NM Elk Unit 16C Hunt Success

trailrider121

Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2012
Messages
20
Well guys I finally drew a New Mexico Elk bull tag in Unit 16C October 16-20th. Been applying for some time now, and it happened. Now this is my first elk bull hunt, and super pumped to do this hunt in unit 16C. I did a cow elk hunt last year in Wyoming with a party and it was blast. I'm a rookie at elk hunting, so this adventure will interesting. I've never hunted New Mexico before and been searching the web for ideas of the area. I'm posting here for some guidance in the area, maybe good places to camp, general info of the area, etc... Onx shows good data in the lower portion of the unit, and finding watering holes is key. I plan to camp out in a wall tent and hike around looking for elk. Any help would greatly appreciated, thanks..
 

ND_Hooligan

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Joined
May 1, 2018
Messages
34
Location
North Dakota
The best advice I can give you is get out before season to do some scouting to get the lay of the land which will be invaluable during the season. South of the highway that intersects the unit is much more rugged and secluded and will produce many more sanctuary areas than the northern half. The northern half has roads throughout it and from my experience was much more crowded with hunters because of the ease of access. As far as camping I would suggest setting up near the Beaverhead ranger station as it is about as centrally located as anywhere when it comes to accessing the whole unit. There is a campground over by Black Mountain but both times I've been to 16C it has been crawling with people. Good luck on your hunt and please post reports when you are done.
 

trailrider121

Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2012
Messages
20
The best advice I can give you is get out before season to do some scouting to get the lay of the land which will be invaluable during the season. South of the highway that intersects the unit is much more rugged and secluded and will produce many more sanctuary areas than the northern half. The northern half has roads throughout it and from my experience was much more crowded with hunters because of the ease of access. As far as camping I would suggest setting up near the Beaverhead ranger station as it is about as centrally located as anywhere when it comes to accessing the whole unit. There is a campground over by Black Mountain but both times I've been to 16C it has been crawling with people. Good luck on your hunt and please post reports when you are done.
Thanks for the info. I do plan to scout a few days just to get to know the area a little.
 

come2elmo

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 18, 2018
Messages
241
Location
South Texas
I’m headed west of there next for some camping with the kids and scouting for fall. So far no closures along hwy 59.
 

trailrider121

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Joined
Jan 31, 2012
Messages
20
Congratulations on the awesome tag! Good luck!!
Thanks... I can't wait to elk bull hunt this year. Super pumped as this is my first bull hunt. I get it, most guys dont want to give much details about the unit. I'm not look for good hunting spots, just for looking general information of the area.
 

cedahm

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 22, 2015
Messages
1,126
Location
Colorado
Thanks... I can't wait to elk bull hunt this year. Super pumped as this is my first bull hunt. I get it, most guys dont want to give much details about the unit. I'm not look for good hunting spots, just for looking general information of the area.
There are a lot of good 'General Info on 16C' posts here.

I will say there were 2 new wrinkles between when I had the tag in 2016 and my buddy's tag last year :

- In 2016, water was decent. Not a 'good' year but not a horrific one. Elk were in their normal patterns (which is to say, not easy at all, but not desperate for water). In 2020, water was the primary issue (70+ days of no measurable precipitation before it snowed 6" the second to last night of 2nd rifle last year). If you could find more than a manhole sized bit of water last year that was away from a road, being used by elk, and not known to everyone else, you were golden. But that's like finding a needle in a stack of needles.

- The largest ranch in the unit (Adobe) went Unit-Wide last year with landowner tags so their property was accessible except for the section around HQ (which is where the water was and where the elk were piling into). That significantly changed the dynamics in the unit relative to pressure. We talked to a couple of their guides and they weren't sure if they'd go UW again this year, but I would confirm that.

Best of luck - it's a special place and while the terrain isn't high altitude or massive elevation changes, it's rugged and the elk spread out quickly in October.
 

meyerca28

New member
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
3
I actually drew 16c 2nd season archery if anyone had any tips I would certainly appreciate them... Doesn't have to be specific spots just any information on the unit. Thanks in advance!
 

CRA

New member
Joined
Sep 19, 2021
Messages
2
Hello,
My 13 year son drew the youth only hunt in 16C this year! He is super excited after a very disappointing youth encouragement hunt last year. We went down this weekend to scout a little.
To be clear we are in no way thinking this an easy hunt much less any kind of guarntee.

Any advice would be welcome.

Right now our plan is to start early and plan on covering some ground moving into the dark timber and canyons primarily on the southern end.

We are not looking for any specified spots.

Thanks everyone
 

trailrider121

Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2012
Messages
20
Cedahm,
Thanks for the information, and I appreciate it.

Its getting close and I'm 16 hours away. Going in blind and will have a day or two to pre scout the area. Set up base camp and hike around. Should be a great hunt all in all .
 

trailrider121

Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2012
Messages
20
Had a great time in New Mexico a couple weeks ago. I was awarded a Bull Elk tag in Unit 16C just East of Truth or Consequences. My good buddy Andrew Ostapiuk helped me with the draw and location. My cousin Manuel Azevedo came with me on this hunt. We had a great time living off the grid in the Gila National Forest. I've never hunted a for a bull elk before, so it was all a learning curve. We hiked up and down mountains, glassing for animals. Nothing to be found, but did come across lot of elk sign. The area I was hunting was very dense forest and hard to see anything far. We scouted for a couple days and finally saw two elk cows. Gave us hope that some elk are in the area.
On opening day Oct 16th, we headed out early morning on a trail. Just as sunrise gave us some light we heard a loud bugle very close. We both looked at each and agreed in direction of travel. So we put a stock on and heard the elk bugle again. However, we noticed it was farther away. Then it was silence and never heard the bull again. It was exciting to be that close to elk and thought it was going to happen.

The evening hunt didn't go so well, as we both took short nap that afternoon to only wake up 3-4 hours later... lol. Sunday morning at 5:45 am headed up to the same area before, and heard bugling again, but this time it was two bulls bugling. We followed the bugles and up the mountain ridge we went. Climbing and climbing the ridge we went following the bugles. I then spotted a cow elk, but only one. We kept watching that cow, but nothing. So I wanted to go higher up the ridge to get a better clearing. We found a nice spot and glassed for hours. Nothing and no more elk bugles. Then I spotted the cow elk again, this time a couple of them. They were like 450 yards away across the mountain. The elk bedded down, so we decided to eat a cup of noodles, and a cliff bar. I then noticed a movement in the trees, and it was a bull elk. I might have a been a little loud saying their is a Bull. We're both watch the elk, and I said I can make a shot from here. However, how we going to get the bull down from here. Manual says dont worry about that!. So I setup my 300 win mag rifle that Danny Ostapiuk built for me. I was having trouble with the million lava rocks everywhere. Laying prone on lava rocks hurts, but willing to take the pain for harvest. We waited forever, like 3 hours. The bull would never give a shot through the trees, then the worst happen when the lead cow heads right and all the elk follow including the bull. I was so pissed off and said their went my chance. The bull bugled and it was heading away down a nasty steep canyon. So we packed up and headed down to cut them off. Nothing, we lost the elk. I was pissed off, and then the bull bugled again. Dude its right across the hill in front of us. I spotted the elk and the bull. I called Manual over and I tried to get setup with my rifle and range finder the elk at 400 yards away.

Moving lava rocks out of the way, then Manual says I lost him. What?? I went back to my binos and I can't see them. Then found a cow elk bedded. Keep your eyes on them I said. Got setup which took forever. No bull elk in sight, but they're bedded. Then the bull gets up and pushed a cow elk out of the way and bedded were she was. However, I can not get a shot, but saw the bull had 5 points on one side. Good enough for me on this hunt. Again, we're waiting and a couple hours go by again. Its like 3:45pm and I was getting restless. We couldn't even tell if the bull was still there, and the elk looked like a rock. I think we are getting tired. the bull bugles, gets up, and start moving down. I ran over to the rifle to get ready. I said if he give a clear shot I'm taking it. The bull stepped between two trees and gave me a 3' window. I squeezed the trigger on my 300 win mag, and heard the hard smack of impact. I hit him and bull stopped in his tracks. He took a step forward then went backwards and fell. I racked another round in and my rifle malfunctions with chambering the next round. I panic and shoved the round in. The bull got up and started walking left to the trees. I went to adjust and as I just put the cross hairs on the bull my rifle went off. I'm pretty sure it was me, and don't know why . Not sure if I hit the bull again but he went down. Elk bull down!! Bull ended up being a 5x6 but was busted up on one side. He was a fighter. It was getting late, and we started quartering the meat. Hung the meat in the trees, and hike out with full packs. We got back to camp at 11:15pm at night. So tired and hungry. It was all worth it and got the job done.

Went back in the morning to get the rest of the meat. Our packs that morning must have been 150 pounds. So heavy but manage to hike down the 1 million lava rock mountain. When we got to the bottom, we met another hunter who was an another out of state ( Nevada) elk hunting. nice guy, and ask where I got him. All the way to the top at 8500'. His partner had a horse who was behind him a ways. Smart man to use a horse who ended up being a hunt guide (on the edge). Very nice man on the horse. He said you shoot twice last night, yes sir, is that your truck by the fence, yes sir. Did you get all the meat out. We said this is our last load out. Smiled and said good job!
The hunt was over for me and the experience was very challenging, hard work, mentally strong, and rewarding.

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trailrider121

Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2012
Messages
20
Oh, on our travels back home we were discussing and planning next year hunts. Crazy huh, just got done with an awesome hunt and already planning for the next trip. Thinking antelope, mule deer, or elk in Wyoming or Colorado??? I'm hooked on elk hunting no doubt, but I just love being outdoors. Successful or not, always a great time!!
 

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