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New Mexico Exotic Hunting

New Mexico Exotic Hunting

New Mexico is the only state in the West that offers free­-range exotic hunts on public land. Barbary sheep, oryx, and ibex can all be hunted on public land. Trophy quality animals are a great possibility for all three species. We work with some great outfitters in New Mexico, so give us a call if you are interested in hunting the exotic species.

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New Mexico Barbary Sheep Hunting

Barbary sheep (aoudad) can be found in most locations in New Mexico, other than the northeast corner of the state. We have listed the draw hunts in our table, but there are also over-­the-counter tags available in other areas of the state. Most of the Barbary sheep in the over-the-counter units are found on private land. There are a few sheep available on public land, but they get a ton of hunting pressure on the over-the-counter tags.

The best unit is 28 (McGregor Range), which has a short two-day season of December 31-January 1. Unit 28 only has 20 tags, so you don't have much hunting pressure. Draw odds in the non-resident draw were 0.2% and they were 1% in the guide draw in 2021. Unfortunately, the weather was poor and glass was difficult during the two-day hunt this last year. Hunters struggled with only about half a day of good weather. Harvest success typically runs between 50% for this area for self-guided hunters and nearly 100% on the guided hunts.

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The second best unit is 29, 30. This unit has a lot of public land and a higher population of Barbary sheep. There are five seasons you can apply for on this unit. The best hunt is the rifle hunt October 8-12. The sheep will still be rutting during this hunt. There is a rifle season in October, December, January, and February and an archery season the beginning of January. The third best unit is 32, 34, 36, 37. There is a rifle season in October, December, January, and February and an archery season the beginning of January. This unit has a higher population, but a lot of the sheep are found on private land. There are sheep on public land, but those herds get a lot of hunting pressure. The best way to have success is to find some good private land on this unit or to hire an outfitter.

New Mexico Barbary Sheep Season Dates
  • Archery/Bow Jan. 1-15**
  • General Season Oct. 9-March 31**

**Season dates vary by zone. Barbary sheep hunts vary by region. For more information on a legal hunt, visit the New Mexico Game and Fish Department website.

New Mexico Oryx Hunting

The best oryx hunts take place on the White Sands Missile Range. The success rates on the range are great with most units having over 90% success during the three-day hunt. There are three areas on the range that offer hunts. The Stallion Range and the Rhodes Canyon Range are hands down the best units for hunters to ??apply for who want a trophy oryx. There is a chance at a 3611+ bull on the Stallion Range and the Rhodes Canyon Range. In 2019, they opened the Red Canyon. This hunt is going to be more difficult to harvest a top end bull than the hunts on Stallion or Rhodes. All three units are Premier, once-in-a-lifetime hunts.

The McGregor Range has a smaller population of oryx but holds some good bulls. They offer two hunts, with the first in December and the second in January. Each hunt has 25 tags available. This unit typically has lower success as you only have a two-day season. The McGregor Range hunt is not once-in-a-lifetime.

New Mexico also offers a limited number of tags in all three Missile Range units for broken-horned oryx hunts. These hunts have better draw odds and are not once-in-a-lifetime. If you are looking to apply for the broken-horned oryx, we recommend you apply for the Stallion Range or Rhodes Canyon Range. Both units have a lot of broken-horned oryx available.

New Mexico Oryx Season Dates
  • General Season Sept. 10-Feb. 27***

***Season dates vary by zone.

New Mexico Ibex Hunting

The Florida Mountains (unit 25) in the southwestern part of the state is home to Persian ibex. New Mexico offers archery, muzzleloader, and rifle hunts all through the draw on the Florida Mountains. They also offer over-the-counter tags that are available off the Florida Mountains. They are not managing for ibex anywhere else in the state, and these tags are helping to keep the population only on the Florida Mountains. It is rare for an ibex to be taken on the over-the-counter tags.

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The Florida Mountains are made up of an extremely rugged terrain. Ibex can be found all over the Florida Mountains. Most of the mountain is public land. There is a road all the way around the base of the mountain that allows you to glass from every side. Hunters will need to be in shape if they are planning to hunt these mountains. The rifle hunt is the only one that is once-in-a-lifetime and is your best chance at a mature billy. The muzzleloader hunt can still be a great hunt. The archery hunts are very difficult with low success. Expect a physical hunt with long-range shots and very steep angles, often in windy conditions. You will also have 100 tag holders to compete with. A guide or a couple guys helping you spot will really increase your chance of taking an ibex with a bow. Keep in mind on the October archery hunt that this unit is loaded with rattlesnakes.

The ibex population is down due to all of the population-reduction hunts that have been taking place the past few years. There will be four female-immature ibex hunts with a total of 80 licenses for the upcoming season. With the reduction in female-immature ibex, we should start to see an increase in billy age class over the next few years. A billy with horns over 4011 is a trophy, and a couple could go as high as 42-43” The good old days of 46-50” billies on the Florida Mountain are a thing of the past.

New Mexico Ibex Season Dates
  • Archery/Bow Oct. 1-Jan. 29*
  • Muzzleloader Dec. 6-20*
  • General Season Nov. 15-Mar. 27*

*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 Exotic 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 Exotics 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 Exotic Hunts in New Mexico

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Application Dates for Exotic 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 Exotic Hunting Fees

Licenses & Permits Fee
Adult Game Hunting License (non-refundable) $65
Junior Game Hunting License (non-refundable) $15
Oryx License $1,623
Barbary Sheep License $373
Ibex License $1,623
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 Exotic Hunting Articles from Huntin' Fool Magazine