations exist among forest areas. They are also found in herds on grassland areas in the southeast part of the state.
The New Mexico Game and Fish Department manages the 2 bison herds in the state. They are the Raymond herd and the House Rock herd.
Bighorns in New Mexico consist of the Rocky Mountains and deserts, and the Department of Fish and Game estimates that there are about 6000 of them.
At a point in time Elks were one of the populated deer species in North America, and you could find them almost everywhere. But a reduction in their figure came about due to agriculture activities and unregulated elk hunting in New Mexico and other states. The population of Elks in New Mexico today is just around 35,000.
Mountain lions are widely dispersed in various regions of New Mexico, and they can be found in most places where herds are located since they prey on deer.
Pigeons in New Mexico are bad-tailed pigeons and they are not the same as the feral ones usually found in towns and city regions of the state.
Dusky grouse in New Mexico inhabit aspen forests and mixed conifer parts of the state.
There are quite a lot of dove species that occur in New Mexico, and the most common of them is the Mourning Dove.
Chukars in New Mexico mostly migrate from India as they are only native birds to the middle east region.
Waterfowl hunters in New Mexico can get to hunt from about the 15 species available in the state.
Bobcat in New Mexico is a very common predator animal and evenly distributed in the state.
For fox hunting in the state, there are 3 various species, namely, gray fox, red fox, and kit fox.
Some of the public shooting ranges in New Mexico include the following:
Hunting lands for sale in New Mexico include the following:
There are currently no hunting lands for lease in New Mexico.