Deer Hunting in New Mexico

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  • C
  • 12,000

    Est. Whitetail Population

  • 36,000 (includes mule deer and whitetail)

    No. Licenses Sold Annually

  • $54 and Up (license, permit and stamps for standard unit)

    Resident fees may vary by unit.

    Resident hunting license and deer permit

  • $340 and up

    Non-resident fees may vary by unit.

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • 176 3/8"

    The whitetail was taken by Samuel J. Beatty in Colfax County in 2019 and is currently ranked 2058. The Coues deer was taken by Victor Giacoletti in Grant County in 1981 and is currently ranked 4th.

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • 2 whitetail; 49 Coues

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 186 1/8"

    Coues whitetail — Taken by Peter Chase in Hidalgo County in 1941, the buck is the No. 2 Coues non-typical whitetail of all time.

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 9 Coues

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Season Dates (2020):

Season dates vary greatly by unit, and all tags are offered on an annual draw basis. Please refer to the New Mexico Game & Fish website for specific season dates.

The Grade: C

Known more for mule deer opportunities, the Land of Enchantment nonetheless has small pockets of whitetails around the river bottoms and agricultural fields along the Texas border, and a Coues whitetail population in the southwest corner of the state. New Mexico is the only state in the Union that offers both the Coues and Texanus subspecies of whitetails. The larger Texanus subspecies are mainly found on private land, but a few pockets do exist on BLM ground.

According to New Mexico Game & Fish, the draw process generally distributes at least 84% of the licenses for each hunt to New Mexico residents, 10% to residents or nonresidents who’ve contracted with an outfitter and 6% to nonresidents who have not contracted with an outfitter. Unfortunately, that leaves little opportunity for the DIY hunters, but there’s still hope. Almost all of the deer hunts here are on a draw basis, but leftover tags are pretty common, especially in lesser units.

Hunters haven't noticed many changes in the past couple seasons. According to New Mexico Department of Game & Fish biologists, major alterations are conducted on a four-year rule cycle, and the next changes will be made after the 2022 hunting season.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

New Mexico’s Coues deer numbers are stable, and for the hunter looking to add one to his trophy room, there are good public-land opportunities in the Burro Mountains of unit 23, as well as unit 27. For opportunity areas with high deer densities, don’t overlook units 2B, 16, 21, 24, 26, 30, 31, 32, 34, 36 or 37, either. Among those, 21 might just qualify as the biggest sleeper on the list. Generally, for most of these areas, success rates generally hover around 30 percent (in most years), and sometimes higher. For areas with higher quality bucks, it’s hard to beat units 2C, 4, 5B, 6A, 6C, 31, 33 and 45. Of course, these usually take longer (more points) to draw.