New Mexico Mule Deer - First Public Land Trip

Texas024

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Aug 21, 2019
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A buddy and I are planning a trip to NM for the 2020-2021 deer season. We're trying to get a head start this year on scouting and picking out a GMU. Based off of our research on the NMGDF website and 2019-2020 draw information, we are looking specifically at #41, #36, and #27.

We're looking for a GMU where we have a high chance of drawing together, so any other suggestions on different GMU's are certainly welcome. Just wanted to see what insight the community could share as we look to start hunting western states on a yearly basis.
 

Texas024

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Thanks teej. Do you know of any podcasts and or youtube videos for the area. Also - any local knowledge on what the national forest systems are like during the hunting season? Are there too many recreational hikers and tourists, or is the pressure not bad? Trying to make this trip somewhat convenient to Albuquereque and Santa Fe, but I suspect that Cibola and Santa Fe National Forests are heavily trafficked.
 

Rzrbck918

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Bixby Oklahoma
Welcome the the forum. My experience in the SFNF and the Pecos wilderness is it is not too crowded. There are several local guys on the forum you can contact but you have 8 months before the draw starts. Gohunt and On-x are lifesavers for determining opportunity. The further in you go, the less people you see...that is until you go far enough to run into some of the guys around here. Good luck!
 

3855WIN

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You need to research draw odds. It’s not easy to draw the better units in the non resident unguided draw.
 

NMGuy

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Roswell, NM
As others have mentioned, gohunt would be a great tool to help you pick a unit.

What weapon are you planning to hunt with (bow, muzzle loader, rifle)? That can greatly impact your odds of drawing a tag and will impact the number of animals and hunters you see while out in the field.

What do you consider to be "convenient to ABQ or Santa Fe"? I ask because the farthest unit you mentioned is about a 5 hour drive from ABQ while the closest is about a 2.5 hour drive.

Unit 36 has some rough country and plenty of areas where you could get away from the crowds. Ruidoso gets pretty busy during certain times of the year because it's some of the closest mountain action for the Texans up in the panhandle.
 

Texas024

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Also, I like New Mexico, but don’t limit yourself to one state.
I hear you on that. The reason we're focused on New Mexico is just the convenience of coming from Texas. We're both young professionals so New Mexico is just the most convenient western state for us.

We were talking about finding some OTC tags in Arizona later this year potentially, I just don't know if I'll have the time as I'm doing a red stag hunt in April.
 

Texas024

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What do you consider to be "convenient to ABQ or Santa Fe"? I ask because the farthest unit you mentioned is about a 5 hour drive from ABQ while the closest is about a 2.5 hour drive.
As long as we're less than 4 hours from the airport it should be fine
 

nmtaxi

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Albuquerque
If I was you, I would look into different species. New Mexico has some fantastic hunting, but for mule deer, most western states are better. The units you are looking at are all drastically different. Not much public land in 41. State land can sometimes be difficult to access. Most of it is "walk-in". 27 can be a really good hunt for mulies or coues, but the reason the draw odds are what they are is because the border down there if very active with illegal crossings and cartel activity. I've been down there and haven't had issues, but I know several people that had some scary encounters. Get on the game and fish website and look at the harvest reports and satisfaction ratings.
 

TexanSam

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I hear you on that. The reason we're focused on New Mexico is just the convenience of coming from Texas. We're both young professionals so New Mexico is just the most convenient western state for us.

We were talking about finding some OTC tags in Arizona later this year potentially, I just don't know if I'll have the time as I'm doing a red stag hunt in April.
What part of Texas you coming from? Unless you're living in the western part of the state, there's probably some much better mule deer units in Colorado for the same or slightly more driving time.
 

sbhooper

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North Platte, Nebraska
I lived in Alamogordo for a number of years. The Sacramento Mountains used to have great deer hunting, but i have not been there for a long time. That is easily accessible for you, coming from Texas and the draw is pretty easy -or at least it used to be. I always hunted mz, as I did not want to deal with the center fire crowd, but you could get away from all of the people then, too.
 

Texas024

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What part of Texas you coming from? Unless you're living in the western part of the state, there's probably some much better mule deer units in Colorado for the same or slightly more driving time.
I was more referring to the fact that you can fly from Houston to ABQ for next to nothing.
 

Texas024

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27 can be a really good hunt for mulies or coues, but the reason the draw odds are what they are is because the border down there if very active with illegal crossings and cartel activity. I've been down there and haven't had issues, but I know several people that had some scary encounters. Get on the game and fish website and look at the harvest reports and satisfaction ratings.
I do most of my hunting in Texas about 25 minutes from the border, so this is something I am used to. Have there been any serious incidents in the past year or two?
 

Vanishe187

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Sep 17, 2018
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Nm
I live in sw nm. I hunt units 23,24,16 for deer. Great units i would say 16 then 24 as my favorite units down here. Lots of big bucks but you have to be ready to walk. Terrain here can be tough. However great deer numbers of both mule deer and coues deer.
 

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chiddick

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Apr 24, 2020
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Hey! saw you are from new mexico. Just drew unit 24 in november for mule deer. Looking at sheep corral area and hiking in a few miles. Any thoughts on that area or any different ones? Thanks alot!
 

ElkFever2

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Iowa
Hey! saw you are from new mexico. Just drew unit 24 in november for mule deer. Looking at sheep corral area and hiking in a few miles. Any thoughts on that area or any different ones? Thanks alot!
Welcome to HT
 

Vanishe187

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Sep 17, 2018
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Nm
Hey! saw you are from new mexico. Just drew unit 24 in november for mule deer. Looking at sheep corral area and hiking in a few miles. Any thoughts on that area or any different ones? Thanks alot!
Unit 24 is awesome. You can find great bucks and lots of numbers. Be ready to hike though. Terrain can be rough so start training in advance to handle the elevation changes and rough terrain.
 
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