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9 Tips for New Mexico Off-Range Oryx Hunting

February 2024
Author: Jessica Taylor Byers

Since I began hunting New Mexico in 2015, I seem to find any excuse to make it back and chase the diverse range of beautiful animals. I’ve heard about the oryx hunting over the years, and while I haven’t been applying for this tag myself, I was pumped to hear that one of my best friends drew it through our License Application Service for the second year in a row.

To be clear, there are three types of tags available: on-range draw, off-range draw, and private land over-the-counter. The on-range hunts are the hardest to draw, as outlined in our New Mexico state section. The off-range license is easier to draw, but it’s still a random draw at the end of the day. You’ll have better odds if you apply under an outfitter number for either option. Rihana was able to draw off-range through an outfitter both years. Thankfully, I’m a licensed guide in New Mexico, so when she invited me to come on the hunt, it was an easy yes. I knew very little about the species before this hunt, and luckily the crew at G3 Outfitters was willing to help us out, but here are nine takeaways from this first-time experience, in no particular order:

1. Timing is everything! They do come off the range and go to water, but they can go multiple days without it. If you can time it as they’re headed back to the range, you’ll be in a great position.

2. Prepare to glass until your eyeballs feel like they’re going to pop out. You’ll be shocked to see how well they blend into the sagebrush or right up against the thousands of yucca plants. Look for the “V” of their horns or the swish of their long, black horse-like tails. Sure, their grey bodies and white faces can stick out, but don’t rely on that.

3. They’re some of the toughest animals I’ve ever hunted. She put multiple bullets in the vitals of this bull with a 28 Nosler and he hung on for longer than either of us would like. His front shoulder looked like gravel when we cleaned him. I’m in awe at their will to live. Apparently, it’s not unusual to shoot one multiple times, so be prepared for a follow-up shot.

4. The monsoons in the late summer months can make driving the roads a little western, so don’t take a 2WD truck on this hunt. We learned that the hard way! Prepare for muddy and sandy roads, with potential wash-outs from the heavier downpours. We turned around several times and got stuck more than once.

5. They don’t jump the fences. They will duck under them, making some obvious “highways” in the dirt to and from the range. After a rainstorm, these stand out and are worth scouting for.

6.Having a couple buddies spotting for you and walking you in will be extremely helpful to your success. The country is very flat, but it has enough rolling terrain that you can close the gap a little easier with some guidance. This is ultimately how we were able to punch her tag, thanks to Pierce and Joel!

7. While you will most likely get an opportunity by keeping the above in mind, don’t expect to get too many. Capitalize on what’s presented. We had a great opportunity on opening day and then again on the sixth day, which was the day that she killed. It can be tempting to wait it out when you see so many, but the majority of those numbers will be on-range. I wouldn’t recommend being too picky.

8. Prepare to spend a lot of time behind the wheel, staying as mobile as possible. Do not get stuck in one area. Glass the country well, and if you aren’t seeing them, move on. You’ll definitely put some miles on your truck.

9.The biggest prize at the end of this hunt will be the meat. Most will argue that it’s the best meat you can get. It’s worth considering shooting a respectable female to not go home empty-handed because it truly is delicious.

The cherry on top is experiencing this hunt with one of your best friends. I believe hunting is meant to bring people together, and this one certainly strengthened our friendship. Friendship to me is...

·      Going on a 10-hour road trip to another state

·      Being a +1 when you don’t have your own tag burning a hole in your pocket

·      Getting your truck stuck twice in 6 days in the middle of nowhere and being able to laugh about it

·      Snapping at each other when emotions are high, then recognizing and apologizing for it

·      Rolling with the punches when you couldn’t turn up an animal to stalk

·      Not blaming each other when the stalk didn’t go as planned

·      Cooking quality meals as a team at the end of the day when you’re both drained

·      Having hard conversations about life, marriage, work, and everything in between

·      Breaking down an animal together when you’re #TaggedOut

·      Spontaneously driving over an hour north in bloody camo to see Post Malone in concert to cap the trip

These off-range hunts are available 10 months out of the year, and my tips above are based on an early August hunt. It’s nice having the flexibility to plan around your personal schedule throughout the year due to the ability to apply month by month. However, keep in mind that if you apply outside of those July and August options, you might sacrifice those really hot months that I believe are a huge advantage because it forces them to leave the range and go to water. The hotter the better in this case, but with it also being monsoon season, it provides you a different opportunity to track them when it lets up. To me, that’s a win-win compared to a later month where you don’t have either benefit.

Give us a call to become a License Application Client like Rihana and let us help you draw an off-range oryx tag, or contact Huntin’ Fool Adventures and let us book you a private land over-the-counter tag!