The Best Elk Hunting Units In New Mexico

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Best Elk Hunting Units In New Mexico

What are game management units?

It’s dangerous to let people go and shoot everywhere and every time they want. The officials should moderate the hunting and support hunters to have better experience. So, they develop game management unit (GMU), which are a better control over the hunting activities. Moreover, by dividing each state into many units, the officials can make hunting regulations simpler and more specific based on each area. There are a lot of game manage units, chosen based on different aspects: land use, human density, habitat, recognizable physical features,…

There is one aspect of defining a game management unit: the private/public land ownership. From that, the private landowner permit becomes more important to hunters. The license allows you to shoot every species within the entire unit, regardless it’s private or not. Every GMU that you can apply for a private landowner permit is more attractive and promising than other units.

Criteria for a good elk hunting unit

We’re going to find out the best units for hunting elks in New Mexico, so we need to know what will we judge on first. There can be 3 criteria for a good elk hunting unit.

  1. The population is vital for us. Crowded units will increase the chance of getting a buck.
  2. Large bulls. The size of elks in the units is the second need. Big bucks are more valuable and attractive than smaller ones. Beating these powerful animals is also more exciting and can prove your efficiency more. The common large elks are the 400 class, which are the most common targets for hunters in the U.S.
  3. The GMU’s popularity is also important. People will prefer better places to hunt, so more popular units are actually more successful.
  4. The amount of hunter. It’s the contrast to the above one. The more popular a unit is, the more people come to it. The increased numbers of shooters reduce the number of target for you. You will participate in a fight for big bucks, which have been rare already.
Best Elk Hunting Units In New Mexico
Best Elk Hunting Units In New Mexico

Why is New Mexico?

When reading this guide, you may wonder why do we look for best hunting units in New Mexico. The answer is that New Mexico is the ideal place to shoot a big buck. There are a lot of advantages for hunters in this state, from geology characteristics to management styles. You can even purchase your own hunting land in New Mexico as well.

New Mexico is definitely the most famous elk hunting unit among experienced hunters. The populations of bulls are high and some trophy bulls are produced each year. Check the draw odds from many websites, you still see the state is the top spot. Moreover, New Mexico allows up to 4 people per an application, which is easier when you’re hunting in a group. In some quality units, when you purchase the landowner permit, you also have a guaranteed tags. This will help you in hunting easily and freely.

The list of best elk hunting units in New Mexico

1. Cibola National Forest, GMU 13 & GMU 17

In the state New Mexico, there are many game management units. On top of them are the GMU 13 and GMU 17, which are in Cibola National Forest. They seem to be the best elk hunting units.

According to IUCN, the forest is categories VI. It is a protected area with sustainable use of natural resources. There is a mix of areas in natural conditions with areas under non-industrial use. Thus, only primitive weapons are allowed to use.

The place is well-controlled by the officials to be safe for all hunters. There’s unlikely to catch a monster bull or other kinds of dangerous animals. There is also a limited of permitted people who can enter the zone, so it’s safer and comfortable for you.

In New Mexico, both of unit 13 and unit 17 have the best draw odds. They produce a portion of trophy bull elks every year for the state. They become the best-known places for big game hunting.

  • GMU 13

GMU 13 is 6,0000 – 7,500 feet height with rough terrain and rocky mountains. There are various kinds of vegetable cover the units like pinion and ponderosa, etc… The number of elks inhabiting there is dramatically lower than other places in New Mexico. The small and average deer may be lured away by bigger ones there. GMU 13 is the place where the largest subspecies in the state live.

  • GMU 17

GMU 17 has the same physical structure as the GMU 13 and is even higher. Although it’s steeper and more dangerous, hunting in this unit is more rewardable. It has a better population of elks, but more quality. Some of the biggest elks that are harvested each year are from GMU 17. If you choose this unit, you can have trophy bull elks annually.

2. Northwest Region, GMU 2A, 2B and 2C

Another place among the best elk hunting units in New Mexico is in the northwest region. This is where the GMU 2A, 2B, and 2C lie.

These units have a larger population than the Cibola Nation Forest. This means you’ll have more chance and targets to hunting. Along with the quantity, GMU 2 is also very quality. There are lots of big bucks here, which are 400 class or above. They are also the units to produce trophy bulls every year. Combine with the high population, your hunting is better than ever. You can find a large deer, and if you miss it, there are still other big ones for you. So, don’t be too hesitant as you can always catch a bigger buck in these locations.

New Mexico is definitely the best place for hunting. And between nearly a hundred of game management units, the Cibola National Forest and Northwest Region stand out to be the best. They are unit 13 and unit 17, unit 2A, 2B, and 2C in equivalent. Whenever you want to hunt some 400 class buck or even a trophy bull elk, head yourself to these promising locations.

About the author

Christopher Wade

Christopher Wade

Christopher Wade is a true outdoorsman. After spending most of his career as a firearms expert and instructor in Nebraska, he retreated to the great outdoors to enjoy retirement.

Christopher’s expertise in handling firearms and hunting gear are what propelled him to create the Shooting Mystery blog. He hopes for all readers to gain useful and practical knowledge for enjoying their time outdoors.