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New Mexico Exotic Hunting


New Mexico Exotic Hunting 2024

Available New Mexico Exotics Hunts --- Search HF Aventures

One of the coolest things New Mexico offers is its exotic species hunts. The state offers three different exotic species to hunt, and all are totally different style hunts in very different terrain. New Mexico offers Barbary sheep, ibex and oryx hunting opportunities. All three of the species are beautiful and unique in their own way.

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New Mexico Oryx Hunting

New Mexico offers some of the best free-range oryx hunting you will find anywhere in the world. They offer hunts almost year-round to fit anyone’s schedule. Most everyone who has looked into oryx hunting in New Mexico has heard about the White Sands Missile Range hunts. These hunts are the most well-known, and most of them are three days long. They are very hard to draw but very rewarding if drawn. The success rates on the range are very high considering it is only a three-day hunt. One thing to remember on the on-range hunts is that the three days are not guaranteed. If the Military has something going on during your hunt dates, your hunt could be cut short. Nothing has really changed from 2023 to 2024 with the on-range hunts. The hunts are still taking place on the Stallion Range and Rhodes Canyon.

If you are able to apply for a mobility hunt in New Mexico, they have a Mobility Impaired-only hunt in October. The trophy oryx hunts on range are once-in-a-lifetime. The state offers broken horn hunts on range as well that you can apply for each year even if you have drawn a once-in-a-lifetime hunt before. With multiple hunts on range, be sure to check the hunt codes before applying to make sure you’re applying for the three choices that fit you the best.

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. They also offer two Military-only hunts in the McGregor range.

Remember, hunters who successfully draw a WSMR hunt and their guests must complete a security-background check to be allowed on WSMR. Security-background registration forms will be sent in advance to all successful license holders prior to the hunt. All hunters and guests must have completed forms approved prior to being allowed access to WSMR. Hunters and guests must also wear 244 square inches of blaze orange clothing while hunting on range.

New Mexico offers off-range hunts as well. These hunts are not once-in-a-lifetime, and you can harvest any oryx you see. Typically, these hunts are harder to find the numbers of oryx like you would see on range, but these hunts have great harvest success and are much easier to draw. One great thing about these hunts is they are a full month long, so you will have plenty of time to cover a lot of country to find them. The off-range hunts start in June and run through December. Be sure to look at your schedule and see what months work best for you to apply for the off-range oryx hunts if hunting oryx is on your bucket list.

If you don’t have the time to spend scouting, give us a call we work with some great outfitters that spend a ton of time looking for oryx off range. Most of your outfitted hunts for oryx in New Mexico will be three to four days long. If you think you will be hiring an outfitter, it is best to apply with the outfitter to get the better draw odds like other species in New Mexico.

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

***Season dates vary by zone.

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. The OTC hunts can be very challenging and crowded at times, but there are plenty of sheep in these areas bouncing back and forth between private and public lands. If you are interested in hunting the OTC hunts for Barbary sheep, be sure you have onX to help you navigate private property. Stay very mobile when chasing Barbary sheep as they tend to stay on the move and are usually never where you left them the day before. Glassing on all of these hunts is a must, so find high vantage points and let your glass do most of the work.

The best unit is 28 (McGregor Range). Not much has changed for the 2024 season on the McGregor Range when it comes to Barbary sheep. There will still be 10 total tags on the December hunt with the dates being December 14-18, 2024. This will make unit 28 even harder to draw for the trophy hunter. Both of the female – immature hunts are available on the McGregor range, so make sure you double check hunt codes when applying for these hunts. The first female – immature hunt will take place December 28-29, 2024 and will have 80 total tags available. The second hunt will be January 4-5, 2025 and will have 50 tags available. Harvest success is still holding very good on these hunts in the McGregor Range.

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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. These are both great units with a ton of country to glass and turn up sheep. Some great rams were taken in 2023 out of both 29 and 30. You will have a ton of country to cover on these hunts, so be prepared with fuel and everything else you will need to possibly stay out for a few days to best optimize your chances at a great ram. Trophy rams were harder to find in 2023 with the state raising tags and putting more hunters on the landscape. The total number of tags on the first any legal weapon hunt is 75 total tags again with hunt dates being October 10-16, 2024. The second any legal weapon hunt also stayed at 75 tags with hunt dates of December 4-10, 2024. These are by far the best hunts in these units. The later hunts, the rams tend to get back in bachelor groups and can be harder to find as they are usually away from the ewes and in smaller groups. The later hunts in 29 and 30 will take place.

January 20-26, 2025 with a total of 200 tags available; February 1-7, 2025 with 200 tags available; February 12-18, 2025 with another 200 tags available; and February 21-27, 2025 with 200 tags available. It will be smart to try to get away from roads on these later hunts as you will see a lot of other hunters driving the roads and glassing the mountain faces. If you are wanting to chase Barbary sheep with a bow, the bow-only season dates are January 1-15, 2025 with 75 tags available. This is a very low success rate hunt as they are hard to get close to in the open country, but it’s very rewarding when it all comes together. All hunts and tags are either sex in unit 29, 30.

The third best unit is 32, 36, 37. This cluster of units holds a good number of sheep, but you will have to deal with a ton of private land, and that’s usually where you will find sheep. You can navigate your way around most of the private land, but onX is a must. These units have a lot of tags and a lot of different hunt dates, but don’t shy away from them as there is plenty of land available to hunt even with the private land issues. The first hunt is in October with 75 tags available, and the second hunt is in December with 50 tags available. They have two hunts available in December, with the later December hunt having 75 tags available. These are the best three hunts in these units with the later hunts dates having way more hunters in the field. The January and February hunts all have 150 tags available. There is also a bow-only hunt in these units in January with 75 tags available.

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 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 very rare for an ibex to be taken on the over-the-counter tags.

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The Florida Mountains are some of the roughest mountains in New Mexico. The ibex run all over these mountains, so you will need to spend a good bit of time glassing to find where they are hanging out. With the numbers being lower than normal, it has gotten a lot harder to find a big billy. With this being a rough hunt, hunters will need to be in good shape to make the most of this tag. There is a road that goes around the entire mountain that you can glass a good bit of country from. You will run into a few pieces of private land with locked gates, but you can still glass the mountain without having to go through the private land. The any legal weapon hunt for ibex is a once-in-a-lifetime hunt, but the muzzleloader and bow hunts are not. The tag totals stayed the same for 2024 with 100 archery tags available in October and 100 archery tags available in January. If you are thinking about applying for the October archery hunt, be prepared to run into rattlesnakes. The muzzleloader hunt in February will have 15 tags available and so will the once-in-a-lifetime rifle hunt in November. There will still be two female – immature hunts available in 2024 with 20 tags on each.

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

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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 20, 2024 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