New Mexico unit 51 setting my goal too high?

51 is interesting. I have hunted it three seasons, taking a cow the first year. The next, '21, it was bone dry and no sign in the area I hunted. Last year, I was in the last rifle season. Snow, which is usually good, but all the sign I found was of fast movers - no droppings, not grazing, just on the move to the next hidy hole. I was slowed by sciatica, so had to stick to easily hikeable territory. Apparently, where I could hike was not where the elk were.

There are meadows hidden in the woods, use your e-scouting. There are old logging roads that don't get much atv traffic, the atvs seem to be road hunting for the most part. The old logging/mining roads aren't on the maps, so you'll find them in likely places, sometimes the forest service has bulldozed a berm across the road.

Lots of up and down. Good camping out of Canon Plaza in the south, or if you go in on the north side there is good camping just in from Hopewell Lake. Also, the road in to Trout Lakes from Tierra Amarilla side has lots of good level camping. I am rather intrigued by the north side, in from Hopewell, since it is both higher altitude and has good camping and a decent road to drag out of if snow comes in (as is the road just off the highway on the way to Trout Lakes).

For what it's worth....

David
NM
 
51 is interesting. I have hunted it three seasons, taking a cow the first year. The next, '21, it was bone dry and no sign in the area I hunted. Last year, I was in the last rifle season. Snow, which is usually good, but all the sign I found was of fast movers - no droppings, not grazing, just on the move to the next hidy hole. I was slowed by sciatica, so had to stick to easily hikeable territory. Apparently, where I could hike was not where the elk were.

There are meadows hidden in the woods, use your e-scouting. There are old logging roads that don't get much atv traffic, the atvs seem to be road hunting for the most part. The old logging/mining roads aren't on the maps, so you'll find them in likely places, sometimes the forest service has bulldozed a berm across the road.

Lots of up and down. Good camping out of Canon Plaza in the south, or if you go in on the north side there is good camping just in from Hopewell Lake. Also, the road in to Trout Lakes from Tierra Amarilla side has lots of good level camping. I am rather intrigued by the north side, in from Hopewell, since it is both higher altitude and has good camping and a decent road to drag out of if snow comes in (as is the road just off the highway on the way to Trout Lakes).

For what it's worth....

David
NM
Thanks so much for the info. I'll definitely be keeping what you mentioned in mind as I plan for the hunt.
 
I hunted the 3rd rifle in 2015. I started a brand new job so could only squeeze in 3 hunt days of the 5. I shot a rag horn but saw two decent bulls and heard bugling every day. There are some good suggestions above for sure. People will be moving elk around, you might be able to capitalize. I almost did on a big herd that got spooked but the bull wasn't visible, only cows when they came through a saddle I was posting up in.

Hunt all day. The two best bulls I saw walked across the meadow I was on at first light but at 2PM, when I was a mile away sitting over a dark timbered canyon. I recall generally being 1-2 miles from where you could get a vehicle (legally or not) to hunt, but I had elk behind my camp at night and I was on a USFS road.

I had one morning hunt ruined by the above-mentioned propensity for people to drive vehicles where they shouldn't, including right into bugling elk in the early AM hours.

I applied several more times but never drew again. It's pretty country and I enjoyed my hunt, and at the time had only done OTC hunts living in CO. So the crowding seemed lower, and elk density higher than I was used to.

good luck to you.
 
I hunted the 3rd rifle in 2015. I started a brand new job so could only squeeze in 3 hunt days of the 5. I shot a rag horn but saw two decent bulls and heard bugling every day. There are some good suggestions above for sure. People will be moving elk around, you might be able to capitalize. I almost did on a big herd that got spooked but the bull wasn't visible, only cows when they came through a saddle I was posting up in.

Hunt all day. The two best bulls I saw walked across the meadow I was on at first light but at 2PM, when I was a mile away sitting over a dark timbered canyon. I recall generally being 1-2 miles from where you could get a vehicle (legally or not) to hunt, but I had elk behind my camp at night and I was on a USFS road.

I had one morning hunt ruined by the above-mentioned propensity for people to drive vehicles where they shouldn't, including right into bugling elk in the early AM hours.

I applied several more times but never drew again. It's pretty country and I enjoyed my hunt, and at the time had only done OTC hunts living in CO. So the crowding seemed lower, and elk density higher than I was used to.

good luck to you.
I appreciate the insight and pointers. I will be keeping them in mind during my hunt, thank you!
 
51 is interesting. I have hunted it three seasons, taking a cow the first year. The next, '21, it was bone dry and no sign in the area I hunted. Last year, I was in the last rifle season. Snow, which is usually good, but all the sign I found was of fast movers - no droppings, not grazing, just on the move to the next hidy hole. I was slowed by sciatica, so had to stick to easily hikeable territory. Apparently, where I could hike was not where the elk were.

There are meadows hidden in the woods, use your e-scouting. There are old logging roads that don't get much atv traffic, the atvs seem to be road hunting for the most part. The old logging/mining roads aren't on the maps, so you'll find them in likely places, sometimes the forest service has bulldozed a berm across the road.

Lots of up and down. Good camping out of Canon Plaza in the south, or if you go in on the north side there is good camping just in from Hopewell Lake. Also, the road in to Trout Lakes from Tierra Amarilla side has lots of good level camping. I am rather intrigued by the north side, in from Hopewell, since it is both higher altitude and has good camping and a decent road to drag out of if snow comes in (as is the road just off the highway on the way to Trout Lakes).

For what it's worth....

David
NM
Thank you for the info! I very much appreciate it.
 
I’ve deer hunted 51 . It’s big, lots of roads in places,and steep as fu,at least where I’ve been.and yeah a lot of road traffic.
welcome to HT.
Hey brother! I drew second archery season this year! New stepped foot in NM either so beyond excited! Best of luck to you!!

Dan
Star, ID
 
New members coming in and asking for unit info and then never showing back up
I've probably spent more time in this unit than most of the people on here aside from those that live there. A simple question of whether they're talking is enough to get banned? Sorry, I haven't been on here long enough to read through the extensive list of "how to not upset Well-Known Members."
 
Ya some new mexicans make the rest of us look bad. I've had 4wheelers rip through meadows I was sitting a mile from any road or trail
The Canjilon area is really bad for this. I've talked to a few of them and they're locals checking on cattle that they free range on public. There are of course hunters doing it too but the majority that I saw were local ranchers. Couple years ago I set out to get into a meadow before sunrise only to find a sxs going through there with no roads anywhere near it.
 
I've probably spent more time in this unit than most of the people on here aside from those that live there. A simple question of whether they're talking is enough to get banned? Sorry, I haven't been on here long enough to read through the extensive list of "how to not upset Well-Known Members."
I didn't get the ban hammer thing. And I'm a well known member. I think. mtmuley
 

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