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New Mexico Bighorn Sheep Hunting

New Mexico Bighorn Sheep Hunting

With world-class animals of both species available, anyone who is serious about hunting Rocky Mountain or Desert bighorn sheep needs to be applying in New Mexico. The lucky applicants who can beat the odds of drawing should have a great chance at harvesting a giant ram. New Mexico continues to do an excellent job of managing their sheep herds. Stable populations of older age class rams exist in all of the sheep herds across the state.

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New Mexico Bighorn Sheep Draw

To apply for sheep in New Mexico, non­residents must front the expensive $3,173 license fee. If unsuccessful in the draw, New Mexico will refund all of the license fee minus a $13 application fee. For 2022, there will be 26 Rocky Mountain ram tags issued in the draw and 24 Desert ram tags. Of these, there will be two licenses awarded in the outfitter draw for each species and one license for each species awarded in the non-resident draw. An additional Rocky Mountain ram tag will also be available in the outfitter or non-resident draw, whichever one draws it first. We recommend applying attached to an outfitter to increase your odds of drawing a tag.

The draw process allows applicants to apply for both Desert and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep with up to three choices each. You can list three hunt codes on your sheep application, but two of the codes available are for ewe licenses, which cost the same as the ram licenses. As such, applicants must be careful and not apply for a ewe tag unless you are willing to spend $3,173 to harvest a ewe.

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For 2021 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, eight rams scoring 180" or more were checked in. Book rams were harvested in Pecos, Latir, Wheeler Peak, and Rio Grande Gorge. The first hunt on Wheeler Peak continues its hold as the best hunt in the state, and for the third consecutive year, it was responsible for producing the biggest ram harvested statewide. This 11-year-old ram was taken on the statewide auction tag and taped out at 188 1/8".

Desert bighorns are doing really great with 10 rams harvested that scored over 168". The biggest ram in the state came out of the Ladrones unit and scored 185 3/8" • Desert sheep really don't get any better than that! The other hunts that typically produce Boone and Crockett minimums are the San Andres, Hatchet Mountains, Caballo, and Peloncillos. Every Desert sheep unit in the state has produced 168"+ rams in the last couple of years.

New Mexico will allocate several Rocky Mountain bighorn ewe tags. There will again be 30 tags issued on the Pecos hunts and 28 tags in the Rio Grande Gorge unit. These allocations include the archery-only ewe tags in both units. You can find more information on the ewe hunts on pages 92 and 93 of the regulations or by giving us a call.

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New Mexico has terrible odds of drawing a sheep tag, but someone has to draw. With Boone and Crockett rams in almost every unit, you can believe that all of us at Huntin' Fool are applying for sheep in New Mexico. With no bonus points, everyone has the same odds.

New Mexico Bighorn Sheep Season Dates

General Season

  • Aug. 6-Jan. 31**

**Season dates vary by zone and take method. For more information, visit the New Mexico Department Game & Fish’s website.

Self Guided DIY New Mexico Bighorn Sheep Hunts

For access to all of our research and data we've collected over the last 20+ years, then join today and access the best research tools for hunting Bighorn Sheep in New Mexico including 3D Maps, Draw Odds, Consultations and much more. Go on more hunts with better information!

Private Land, Semi-Guided, and Guided Bighorn Sheep Hunts in New Mexico

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Application Dates for Bighorn Sheep in New Mexico

The New Mexico Big Game Application deadline is March 16, 2022 at 5:00 PM MDT.

Our online/print magazine has everything in one location: Application info, draw details and odds, fees, hunter requirements, point structure, age restrictions, youth information, weapon restrictions, other tag opportunities, hunt planning and much more. If you would like access to all of our research join today!

New Mexico Non-Resident Bighorn Sheep Hunting Fees

Licenses & Permits Fee
Adult Game Hunting License (non-refundable) $65
Junior Game Hunting License (non-refundable) $15
Bighorn Sheep License $3,173
Habitat Management and Access Validation (required) $4
Habitat Stamp (if purchased on or after April 1st) (required by all who hunt BLM or USFS land) $10
License fees include a non-refundable application fee for each species. $13
 

 

New Mexico Bighorn Sheep Hunting Articles from Huntin' Fool Magazine