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New Mexico unit 51 setting my goal too high?

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."
You can PM other users once you’ve reached 15 postings. Tell us about your cheese preferences.
 
I just got back from scouting the northern and central areas of 51A this past weekend. I have a December muzzleloader tag for this year and wanted to see the country I've been e-scouting. I drove from Hopewell south to Mogote Peak and then east and south out of the unit to El Rito. It was about 50 miles on some rough and rocky roads and it took me two full days of driving. I have a 2017 Tacoma which did fine but the roads were dry. I decided I won't be going all the way back to the central part of the unit in December as I am imagining/hoping for snow and if the elk have migrated down I will have wasted lots of time driving.

I think rifle or archery would be amazing. I only spent two nights but ran into many bugling bulls in the north and got within bow range of a solid 5x5 maybe 5x6 and a raghorn. I was 3/4 mile from my camp and there were three others bugling keeping my wife up in the morning haha. I was excited, but don't worry i didn't push. Granted this past weekend was in between seasons but I am used to Colorado crowds so it was nice to see only a few people and lots of elk.

lmk what questions you have and I'd be happy to share what I learned. Might ask for a return favor after your hunt!
 
I just got back from scouting the northern and central areas of 51A this past weekend. I have a December muzzleloader tag for this year and wanted to see the country I've been e-scouting. I drove from Hopewell south to Mogote Peak and then east and south out of the unit to El Rito. It was about 50 miles on some rough and rocky roads and it took me two full days of driving. I have a 2017 Tacoma which did fine but the roads were dry. I decided I won't be going all the way back to the central part of the unit in December as I am imagining/hoping for snow and if the elk have migrated down I will have wasted lots of time driving.

I think rifle or archery would be amazing. I only spent two nights but ran into many bugling bulls in the north and got within bow range of a solid 5x5 maybe 5x6 and a raghorn. I was 3/4 mile from my camp and there were three others bugling keeping my wife up in the morning haha. I was excited, but don't worry i didn't push. Granted this past weekend was in between seasons but I am used to Colorado crowds so it was nice to see only a few people and lots of elk.

lmk what questions you have and I'd be happy to share what I learned. Might ask for a return favor after your hunt!
Welcome to HT! Presumably antlerless, right? I would think that 51B ought to be herded up in December. Or 285 south of Tres Piedras there’s an elk crossing zone. I’ve driven past previously and thought “could it be that easy?” Just post up in the Carson on the west of that crossing area all day? I don’t know, never yet had a late muzzy tag.
 
Welcome to HT! Presumably antlerless, right? I would think that 51B ought to be herded up in December. Or 285 south of Tres Piedras there’s an elk crossing zone. I’ve driven past previously and thought “could it be that easy?” Just post up in the Carson on the west of that crossing area all day? I don’t know, never yet had a late muzzy tag.
Thanks Ben! As if thinking about hunting didn't already take up my much of my down time, now I have thousands of people to chat to about it.

It's actually an either sex tag and a "standard" tag. This year is the first for open sights only on muzzleloaders in NM so it will be interesting to see if the success rates go down as a result.

I have checked the SNOTEL sites in 51A for the past couple of years and in the first week of Dec at 9k-10k ft there has been an avg of 8-15in of snow. That would make access tough, but to me, still a gray area for if that's enough to push the majority down?

Thanks for the tips about the crossing. Ever see elk on Sierra Negro in the winter?
 
NMDGF has this new arcGIS map option where we can view UW ranches directly on the map and no longer have to match up pdf ranch info with a separate map. I want to think that there will be large herds then and they will be near those UW ranches. Conveniently these ranches are right off 84, 285, 111, 303 and 64 both 51A and 51B.
Now if you still just have to get up there in the middle then you could maybe rent/borrow a sled? That’d be flippin awesome way out there all bwwwaaaa, brrrwwwaaaaaa!
 
NMDGF has this new arcGIS map option where we can view UW ranches directly on the map and no longer have to match up pdf ranch info with a separate map. I want to think that there will be large herds then and they will be near those UW ranches. Conveniently these ranches are right off 84, 285, 111, 303 and 64 both 51A and 51B.
Now if you still just have to get up there in the middle then you could maybe rent/borrow a sled? That’d be flippin awesome way out there all bwwwaaaa, brrrwwwaaaaaa!
I will check those options out. Thanks for the tip, I ran across some EPLUS stuff earlier but didn't take the time to read far enough to see that some are accessible to public draw hunters. I'll have to read more on the process of getting access.

The sled idea has certainly crossed my mind! I'll be praying for some snow!
 
Hunted that unit in 2021. Pre scouted and killed a 5x5 herd bull with a group of cows. 1st rifle.

The one piece of advice I can give is regarding roads. It doesn’t matter if they’re open or closed for motorized access. If they can get a vehicle on it the locals will be driving it. Plan on any road in the unit having residents driving it. Was very frustrating watching residents pull multiple rvs down closed roads to camp in areas that they weren’t legally allow to.

Lots of elk. Not a lot of big bulls, but like everywhere there some trophies in the unit. If you hunt hard, smart, and get into places only your boots can get people into you should have a fun hunt.
"Hello, Mr. Conservation Officer? Yeah, I'd like to report..." or do they ignore it as well?
 
In units with lots of elk, folks driving roads, or walking easy ridges will keep them moving. Sometimes that can work to your advantage. Plan your midday where you have a commanding view, and often you will see elk get busted out of their beds and head for their next "security spot". Then it is a matter of bedding them in the timber and getting the wind right for an evening sit.

I remember a herd of Elk in Central Oregon we watched circle around the bedding place they got spooked out of. We could track them by their dust in the evening light. We could see they wanted to come into the Juniper filled draw below us even though they were 2 miles away. The pressure kept them moving until dark. We found them kegged up in the Junipers the next morning.

The same thing happened in Wyoming in a roadless area with a lot of Horse and Backpack traffic. I could sit on a Ridge and watch midday hunters busting elk out of the dark timber. Find the saddles between draws to catch the elk in their escape route.
Good stuff right here. Thank you 2rocky!
 
Great picture, nice Iowa buck. I also used a sled after my nephew shot his first cow elk about 2/3 up San Antonio Mtn. Carson NF. North of Tres Piedras. We were able to slide down that volcanic mountain way faster and much easier than if we were packing.
If anyone out there that might be interested in hunting cow elk up on San Antonio PM me and I can give you some good pointers for a successful hunt.
 
I know its a little overdue, but I wanted to do a follow up on my hunt. First I want to thank everyone that offered information about this unit, it gave me lots to think about and plan for going into this hunt. I arrived in the unit 3 days before the season started. I focused my scouting on areas that were as far from roads as possible. I found that in the area I was in it was hard to get farther than 2 miles or so from a motorized road. My brother came with me on this hunt and for our scouting days we hiked an average of 5-10 miles per day trying to learn the area. We also brought four wheelers, which were usual in getting around because as previous people have said the roads were VERY rough. During our scouting we did not see many other people. In the 3 days of scouting we saw a total of 20 bulls. And as people have said this is more of any "opportunity" unit which we found to be true. The biggest of all of the bulls that we saw was a very "average" 5 point. We heard a few bugles during our scouting days which was fun to hear in the third week of October. The day before the season opened we began to see more hunters and vehicle traffic. For opening day we decided we were going to focus on the area we had been scouting that was relatively far from roads and where we had been seeing some elk. Opening morning, well before first light, we hiked about 2 miles or so to the edge of a large meadow where we had seen some elk the night before. About 10 minutes before legal shooting light we heard the sound of antlers lightly hitting together. Not soon after we could make out two small raghorn bulls sparring. The two bulls remained in the meadow several minutes past legal shooting light but I decided to hold out for something a little better. Shortly after we noticed two other hunters walking into the meadow behind us, then a gun shot about 200 yards to our east, then another about 500 yards to the west. We decided to keep moving. After hiking for only a few hundred more yards and exposing an arm of the large meadow we spotted 3 cows and a small 5 point raghorn bull feeding (apparently not bothered by the gunshots). I contemplated shooting the bull... and with a little encouragement from my brother I decided to take the bull. My tag was filled within the first hour of the first day of the hunt. While processing the bull we had 4 hunters and a hiker come up to us to chat. None of the hunters were the ones that we had coming up behind us earlier in the morning in the meadow. I was surprised to see that many hunters. I usually don't run into many hunters where I hunt and it felt like, "dang there's a lot of people." After talking with one of them, he had told me that in the first rifle season in that same area two of his friends had shot two nice 6 point bulls, and that he had seen a few other nice bulls. It had me thinking that if possible the first rifle season may be your best chance at a 6 point bull(excluding archery season). "Pressure" from home was also a factor in me making the decision to shoot the bull I did. A lot of the elk we saw seemed to be "wired" different than the elk I hunt in Montana. For example: the elk not reacting to the gunshot only 200 yards away, they just kept feeding. Also we saw elk out feeding late into the morning like 10am. We also saw them come out early to feed. I found this strange since these elk had been through two archery seasons and two rifle seasons before I got there. The elk I am used to hunting would never hang around after a gunshot a couple hundred yards away, and typically I only see them an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset at best. I did also see elk behave in a manner in which I am more accustomed but overall I was left feeling like these elk are different haha. Overall we had a great time and I was happy to bring home some very high quality protein. Thanks again to everyone for their input.
 

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Hey everyone, I have a New Mexico unit 51 rifle elk tag for the third rifle season (Oct. 21-25). I'm hoping to get a little more information about this unit. I have never done an out of state hunt, only hunted locally in southwest Montana. I am able to fill my elk tag every year so I have a decent understanding of what it takes to kill an elk in general units here in Montana. I won't be able to drive down to do any scouting or looking around before my season dates. I do plan to arrive 3-4 days before the season to do some scouting. From what I understand its a big unit and there are lots of roads. When hunting in my home state I prefer to hunt as far from roads as possible but it looks like in a lot of unit 51 the furthest you can get from a motorized road is about 2 miles. I've also heard that many locals take trucks and atv's down non-motorized roads. One of my concerns is the motorized traffic and how it will affect the elk behavior? Another is, with it being the 3rd rifle season, what affect the first two rifle seasons will have on elk behavior? My goal for this hunt is to harvest a mature bull, ideally a 6 point bull. I will be hunting with my brother so it won't be a solo hunt. We are willing to pack a bull out of any canyon or hole in the unit. We're going into this hunt with the mindset of no bull too far, too deep, too steep etc. What can I expect for mature bull behavior during the time of my hunt? Do they all go to private? Do they go nocturnal? I would imagine there are only small windows of time in the AM and PM to catch them on there feet. I would also guess by that time of year the mature bulls are off by themselves recovering from the rut. Are there certain areas or terrain features I should focus on to find an older bull? I'm not looking for waypoints, just basically wondering if we hunt very hard the whole time we're down there, will turning up a mature bull be more a matter of luck than hunting skill or effort?
I've never hunted 51 but 50 just to the north. Lots of elk. As others have said anywhere that an atv can go, count on them being there. That's what happened north of Tres Piedras. People down there are lawless and some of them can be lazy, druck, rude and dangerous. Don't engage with them because they will claim the land there's. I'm sure there will be some nice "locals" in the unit, but I never found them in 50. They will all be gone on the fourth day of the hunt or too drunk to actually hunt. Try and walk up into some of the peaks/mountains where the ATVs can't go. The elk will do that to get away from the idiots. Glass up high and plan on some climbing and stocking. By this time in the seasons, the elk will be high and smart. If there's a lot of snow they may be lower and moving south and east. Best advice is just get away from the ATVs and you should be good. That's what we did and we were successful. Good luck!
 
Why do people blur their face? Dont post pictures on a public forum or social media if youre worried about it. Its not like its your onlyfans and you arent making enough money to quit your real job yet.
 
Why do people blur their face? Dont post pictures on a public forum or social media if youre worried about it. Its not like its your onlyfans and you arent making enough money to quit your real job yet.
My 10-year-old daughter was doxxed on Twitter for a photo of her with a mountain lion...along with about fifty comments saying they wanted her dead or hurt and one insinuated sexual abuse. Google searching her name shows it at the top. I had to explain this to her (now she is 13)...because I was dumb enough to post it online. And Im not even on Twitter...they found it elsewhere.

I don't blame anyone who wants to cover his or her face.

Before Cecil the "famous" Zimbabwean lion, very few cared about dead African lion and elephant photos. That was 2015. Now mountain lions have been added to the forefront. Maybe elk are next?

He wanted to show the elk without showing himself. It isn't that big of a deal.
 
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My 10-year-old daughter was doxxed on Twitter for a photo of her with a mountain lion...along with about fifty comments saying they wanted her dead or hurt and one insinuated sexual abuse. Google searching her name shows it at the top. I had to explain this to her (now she is 13)...because I was dumb enough to post it online. And Im not even on Twitter...they found it elsewhere.

I don't blame anyone who wants to cover his or her face.

Before Cecil the "famous" Zimbabwean lion, very few cared about dead African lion and elephant photos. That was 2015. Now mountain lions have been added to the forefront. Maybe elk are next?

He wanted to show the elk without showing himself. It isn't that big of a deal.
I understand not wanting to show your child. I have a daughter and am very protective. Im sorry that she had to experience that. Shit like that needs to stop.

My thoughts on if youre an adult are different. This is a hunting forum and you arent going to be blasted for hunting pictures like that on here. Also, if your friend circle would put you, as an adult on blast for hunting, id think about finding a different friend group. Personal opinion, of course. I also dont care what other people think about my hobbies, so things dont affect me like that. I guess i would post an "as they lay" photo over plastering a silly emoji over my face.

Thank you for responding and showing me a different perspective, though. I was curious as to why I see blured photos. To each their own.
 

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