Deer Hunting in New Mexico

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  • D
  • 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

    Nonresident fees may vary by unit.

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • 176 3/8" (whitetail) / 134 4/8" (Coues)

    The whitetail was taken by Samuel J. Beatty in Colfax County in 2019; the Coues deer, by Victor Giacoletti in Grant County in 1981.

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • 2 whitetail; 51 Coues

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 186 1/8"

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

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 10 Coues

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Peter Chase tagged the No. 2 all-time non-typical Coues whitetail in New Mexico. Image courtesy of Boone and Crockett

Season Dates (2022):

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

The Grade: D

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

According to New Mexico Game and 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 DIY hunters, but there’s still hope. Almost all 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 of seasons. According to New Mexico Game and 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 hunters looking to add one to their trophy room, there are good public-land opportunities in the Burro Mountains of units 23 and 27. For opportunity areas with high deer densities, don’t overlook units 2B, 16, 21, 24, 26, 30, 31, 32, 34, 36 or 37. Among those, 21 might qualify as the biggest sleeper. Generally, for most of these areas, success rates hover around 30% in most years but are sometimes higher. For areas with higher-quality bucks, it’s tough to beat units 2C, 4, 5B, 6A, 6C, 31, 33 and 45. Of course, these usually take longer (more points) to draw.

Get your deer hunting gear at the Realtree store.