New Mexico’s Hunting Seasons

The results of New Mexico’s Big Game Licenses Draw are now available online, by telephone, or in person at NMDGF offices. Hunters who applied for New Mexico Big Game Licenses this hunting season are able to find out their results seven days earlier than originally expected. For those hunters not awarded, refunds will be posted to their credit cards or checking accounts within two weeks.

Out of a record-breaking 203,000 applicants, only 58,000 fortunate hunters will be awarded licenses to hunt javelina, ibex, oryx, Barbary sheep, antelope, deer, and elk this season. However, Turkey Season began April 15th, giving hunters ample opportunities to get some hunting in and score some game.

New Rules for New Mexico

There are a couple of new rules for New Mexico’s hunters as of 2018-2019 season:

  • A separate carcass tag and antler/horn tag (if applicable) is required now for all turkey and big game hunts. Do not hunt without your valid tags.
  • Have your printed license with you while hunting.
  • Harvest reporting is now mandatory for all deer, elk, Barbary sheep, javelina, ibex, oryx, turkey, pronghorn antelope, and trapper license holders. This rule stands whether a harvest or hunt occurred. 

Know the Criminal Penalties

There are also new criminal penalties for felony waste of game as of 2018, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the 2018-2019 hunting rules and info. 

Shooting Hours in New Mexico

Legal shooting hours for upland game, big game, turkey, and furbearers occur from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset, unless otherwise noted on the NMDGF website. Some exceptions are in place for Bernardo (youth pheasants), W.S. Huey, and Urraca Counties, which enforces hours occurring one half-hour before sunrise to 1 p.m.; and for pheasants on W.S. Huey land which enforces hours of a half-hour before sunrise until 4 p.m.

As Spring gives way to Summer, hunters will shift their focus to their Fall Hunts. Some upcoming dates to keep in mind: (dates are subject to change. Please refer to NMDGF website for the most up-to-date schedule)

  • August 22nd: 5 p.m. deadline to apply for special permits for pheasant hunting
  • September 1st: Bow-only Turkey Season Begins as well a Dusky (Blue) Grouse and Squirrel Hunting
  • November 1st: Turkey Fall Season Begins
  • November 15th: Quail Season Begins
  • December 6th: Pheasant Season Begins (excludes Valencia County) 

Feral Hogs and Javelinas

Feral Hogs may be legally hunted year-round by residents and nonresidents without a license. The same basic hunting rules still apply (permission required to hunt on private land, no artificial light assistance, no discharging of firearms within 150 yards of occupied dwellings). Be sure to know the difference between feral hogs and javelinas. Javelinas are a protected game species. They’re smaller than feral hogs and do not have a tail. Javelinas also have a white stripe of hair near their shoulders and necks. For more information on locations to hunt feral hogs throughout New Mexico, contact the USDA at 866-487-3297.

For hunting information of individual species’ dates and locations,  refer to each species section in the 2018-2019 New Mexico Hunting Rules and Information Publication. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is now offering a free mobile app to assist with access to fishing reports, maps, license purchases, Operation Game Thief, and rules and regulations. Check out your mobile phone’s app store to download this free and handy app on your cellular device.

We hope you have a fun, safe, and successful hunt! Don’t forget about New Mexico’s Free Fishing Days on June 2nd and September 22nd! (Dates are subject to change)

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