New Mexico Unit 34 Elk Questions

GBHUNTER

New member
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
23
My cousin and I were lucky enough to both draw a New Mexico Unit 34 Archery Season 2 elk tag. We feel extremely fortunate for this opportunity and realize this is likely a once in a lifetime opportunity. Our previous hunts together have taken us to Montana, Colorado, and Wyoming all on General/OTC tags. My cousin who lives closer to New Mexico will be taking two scouting trips down before the season and we plan on spending a few days scouting before the second season starts. I have a few questions in regards to Unit 34.

-There appears to be a lot of roads in the unit. Is it worth packing in or just road camping?
-Are the roads all passable with a 4x4 pickup or does it make sense to bring a side by side?
-Does anyone know of a packing service in the area?
-What kind of pressure should we expect from both hunters and recreation?
-What is the best town to refill on supplies and get a good meal?
-From those who have been successful in the area what tactic has created your success- calling, glassing, spot and stalk, sitting watering holes?
-Name of a trusted meat locker to leave meat at while we hopefully try to fill a second tag?
-Any observations from those who have been on this hunt or to this area that they would like to share?

Thanks everyone,
Garrett
 

newtexican

New member
Joined
Mar 15, 2021
Messages
15
My cousin and I were lucky enough to both draw a New Mexico Unit 34 Archery Season 2 elk tag. We feel extremely fortunate for this opportunity and realize this is likely a once in a lifetime opportunity. Our previous hunts together have taken us to Montana, Colorado, and Wyoming all on General/OTC tags. My cousin who lives closer to New Mexico will be taking two scouting trips down before the season and we plan on spending a few days scouting before the second season starts. I have a few questions in regards to Unit 34.

-There appears to be a lot of roads in the unit. Is it worth packing in or just road camping?
-Are the roads all passable with a 4x4 pickup or does it make sense to bring a side by side?
-Does anyone know of a packing service in the area?
-What kind of pressure should we expect from both hunters and recreation?
-What is the best town to refill on supplies and get a good meal?
-From those who have been successful in the area what tactic has created your success- calling, glassing, spot and stalk, sitting watering holes?
-Name of a trusted meat locker to leave meat at while we hopefully try to fill a second tag?
-Any observations from those who have been on this hunt or to this area that they would like to share?

Thanks everyone,
Garrett
First congrats on the tags. I’ve never hunted the unit. But I live a couple hours east and we visit frequently. Lots of tourists and it can be crowded with campers and hikers. Especially the closer you are to cloudcroft. In cloudcroft there is a burger place named Dave’s I think highly recommended. Also a pizza/brewery that’s good as well. Good news is there are elk everywhere!
 

GBHUNTER

New member
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
23
First congrats on the tags. I’ve never hunted the unit. But I live a couple hours east and we visit frequently. Lots of tourists and it can be crowded with campers and hikers. Especially the closer you are to cloudcroft. In cloudcroft there is a burger place named Dave’s I think highly recommended. Also a pizza/brewery that’s good as well. Good news is there are elk everywhere!
Thanks newtexican! Appreciate the input.
 

WapitiBob

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 20, 2004
Messages
2,930
Location
Bend, Orygun
no
yes, the one state I never took a quad
not needed
moderate
cloudcroft
calling
none, I put it in coolers with ice
look at maps, hunt lots of spots, those Elk don't care about roads
 

GBHUNTER

New member
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
23
no
yes, the one state I never took a quad
not needed
moderate
cloudcroft
calling
none, I put it in coolers with ice
look at maps, hunt lots of spots, those Elk don't care about roads
Thanks wapiti bob I appreciate it.
 

Gila

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 8, 2019
Messages
458
Location
New Mexico
For an archery tag, you have one of the top five tags in New Mexico! Congratulations! Do your homework and you should have a great hunt. The Lincoln produces some elk meat, no doubt about that. I always scout and hunt with a side-by. I can’t see tearing up a $75K truck. That time of year the elk have only one thing on their minds. There are not very many tags given out and the unit is large. Everyone should have plenty of space to get their job done. Bring plenty of large coolers and load them with ice. I bring a 55 gallon plastic chest As well. Good luck and have fun planning your hunt...I always do.
 

GBHUNTER

New member
Joined
Jan 10, 2016
Messages
23
For an archery tag, you have one of the top five tags in New Mexico! Congratulations! Do your homework and you should have a great hunt. The Lincoln produces some elk meat, no doubt about that. I always scout and hunt with a side-by. I can’t see tearing up a $75K truck. That time of year the elk have only one thing on their minds. There are not very many tags given out and the unit is large. Everyone should have plenty of space to get their job done. Bring plenty of large coolers and load them with ice. I bring a 55 gallon plastic chest As well. Good luck and have fun planning your hunt...I always do.
Thanks Gila. Nice to hear it isn't overcrowded. I will consider bringing side by side. Thanks again!
 

NMGuy

Active member
Joined
Aug 12, 2017
Messages
163
Location
Roswell, NM
-There appears to be a lot of roads in the unit. Is it worth packing in or just road camping? Not worth packing in.
-Are the roads all passable with a 4x4 pickup or does it make sense to bring a side by side? I would say the roads are passable, but I talked to some folks last year who hunted an area I haven't been who had a different assessment.
-Does anyone know of a packing service in the area? Can't help with this one.
-What kind of pressure should we expect from both hunters and recreation? As others have mentioned, it's a popular spot so weekends will be busy with tourists. Plus, you might check the dates of the Aspencade motorcycle rally in Ruidoso, as those folks roam through Cloudcroft as well. I would also recommend having as many options as possible, that way if you find someone already parked in spot 1 you can fall back on another option. The last time I had that archery tag, I ended up in my 5th or 6th spot.
-What is the best town to refill on supplies and get a good meal? Depends on what you need. Cloudcroft has some stuff, but you might need to run down the hill to Alamogordo for other things.
-From those who have been successful in the area what tactic has created your success- calling, glassing, spot and stalk, sitting watering holes? Wasn't successful (my own damn fault), but I stayed near meadows with water and had opportunities.
-Name of a trusted meat locker to leave meat at while we hopefully try to fill a second tag?
-Any observations from those who have been on this hunt or to this area that they would like to share? The elk are everywhere. If you're camping and need a shower, check out Silver Campground north of Cloudcroft. They have a pay-to-use shower, or at least they used to.
 

Redraider7

New member
Joined
Dec 27, 2018
Messages
18
Location
SW NM
Congratulations on your tag! Fun unit. Shoot me a PM with your questions. I can give you some info
 

jared_the_hunter

New member
Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Messages
12
I will follow along for anything I haven't seen yet. I will be there just before you, if you remember to reach out to me I will send you what I can. I will also try to remember to send you a message with any info that may assist in a harvest. Also, let me know what day you are headed out there, I may still be out chasing animals.
 

MNBUCKHUNTER

New member
Joined
Aug 18, 2021
Messages
1
Thanks newtexican! Appreciate the input.
Hey GBHUNTER I will be in the unit as well and going solo from MN. I have been on other elk hunts as well but I am foreign to the unit. You should text me and maybe we can work together on locating areas to hunt. 612-570-4785
 

elkocd

Active member
Joined
Jun 7, 2017
Messages
91
I've been in the unit for 1 week scouting. It looks like a tropical rain forest! Massive amount of rain the last month. Sitting here in my trailer on the Mt with lightning hitting all over, pouring rain. A lot of roads washed out last week, but I am amazed how fast they got on grading them. I've never hunted 34 before, but I have a feeling this year will be far different than most. I'd say water sources will be a non factor. Looked over a lot of elk so far, but haven't seen anything I'd put my tag on yet. I'll keep my eye on all the groups of cows and smaller bulls, knowing the big boys will show up any night. I did hear my first bugle this am right from camp.
20210826_063623.jpg
 

Gila

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 8, 2019
Messages
458
Location
New Mexico
They are still in the bachelor groups. The bulls will be separating and running around maybe as soon as next week. No problem with the Sacs getting enough rain this season. We are getting the usual late afternoon storms that is typical of the monsoon season down here. Be careful of the low areas as these storms can dump an inch or two in just a few minutes. We had a flash flood warning for the area just last night.

p.s. Randy’s encounter with the 5 alarm was in Magdalena I believe. The Hatch green chilis are to die for. The Owl South of Socorro has some awesome green chili cheese burgers. A wise person always brings a porta potty.
 
Last edited:

jared_the_hunter

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Joined
Apr 21, 2021
Messages
12
I am up on a high ridge this morning, foot access area, and they have been screaming all around. May be a good early season year.
 

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