Proposed Elk Changes

NMGuy

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Just saw the following from the 4/11/22 Game Commission Meeting:

  • All of GMU 34 would go to unlimited over-the-counter private land licenses for elk if the Commission agrees to redesignate the unit as Secondary Management Zone. In addition, NMDGF wants to further increase the GMU 34 cow harvest, either with more tags or an additional hunt;
  • In GMU 36, biologists may propose more mature bull tags or changing MB hunts to either sex. The unit currently has the highest bull/cow ratio in the state and biologists want to bring that ratio down;
  • Because modern muzzleloader hunters are now taking shots up to 1,000 yards, Liley said muzzleloader sights could be prohibited to reduce their overall efficiency for elk, ibex and perhaps other species. Otherwise, he said, the department is likely to propose fewer licenses or other limits like lumping muzzleloader tags in with rifle tags. Any changes regarding sights would have to be done by amending the Manner and Method Rule, which is separate from the Big Game Rules;
  • NMDGF wants to gradually increase bull size in GMUs 16B, 16C and 16E and is likely to propose lower bull tag numbers in those units;
  • There may also be changes in the Youth Encouragement hunts, including giving hunters over the age of 65 an earlier shot at the tags.

I would hope the change to 34 is a temporary measure, maybe to reduce the size of the herd for some reason. Wouldn't increasing tags or adding hunts achieve the same result? Moving to a secondary zone would end the unit-wide tags, so it might reduce some of the pressure on public land?

Changing 36 MB tags to ES is an interesting approach to reducing the bull/cow ratio. Wouldn't that just make more people shoot a cow instead of going home empty handed at the end of a hunt?

I can appreciate the muzzleloader proposal.

-Guy
 

huntandfly

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If they really wanted to reduce elk numbers in 34, why wouldn’t they just add more tags to the draw?

I assume the unlimited otc private tags would be good on private land only?
 

dan.kirkpatrick

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i dont know all the latest,but 1000 yrd muzz shots are just a myth,,,200 is a very long poke with mine normal .54 with conventional powder,even with a scope??34 and 36 are supposed to be pretty good units, and hard to draw,,this could be interesting,,something sounds a bit fishy ,,maybe landowners trying to get more tags to resale??i hadnt heard about these issues in 34 and 36? why would they want to make some of these changes?
 

Scott85

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There are muzzleloaders capable of 1,000 yard shots the problem is they are illegal in New Mexico and just about every other western state.
 

NMGuy

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If they really wanted to reduce elk numbers in 34, why wouldn’t they just add more tags to the draw?

I assume the unlimited otc private tags would be good on private land only?

Yes, secondary management zone private elk tags are supposed to be private land only. Currently 34 is a primary zone so they issue quite a few unit wide tags to landowners, which can be used on public or private.
 

ccc23454

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I like current set up, as mentioned above a legal muzzy max range with a capable shooter is 200ish yards. Seems like a excuse or looking for a problem that doesnt exsist.

Current rules:
Muzzleloader, bow or crossbow only: Any sporting arm in which the charge and projectile(s) are loaded through the muzzle. Only blackpowder, Pyrodex or equivalent blackpowder substitute may be used. Use of smokeless powder is prohibited. Scopes, sabots and in-line ignition may be used with muzzleloaders except during restricted muzzleloader deer hunts. Hunters may also use any bow or crossbow. Arrows and bolts must have broadheads (fixed or mechanical) with cutting edges. Sights on bows and crossbows may not project light. No drugs may be used on arrows or bolts, and they cannot be driven by explosives, gunpowder or compressed air.

Restricted Muzzleloader deer: Only a muzzle-loading rifle using open sights, black powder or equivalent propellant and firing a full bore diameter bullet or patched round ball is legal. The use of in-line ignition, scopes, and smokeless powder are prohibited. Bows and crossbows are legal during restricted muzzleloader deer hunts.
 

CowboyLeroy

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i dont know all the latest,but 1000 yrd muzz shots are just a myth,,,200 is a very long poke with mine normal .54 with conventional powder,even with a scope??34 and 36 are supposed to be pretty good units, and hard to draw,,this could be interesting,,something sounds a bit fishy ,,maybe landowners trying to get more tags to resale??i hadnt heard about these issues in 34 and 36? why would they want to make some of these changes?
I can shoot palm sized groups at 300 with a 500 dollar muzzy and a 125 dollar scope. The whole reason to have the muzzleloader season was to make it so you could t do that. I dont WANT them to get rid of scopes but I wouldn't be broken hearted if they didn't. The quality of barrels and load components these days make a 150 yard shot with peep sights possible.
 

hank4elk

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I personally like what Stewart Lily has done for NM and his reasoning in the rules changes.
Listen to the meeting. I know. You might miss your show...

I thought 200 yard shots were a myth with a MZ. Then I got an inline with a scope and I can shoot out to 300 yards now. I have seen looong shots.
I like taking the scopes off and or inlines restricted in 13 & 15 again.
I can use my scoped inline in a AW unit.

34 has an elk encroachment problem in the south on deer country & ranches. OTC are not unlimited. Limited by harvest. Gives G&F a way to cut herd numbers with cow hunts to balance them out.
 

Jvalentine

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Personally I've had a restricted muzzle loader hunt on my to do list. I'd like to see them have more restricted muzzy hunts since I feel that's keeping more with the spirit of what a muzzle loader hunt is supposed to be (also it'll give me better chances at drawing one). I wonder how many folks who currently apply for muzzle loader season would still apply if it was moved to restricted rules.
 

TXLonghorn

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Everything you do to restrict muzzle loader performance, you do at the detriment to the animal being targeted.
 

hank4elk

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The proposal I heard was that use of scopes would be out in 13 & 15.
No mention of inlines,fiber optics, smoothbore, etc...
Scoped inlines would still be allowed for AW, "any weapon", hunts and mz hunts outside 13,15.

There were proposed changes to 34, 36 on those mz hunts. No mention of scopes there, just hunt timefame adjustments.
Trying to avoid the hunt overlaps I imagine. Or the combining of some hunts ,mz, aw.
The change to 34 LO was a temporary adjustment in harvest without a major increase change in regular draw numbers.
To many elk moving out of the forest lands proper into mostly ranch & leased lands in the desert country. Lands with limited access anyway, imho.

The proposals I heard from Stewert Lily were founded on science. For a change...and I agree.
 

hank4elk

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Get rid of scopes on muzzleloaders. It’s supposed to be a primitive weapon. I can shoot mine with a scope out to 600 yards easily.
smoothbore? cap & ball?
There was no mention of changes to full primitive weapon hunts.
That would also open the bow issue with compounds, sights, etc.

The tweeks I heard were to adjust harvests on elk numbers. 4 year elk programs.

Changing weapon discriptions and definitions would be under different rule changes. Weapons rules.
 

hearteater

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smoothbore? cap & ball?
There was no mention of changes to full primitive weapon hunts.
That would also open the bow issue with compounds, sights, etc.

The tweeks I heard were to adjust harvests on elk numbers. 4 year elk programs.

Changing weapon discriptions and definitions would be under different rule changes. Weapons rules.
Removing scopes would make a huge difference. Why would limiting custom muzzleloaders with nightforce scopes have anything to do with compound bows? I don’t see the connection you’re trying to make.
 

hank4elk

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Removing scopes would make a huge difference. Why would limiting custom muzzleloaders with nightforce scopes have anything to do with compound bows? I don’t see the connection you’re trying to make.
I'm old school. Primitive weapon in a bow means straight bows or recurves to me. What I used to use.
No lighted knocks,fiber optics on bows? Maybe it means no changes in bow equipment or hunts. None was mentioned I'm just saying taking the scope off is not making it a primitive weapon. There was no further discussion of primitive weapon or muzzleloader definition changes,just scopes off.

Some states a mz hunt is roundball smooth bore flintlocks.

I believe taking scopes off in 13 & 15 would drop the success rate down to realistic levels again. Inlines with fiber optics would still allowed is what I got. Sabots and 209 too.
Some folks will still over reach their ability too, like with bows.
 

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