New Mexico Unit 9

Richwilson06

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May 24, 2015
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Hi, I'm new to the forum and was hoping to get some info on any experiences or tips about hunting on Mount Taylor. I drew a tag for this years 2nd season archery and am planning on taking a scouting trip this weekend to get an idea on where to camp and areas to hunt. I've got some concern about the numbers and size of bulls on Taylor. I've read on some other forums that 300" bulls are rare. Any truth to this? Any info about this particular region or what to expect on my hunt would be appreciated!

Thanks again!
RW
 

jryoung

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Jan 16, 2012
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Welcome.

I've never hunted it but GoHunt echos your thoughts with respect to bull size, in general they run 280-300. Success rates are high for second archer though, over 60% on average over the past few years. They have quite a bit of information, and they are a forum sponsor. I'd recommend getting an insider membership.
 

Jwill

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Nov 7, 2011
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Virginia
I've hiked Mt. Taylor and seen elk in the foothills there, but afraid I can't offer much info. Good luck on the hunt!
 

hank4elk

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Jan 8, 2015
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SW NM
Ditto.
Used to be great,overhunted. Now just lots of elk,small bulls.
I think they are doing the same to 34/36 now .

Wish they would put a once every few years to draw or OIL designation on the Gila units.
I live right here and can't get drawn to save my life,while I hear of whole families going back for a 6TH TIME....
 

jrabq

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Jul 4, 2014
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NM
I've hunted it a fair bit the last 15-20 years (with muzzleloader), good number of elk with raghorns and 5 pts the typical bull you'll see. It is really more of a meat/opportunity hunt if you ask me. We usually draw it as a 3rd choice, and have fun.

I doubt I've ever seen a true 300 bull there, at least a live one, 6pts of any size are not very abundant. Very long time ago I heard it was quite different.
 

Richwilson06

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May 24, 2015
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I just got in from my 2 day scouting trip and am very excited to go back. I will say that I saw very little elk sign, (few old tracks and scrapes from last season) and am a bit worried about being able to locate elk come September. It is so DRY up there right now. Do the elk migrate out of the high country (9,000 +) this time of year and go somewhere else until fall? I'm new to elk hunting and am trying to gain a better understanding of their patterns. Thanks for the help
 

putm2sleep

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I just got in from my 2 day scouting trip and am very excited to go back. I will say that I saw very little elk sign, (few old tracks and scrapes from last season) and am a bit worried about being able to locate elk come September. It is so DRY up there right now. Do the elk migrate out of the high country (9,000 +) this time of year and go somewhere else until fall? I'm new to elk hunting and am trying to gain a better understanding of their patterns. Thanks for the help

Worried? Worries are for being/getting stuck or lost or leaving the butt wipe in camp?.
Read a book - or find the elk where they are now, and pattern them.
Takes most more than 2 days son.
Most likely left elevation when winter hit to their winter grounds.
Most migrate however, some do not or do not have to.
They may be there in September as well, pressure can move them out quick.
Hunting experience will help with your understanding.
 

myboyshuntingguide

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Mar 16, 2014
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ABQ, NM
Talking to a buddy of mine at work who hunts unit 9 every year first archery season. He says the elk in 9 are much more mobile than those of other units such as the Gila's. The elk also tend to be in much smaller herds. They have many migration routes in that area that are canyons such as American Canyon that lead to areas such Cabazon where they have greater access to water and forage when times get tough. The key is to find the routes and patterns, shoe leather and glass time.
J

I just got in from my 2 day scouting trip and am very excited to go back. I will say that I saw very little elk sign, (few old tracks and scrapes from last season) and am a bit worried about being able to locate elk come September. It is so DRY up there right now. Do the elk migrate out of the high country (9,000 +) this time of year and go somewhere else until fall? I'm new to elk hunting and am trying to gain a better understanding of their patterns. Thanks for the help
 

backstraps16

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May 6, 2013
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The key to Unit 9 is finding the elk. I would look towards the northern part of the unit in the BLM as my family has done well there. It doesn't look like 'elky country' by an means but they are in there. Don't expect a gila bull but if you have the time a 300 inch bull can be found. Good luck. Shoot me a PM if you have questions.
 

Richwilson06

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May 24, 2015
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The key to Unit 9 is finding the elk. I would look towards the northern part of the unit in the BLM as my family has done well there. It doesn't look like 'elky country' by an means but they are in there. Don't expect a gila bull but if you have the time a 300 inch bull can be found. Good luck. Shoot me a PM if you have questions.

That's sounds like an interesting tactic there! I really honestly didn't even consider scouting up there. I would imagine there is very little pressure from other hunters up that way too. I appreciate the tip, next scouting trip I'll have to ride up there and check it out. Just curious, do they archery or rifle hunt in that area?
 

Richwilson06

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May 24, 2015
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Talking to a buddy of mine at work who hunts unit 9 every year first archery season. He says the elk in 9 are much more mobile than those of other units such as the Gila's. The elk also tend to be in much smaller herds. They have many migration routes in that area that are canyons such as American Canyon that lead to areas such Cabazon where they have greater access to water and forage when times get tough. The key is to find the routes and patterns, shoe leather and glass time.
J


Thanks for the insight! I will check out that canyon and keep those migration routes in mind. I can definitely tell that after one trip up there the elk will be hard to find. I'm hoping that the 2nd archery season will have them in the rut and bugling to help with locating
 

putm2sleep

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There ya go Rich, ya happy now ??? you asked for
Someone's honey hole And where elk are.....and you got exactly that.
Wine gets the cheese.
 

jklivestock

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Jul 23, 2015
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TEXAS
My brother and I hunted 9 last year. It had been more than 15 years since I had hunted it last. It is certainly not as good as it used to be but there are more elk on that mountain than most people realize. I find that the elk are scattered in very small groups all over the mountain. Most hunters tend to camp and hunt in the lower part of the mountain. I have always preferred the upper because of lack of hunting pressure. You will find plenty of hunters high but very few are willing to get very far off the roads. The mountain is pretty rough with a lot of old down timber. The roads are plentiful but are in pretty bad shape also. Get back high in the dark timber deep in those draws. There are quit a few springs on that mountain if you know where to look. Water is the key. Find the springs and you will find the elk. If your not afraid of hard work you will find elk and have opportunities to lose an arrow. Second season in my opinion is the best, elk are beginning the rut. Weather can be very mild which can slow things down a little but sure makes for an enjoyable hunt. I would bugle very conservatively and rely more on my cow call. Watch the wild horses they have spoiled more of my stalks on bulls than cows have. Good luck to you.
 

nmelktrout

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Jan 19, 2012
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Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Some very accurate insights here. Used to hunt 9 every year, but it's been a while since I've been back. Lots of hunters and the unit is a far cry from what it used to be in terms of big bull quality. That said, there are a couple of guys that consistently kill big stinking bulls on public land year in and year out in 9. Pay attention to the steep slopes and scrub oak. Should be a good acorn crop and the elk will often pile in there to feed, bed and hide out from all the pressure. Get off the roads and get into the steep nasty slopes. Water is certainly a major factor, but we came to believe that the bigger bulls were moving pretty good distances to hit water at night and bedding up in some surprisingly steep and often sparse country. Here's a photo of a big unit 9 bull we killed back in '05. Bedded in the middle of a juniper flat and came trotting in to a cow call in the middle of a hot afternoon. Hunt high and low and don't be afraid to hunt the awful looking country everyone else drives by. Very few big bulls but a couple get killed almost every year - usually by the same two dudes. Hunt hard and be prepared to be very mobile. That's all I got, Cody

 

jrabq

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Jul 4, 2014
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NM
Trout that's a real nice bull for U9. Some good advice above. This is the bull I shot last year on mzl hunt, pretty typical for what I see, in fact this is one of the better ones. Unless you are dead set on a trophy I would not pass up a bull in this size range. I enjoy hunting the unit because of the wide variety of terrain, but sometimes elk are hard to find.
 

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nmelktrout

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Great bull, JR. In fact, I'd say that's a better than average bull for 9 these days. Definitely bigger than anything my buddies have killed in 9 over the past few years. Definitely worth the opportunity to hunt but 9 is a prime example of New Mexico's inate ability to over-sell tags in a unit when it reaches a certain level of notoriety. There are elk and deer populations in New Mexico that are in dire straights right now, but game and fish doesn't have the conejos to stand behind their own studies and reduce tag opportunities. Sacrificing long-term herd health and opportunity for immediate gain. Classic mismanagement...
 

Richwilson06

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May 24, 2015
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Great bull, JR. In fact, I'd say that's a better than average bull for 9 these days. Definitely bigger than anything my buddies have killed in 9 over the past few years. Definitely worth the opportunity to hunt but 9 is a prime example of New Mexico's inate ability to over-sell tags in a unit when it reaches a certain level of notoriety. There are elk and deer populations in New Mexico that are in dire straights right now, but game and fish doesn't have the conejos to stand behind their own studies and reduce tag opportunities. Sacrificing long-term herd health and opportunity for immediate gain. Classic mismanagement...
Trout, do you hear of more or less success in the immediate Mt Taylor vicinity, or up north in the BLM land? Thanks again for all the feedback!
 

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