New Mexico is known for big pronghorn and elk. It’s a state which doesn’t have a point system, so you can get in the game anytime you want and still have a shot at drawing the best tags. With that said, it has a unique non-resident cap structure, which drives down the non-resident’s opportunity to draw.
I only apply for elk in New Mexico and I usually look over the precipitation data before I apply. If it’s a dry winter and spring, I don’t apply. That’s the great thing about their current system, I don’t have to apply just to stay in the game.
New Mexico hunting unit’s 15, 16, 17, 22 & 23 have received good early monsoon rain this year. These are the Apache/Cibola/Gila/Payette National Forest Units and they are known for producing some of New Mexico’s best trophy elk. If I was holding an elk tag during one of the rutting season, I would be anticipating an earlier rut start in these units.
New Mexico has not received a lot of good winter and spring rain over the past few years, but the Monsoon has helped a bunch during the summer months. It will be interesting to see if New Mexico’s elk antler growth benefited from a late, but strong 2013 Monsoon season.
If you are hunting New Mexico this year, feel free to shoot us some pictures and give us some updates!