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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2019: New Mexico Exotics

2019 New Mexico exotics application strategy article

New Mexico's exotics application overview


Main writer: Jason Browning of The Draw

Jump to: New for 2019 State Information Draw System Ibex Breakdown Oryx Breakdown Barbary Sheep Breakdown

The best part about hunting New Mexico is year-round hunting! New Mexico’s unique free-ranging herds of ibex, Barbary sheep and oryx allow hunters a chance to chase these animals not only during the core hunting season, but year-round because the state offers several offseason hunting opportunities. Also, when applying in New Mexico, don't forget about the opportunity to apply in the Guided Draw. See more information here.

A quick history of exotics in New Mexico

Ibex—In 1970, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) imported 15 Persian (bezoar) ibex from Iran and released them in the Florida Mountains near Deming, New Mexico. Soon after, an additional 27 were released and a sustainable population was established. NMDGF currently manages them with a target population on the Floridas of 400 to 600 animals. They live in a basic boom and bust cycle that lasts 15 to 20 years. Ibex are rarely found off of the Florida Mountains, but, if located, there is a year-round over-the-counter (OTC) season for them.

Oryx—Also known as gemsbok, the oryx is an African antelope that was introduced to White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) by NMDGF between 1969 and 1977. A very small number of oryx were brought to the NMDGF facility at Redrock, New Mexico, where they were bred in captivity. The department released 93 captively bred oryx in the Tularosa Basin, which has habitats similar to those they would occupy in African deserts—namely steppe and savanna. Due to the lack of predation and rapid reproduction, the population climbed to 5,000 to 6,000 animals by 2001. At that time, NMDGF and WSMR created a management plan with the goal of maintaining a population between 1,500 to 2,500 animals. Licenses were increased and maintained for years to meet management goals. As the population started to reach the 2,500 to 3,000 mark the number of hunts was reduced by 2014. Once again, by the next big game regulation cycle, the population had increased above 2009 levels within three to four years. As a result of this increase, for the 2019-2020 season, NMDGF and WSMR added four more hunts. This increase has more than doubled the number of once-in-a-lifetime licenses this year.

Barbary sheep—These sheep were exported to New Mexico from Africa's Barbary Coast. In 1940, they were released into a game park in what is now Unit 34 of New Mexico. The first escapes were documented in 1943, resulting in the start of a free-range herd in the state. NMDGF then released Barbary sheep in Mills Canyon in Unit 47 and Largo Canyon in Unit 7 in 1950 and 1957, respectively. Current data suggest that about 800 Barbary sheep are harvested in New Mexico each year.

Note: Kudu were also imported into New Mexico; however, they did not survive much past their arrival.

Press release photo of exotic species import to New Mexico

Photo credit: This photo is the original press release photo from the private collection of Jason Browning.

Note: The application deadline for all species in New Mexico is March 20, 2019, at 5 p.m. MST. Follow this link to apply online.


Why New Mexico for exotics in 2019?

Starting this year, New Mexico is now requiring applicants to purchase a hunting license and stamps prior to being allowed to participate in the draw. Essentially, this is like walking up to a craps table and handing the pit boss $74 before he hands you the dice. Previously, these funds have been required upfront but were refunded if you were unsuccessful. Starting in 2019, these fees will no longer be refunded. Along with the hunting license and stamps, nonresidents are charged an application fee of $13 per species and all permit fees are required upfront at the time of the application. Once all of these fees have been paid you are now eligible and in the running. The upfront expense, along with the fact that applicants can come and go from this application year after year without losing any ground, is a major factor in the low number of applicants applying in this state compared to other states. Now, more than ever, New Mexico may fall in line with other states where the normal thought process is to apply for all species of interest in order to get the most value out of the hunting license you are required to purchase. Without a point system in place and having to pay ahead of time, it may not be as important as other states, but it should be considered. If you have only been applying for one or two species a year and skipping the exotic draws in New Mexico, this may be the year to spread out a little and give yourself a better chance at actually using the hunting license that you will inevitably own. Some of the exotic draws will have great odds this year.

Excellent opportunities for youth

New Mexico offers some of the best youth hunting opportunities in the country and this is no different for exotics. In able to qualify for a youth hunt, you must be 17 years of age or younger on the first day of the hunt. There is no minimum age to apply in New Mexico, as long as you have a valid hunter’s safety card. There is a youth only hunt code for ibex this year that has been moved into December, which is a great time of year to be on the mountain. There is a youth only hunt on WSMR that has 40 tags as well as a youth only hunt that occurs every month. Unfortunately, there is no youth-only hunts for Barbary sheep at this time.

Fantastic drawing odds

Drawing odds in New Mexico are all over the board when it comes to exotics. It is important to use the Filtering 2.0 and Draw Odds system to sort through this and give yourself the best chance at one of these tags. We will dissect this more at length later in this article. The ibex tags are going to be the hardest to attain due to the low number of tags given out each year. Oryx and Barbary sheep hunts will have much better odds. Using Filtering 2.0 in conjunction with New Mexico’s three-tiered application, hunters can often stagger hunt choices, enabling them to draw a quality hunt—even if it is not their top choice for the year. Applicants that are under contract with a state-approved outfitter also have the option of participating in the guided pool. The guided pool is typically smaller and has 10% of the permits set aside versus the 6% that are set aside for nonresidents who would like to retain their option of going with an outfitter until after they have drawn.

High success

The exotics in New Mexico are very well managed by the NMDGF. Due to increased pressure to maintain these exotics in their home areas, federal agencies strictly monitor and maintain their populations. Hunting is the number one management tool used by NMDGF and this has led to some very successful hunting opportunities in the state.

Success rates for exotics
top three hunts by species

Unit/species Success
Oryx rifle
Jan. 3
100%
Oryx rifle
Jan. 17
96%
Oryx rifle
Dec. 6
96%
Ibex rifle 85%
Ibex muzzleloader 46%
Ibex rifle youth 80%
Barbary sheep
Unit 28
54%
Barbary sheep
Unit 29/30
50%
Barbary sheep
Unit 32, 34, 36, 37
46%

Note: These hunts are no longer 28 days long and that could affect success rates.
 

Cost for license and permits for New Mexico
(required prior to applying with no refunds starting in 2019)

License Resident Nonresident
Hunting license $15 $65
Habitat stamp $5 $5
Habitat management
and access validation
$4 $4
Application fee
per species
$7 $13
Auxiliary fees for permits and licenses
(required up front in order to apply and refunded if the application is unsuccessful)
Deer $34
$22
Standard: $270
High demand/quality: $355
Elk $83
$51
Standard: $535
High demand/quality: $760
Antelope $53 $270
Oryx $153 $1,610
Ibex $103 $1,610
Barbary sheep $103 $360
Desert bighorn/Rocky Mountain
bighorn sheep
$153
$85 ewe
$3,160

New for 2019

Game hunting licenses are nonrefundable through the draw application process

Game hunting license and stamp purchases made through the big game draw application are no longer refundable.

Purchase 2019 game hunting license through draw application

Draw applicants purchasing 2019 game hunting licenses to apply for draw hunts must click "Draw Hunt Applications" in the main menu and purchase the license as part of the application process. Do not click "License Sales."

New game hunting license options

Big game draw applicants will be required to purchase a Habitat Management and Access Validation (HMAV) with their game hunting or game hunting and fishing license. Applicants will have the option to add the habitat stamp, Harvest Information Program (HIP) number and/or second rod validation, if applicable, to their purchase. Hunters must purchase the habitat stamp prior to May 15, 2019 to avoid having to print it separately.

License and tag combined if purchased online or by phone

This year, hunters who choose to receive a physical carcass tag may not need to carry a separate license. If purchased online or by telephone, the top section of the carcass tag will display all annual license and stamp purchases and will serve as a valid license. Hunters must carry the license/carcass tag with them in the field while hunting (details, page 8). If you do not purchase the habitat stamp through the draw, or prior to May 15, 2019, a printed copy may be required. This option is not available for license purchases and/or duplicate tags at OTC license vendors.

New definitions for legal sporting arm types

Legal sporting arms for deer, elk, antelope, bighorn sheep, ibex, oryx, Barbary sheep and bear (big game sporting arms): Any centerfire firearm at least .22 caliber or larger, any muzzleloading firearm at least .45 caliber or larger, any shotgun .410 caliber or larger firing a single slug (including muzzleloading shotguns), any bow or any crossbow. All firearms, except handguns, must be designed to be fired from the shoulder. Hunters must use only bullets designed to expand or fragment upon impact. Full metal jacket (FMJ) and tracer bullets are illegal. No fully automatic firearms may be used. Arrows and bolts must have broadheads (fixed or mechanical) with cutting edges. Sights on bows and crossbows may not project light (lighted pins are acceptable). No drugs may be used on arrows or bolts and they cannot be driven by explosives, gunpowder or compressed air.

Bow only: Any bow. Arrows must have broadheads (fixed or mechanical) with cutting edges. Sights on bows may not project light (lighted pins are acceptable). No drugs may be used on an arrow and arrows cannot be driven by explosives, gunpowder or compressed air. Crossbow use is legal by certified mobility-impaired hunters during bow seasons. Draw locks are illegal.

Muzzleloader, bow or crossbow only: Any sporting arms in which the charge and projectile(s) are loaded through the muzzle. Only black powder, Pyrodex or equivalent black powder 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 muzzleloading 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.


State information

View important information and an overview of the New Mexico’s rules/regulations, the draw system, tag and license fees and an interactive boundary line map on our State Profile. You can also view the New Mexico species profiles to access historical and statistical data to help you locate trophy units.

New Mexico State Profile Ibex Profile Oryx Profile Barbary Sheep Profile Draw Odds Filtering 2.0

Important dates and information

  • Applications for Desert bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, antelope, deer, elk, ibex, oryx, Barbary sheep and javelina must be submitted by 5 p.m. MST on March 20, 2019.
  • Applications can be submitted by phone or online here.
  • Up to four hunters can apply together on a group application for deer, elk, Barbary sheep and javelina. Up to two applicants can apply together on antelope, oryx and ibex applications. Group applications are not allowed for bighorn sheep applications.
  • Successful applicants will be notified by email, online, telephone or at any NMDGF office on April 24.
  • New Mexico hunting license, stamps and application fees are not refundable beginning in 2019.

Drought in New Mexico

2019

New Mexico drought monitor as of mid March 2019

2019 New Mexico drought status update. Source: New Mexico Drought Monitor

While the state has been having some fantastic winter weather, 60.51% of the state is still suffering from some level of drought conditions with the heaviest hit areas being in the north and northwest portions of the state. Most of the Gila as well as the Sacramento Mountains are still considered to be experiencing moderate to severe drought conditions. However, this report is likely not taking into account some great storms that have recently happened in both of these areas. As far as horn growth is concerned, New Mexico (like Arizona) looks to be shaping up for an incredible year.

2018

New Mexico late February 2018 drought monitor status
2018 New Mexico drought status update. Source: New Mexico Drought Monitor

Above you will find a comparison to February 27, 2018, when 99.92% of the state was experiencing drought conditions.


The draw system

Understanding the draw

New Mexico’s draw system is random. What this means is that each applicant has an equal chance at drawing regardless of how many times they have applied. This obviously lends itself to applicants who are just getting started as you could fast track your way into a top shelf hunt sooner rather than later. When it comes to elite opportunities in the western states, units commonly referred to as “the best” have equal odds, which are good odds. Applicants can apply with confidence knowing that they are not behind or suffering from a point curve. When applying, the permits are segregated into three categories: the resident pool (84%), the guided pool (10%) and the nonresident pool (6%). It is important to note that the guided pool is not exclusively for nonresidents and, although it could be a mistake for residents to apply in this category, they are allowed to if they see fit.

New Mexico offers its applicants five choices when applying. Unlike other states, the first three selections are going to be considered prior to moving to the next applicant. This means that you need to, at a minimum, apply for three choices you would be interested in hunting as you are essentially as likely to draw your third choice as you are your first on any given application. The fourth choice is often when you select a quadrant of the state to be considered for, meaning prior to the leftover list being published. If you select a fourth choice, you will be awarded a permit in an area that had leftover permits once the draw process is complete. The fifth choice is typically reserved for some sort of population reduction opportunity.

Apply with caution on the fourth choice as these opportunities are often selected by the state depending on the species. Often, there are valid reasons these permits are leftover. Generally, these hunts don’t line up with a nonresident hunter’s goals when looking to hunt in new areas.

Applying for a fifth choice is recommended as you will receive your refund for an unsuccessful application and have the option to accept or decline the opportunity when it comes and you never know what it may be.

New Mexico state law has established the following quotas for draw hunts:

  • 84% of draw licenses are awarded to New Mexico residents.
  • Up to 10% of draw licenses are awarded to residents and nonresidents applying with a New Mexico registered outfitter.
  • Up to 6% of draw licenses are awarded to nonresidents applying without a New Mexico registered outfitter.

Without a point system to gain preference over the years, it is important to have a complete understanding of how the draw works and understand draw odds for each of the seasons available for the species that you are applying for. Choice placement is important. Obviously, you should consider the most desired and probably most difficult to draw choice first. Your second choice should be the next most desirable selection and your third choice should be the one with the best odds.

Unlocking the New Mexico system

Given that you are allowed to select three choice that are considered prior to the state moving to the next applicant, the selections you choose—and the order that you apply them—can have a major impact on if and how you draw. Since this article is focused on exotics, we will stay on task and talk about these as they are quite different from each other.

Ibex: This application is different than most applications in New Mexico. The ibex draw provides very limited options, which leads you to ask yourself, “How bad do I want to hunt Ibex in New Mexico?” For your ibex application, drawing odds and weapons will determine the structure of your application. The only exception would be for a youth hunter in which case you always want to apply for the youth hunt as your first choice as it has the best odds in the state. At 1% for nonresidents and 3% for residents, the youth hunt odds are the best for a rifle application. Due to the lack of options, if you’re an adult hunter, your application should be rifle, muzzleloader and bow—in that order—as long as you are willing to hunt with the more primitive weapons. There is an OTC option for ibex in New Mexico that is covered in more depth later in the article.

Barbary sheep: This year, there are a lot of changes in the structure of the Barbary sheep draw in New Mexico. In prior years, your application was similar to ibex: three basic choices staggered by odds. This year there are two archery hunt options and nine rifle options. These are spread out during the fall and winter. It’s anybody’s guess how the new hunts will stack up as far as drawing odds, but remember equal odds are good odds, so get your application in if you want to hunt Barbary sheep.

Oryx: This application is very similar to all of the others in New Mexico. You are given three choices with these being considered prior to moving onto the next applicant. You are also given a fifth choice for depredation hunts. It is always a good decision to select “yes” on your fifth choice if you want to hunt oryx. These are generally held on the range, are not once-in-a-lifetime hunts and, from my past experiences, are usually 100% successful. Oryx may be the only exotic that has a hidden gem application strategy. The off-range hunts have some great odds that will be covered later in the article.


New Mexico's 2019 ibex breakdown

New Mexico ibex licenses are in high demand. The uniqueness of the opportunity, coupled with a very limited number of tags, makes this a difficult tag to draw. Whether you’re chasing your Capra Slam or just looking to do something totally different, New Mexico ibex hunting is an application you should consider. Ibex on the Florida Mountains are solely managed with hunting. Over the past 60 years, they continue to live in a boom and bust cycle with regards to population and overall trophy quality. This is directly driven by the number of ibex taken by hunters each year. Currently, NMDGF is in the bust portion of this cycle trying to bring the numbers down. The majority of the ibex on the Florida Mountains are on BLM-managed lands. For this reason, there is an agreement between BLM and NMDGF to keep the population at or around 400 to 600 animals. The good news is NMDGF is increasing licenses each year, creating more hunting opportunities. This is a positive for the draw hunter applying in New Mexico, especially one who just wants to check the species box by taking advantage of the female/immature hunt. This hunt allows a hunter to kill a female ibex or a male with horns no longer than under 14”. These hunts have quite a bit better odds than the trophy hunts. I would be remiss not to mention that there seems to be a drop in the top age class and trophy quality due to this increased hunting pressure.

What to expect when you apply for ibex in New Mexico

Equal odds are good odds no matter what the number is! The ibex application in New Mexico is a long shot for the out-of-state hunter, but if you are serious about hunting Ibex at some point in your life, then you need to be pursuing any opportunities where you have an equal chance at drawing.

Safari Club International top 10 New Mexico ibex

Rank Score Location Hunter Year
1 135 7/8" Florida Mountains Anthony J. Trennel 1981
2 121 6/8" Florida Mountains John F. Lang 1983
3 120 4/8" Florida Mountains Justin Garcia 2007
4 118 3/8" Florida Mountains Missy holmes 2004
5 116 5/8" Florida Mountains J.D. Woods Jr. 2010
6 115 7/8" Florida Mountains Joe Truby 2010
7 114 4/8" Florida Mountains Randy J. Martinez 2005
8 114 4/8" Florida Mountains Michael J. Borel 2006
9 114 2/8" Florida Mountains Ryan York 2006
10 113 3/8" Florida Mountains James A. Blake 2006

New Mexico ibex nonresident applications will all fall between less than 1% drawing odds to a solid 6.2 percent for the early archery hunt. This is why weapon selection more than anything will determine your application strategy. To reiterate, your application should be rifle, muzzleloader and, then, archery in that order. Keep in mind that the harvest success is very low for archery hunters. Structuring your application using the lowest odds first, followed by selections with increasing draw odds will give you the best chance of drawing. Remember, New Mexico looks at all three of your choices in order before awarding you a tag or kicking your application out as unlucky. Using the lowest to highest application strategy should always be your choice with ibex. This translates to your application being based on weapon choices. That is unless you are trying to draw a specific hunt selection in which case you may want to make that your only selection. There are a couple of side notes to mention about ibex at this point: 1. Hunt codes IBX 1-520-523 are female immature hunts for which the license still costs you $1,623.00. Be extremely careful that you don’t apply for these unless you do it intentionally as NMDGF will not refund your money.

There is an OTC hunt for ibex that are off the Florida Mountains. This hunt is year-round and has an unlimited harvest for your license. If that last sentence doesn’t throw up all kinds of red flags for you, it should! This tag is still $1,623.00 for a nonresident and probably has a negative success rate throughout the years. If an outfitter from New Mexico tells you he can pull off an off-range ibex hunt run the other way fast! This is not a hidden gem!

NEW MEXICO STATEWIDE IBEX HARVEST - updated 2019

Ibex draw information and success by weapon type

Hunt Success
(2017)
Draw odds
resident
Draw odds
nonresident
Guided
draw odds
October
(archery)
16% 20% 6.2% 19%
January
(archery)
1% 12% 3.3% 7.4%
Muzzleloader 46% 1.5% 0.43% 0.67%
Rifle 85% 0.63% 0.18% 0.31%
Youth rifle 80% 3.1% 1% 1.5%

Female draw odds

In New Mexico, there is an option for nanny ibex. You can find your draw odds below.

Nanny ibex draw odds

Find your resident nanny ibex draw odds here

Find your nonresident nanny ibex draw odds here


Ibex draw odds links

Find your resident ibex draw odds here

Find your nonresident ibex draw odds here


New Mexico's 2019 Barbary sheep breakdown

New Mexico has totally revamped the Barbary sheep hunting draw. Previously, there were basically two 28-day hunts that lasted the month of February and the weekend-long McGregor hunt. This year that has been changed to eight any legal weapon hunts and two bowhunts in the two areas. The two hunting areas are Units 29-30 that make up the southeast corner of the state and include the famous Guadalupe Rim, which is some of the roughest country in New Mexico and Units 32, 34, 36, and 37. This is a great change and will greatly improve the hunting experience for Barbary sheep. There are now five hunts in each hunting area, including an archery only option. Along with the restructuring, there is also additional permits available that should increase draw odds across the state. There are 250 additional permits in 29-30 and 225 in Units 32, 34, 36 and 37. There really isn’t any way to analyze how the odds of drawing will play out this year so selections may be better made by choosing dates that fit into your hunting season as a whole. The anomaly here is the McGregor hunt, which has 20 tags and there are good statistics on Filtering 2.0 that tell us draw odds for nonresidents hover around 1%.


What to expect when you apply for Barbary sheep in New Mexico

The best guess on what to expect in this year’s Barbary sheep draw is to extrapolate the old odds of drawing one of the 600 tags in a given unit over the newly divided up hunt codes. The October hunt in both areas has the fewest tags. This is because this hunt takes place during what NMDGF considers to be the rut for Barbary sheep in New Mexico. Take this into consideration coupled with the time of year and I believe it will have the worst odds of drawing. As far as the other choices, who knows what the bow odds will be given that this is a tough hunt for an archer. To reiterate, I would suggest for this year make your selections based on dates, other hunts and personal theories. Next year we can all apply using odds.

Safari Club International top 10 New Mexico Barbary sheep

Rank Score Location Hunter Year
1 154 2/8" Canadian River Canyon Unknown 1988
2 150 4/8" Quay County Gerald E. Floeck III 1987
3 150 1/8" Otero County Mark E. Wiatt 2005
4 148 6/8" Guadalupe County William W. Murrill 2007
5 148 5/8" Otero County Joshua G. Offutt 2011
6 147 7/8" Otero County John A. Falcon 2011
7 147 6/8" Otero County Foye D. Wells 1995
8 147 2/8" San Miguel County Michael Justus 1988
9 147 1/8" Logan, NM Jose Gonzalez 1987
10 146 7/8" Quay County Gerald E. Floeck III 1987

Managing expectations for Barbary sheep

Find your resident barbary sheep draw odds here

Find your nonresident barbary sheep draw odds here


New Mexico's 2019 oryx breakdown

New Mexico oryx are probably the most successful—both in the introduction of an exotic and the subsequent hunting opportunity that exists in the United States. The oryx population in southern New Mexico is strong and the hunting opportunities are very good. The on-range hunts are the most desirable and take place on WSMR and the McGregor Range. The core herd is on WSMR (pronounced wismur by the locals), and is estimated to be comprised of 3,500 to 4,500 animals. This population level is above what is desirable and, as a result, for the 2019-2020 season, NMDGF and WSMR added four more hunts. This increase has more than doubled the number of once-in-a-lifetime licenses. In addition, veteran and broken horn licenses are increasing as well. They also increased off range licenses by 33%. The success rate at the end of 2017-2018 season for off-range oryx was 55%. The overall success rate for on-range oryx was 92% at the end of the 2017-2018 season. We anticipate increased hunting pressure in all areas, but success rates should remain relatively high this year.

What to expect when you apply for oryx in New Mexico

The oryx application strategy for the on-range trophy hunts is, once again, different than most applications in that there isn’t really any way to play the odds. Using Filtering 2.0 you will quickly see that the odds for these hunts typically run between 1% and 2% for nonresidents, and 3% to 4% for residents. These odds are across all the trophy hunts and have been pretty consistent throughout the last ten years. The guided pool is the one place where you can increase your odds slightly to as much as about 5% on a few hunts, but remember you will then be under the requirements of guided hunts in New Mexico. You should apply for oryx using a scheme that takes time of year and other considerations into account rather than the pure odds of drawing a tag. The best thing about some of these tags is they occur outside the normal hunting season. Also, always remember to check the fourth box for a population reduction hunt as these hunts are usually on-range and have 100% success. You will receive your refund if you’re not drawn and, if you’re lucky, will receive a call if you are selected for this hunt. You can then decide if the particular hunt is in the cards for you. So if trophy oryx hunting in New Mexico is on your bucket list, get your application in and hope lady luck smiles on you.

Safari Club International top 10 New Mexico oryx

Rank Score Location Hunter Year
1 99 0/8" White Sands Missle Range Bill Lauer 2008
2 98 2/8" White Sands Missle Range Benny James 2001
3 98 0/8" White Sands Missle Range Roxanne Rhea 1988
4 98 0/8" White Sands Missle Range Archie R. Gibson 2011
5 97 7/8" Tularosa Basin Roy Huffmyer 1988
6 97 7/8" White Sands Missle Range Craig M. Lemke 2008
7 97 4/8" White Sands Missle Range Bill Kirikos 1997
8 96 7/8" White Sands Missle Range Chris Trew 1995
9 96 5/8" Near WSMR Brian David White 1997
10 96 5/8" White Sands Missle Range Curtis Ball 2010

How to uncover hidden gem oryx units

While on-range drawing odds for oryx are far from ideal, there may be a hidden gem in applying for the next few years. Oryx are in the boom with regards to their population cycle and that means more oryx, which, in turn. means more oryx migrating off the range. The off-range odds are much better and with success rates around 55%, they should not be overlooked for your third choice when applying. The odds get as high as 20% if applying in the guided pool. I suggest stacking your first two options with long shot odds (i.e. on range trophy hunts) followed by off-range for a third choice.


Managing expectations for oryx

Find your resident oryx draw odds here

Find your nonresident oryx draw odds here

I have an oryx tag, now what?

You should quickly expect to receive an email similar to the one below. This hunt takes place on a fully functioning missile base, so there is quite a bit of red tape. This process seems daunting at first, but really isn’t that bad.

This is a sample of what a hunter can expect once tag is secured. For example only!


Stallion Range Center oryx hunt information hunt packet email

Dear hunter:

Congratulations on drawing an oryx hunting license for White Sands Missile Range (WSMR/Range). We are no longer sending out hunt packets via standard mail. This is your hunt packet.

The following information is provided to assist you with your hunt and to ensure that each hunter is aware of the specific requirements for being allowed to hunt on WSMR. Please review and ensure compliance with the below information prior to your hunt.

ALL premier, broken-horn, returning veteran, youth only and mobility-impaired oryx hunts are now three days. We will have a MANDATORY CHECK-IN Friday the morning of your hunt at 10:00 a.m. If you do not attend this briefing, you may not be allowed to hunt. Fridays will be primarily used to conduct vehicle searches, security briefings and complete required documentation for your hunt. If no military missions are scheduled, hunting may be allowed on Friday after the check-in process has been completed. Saturday and Sunday check-in times will also be announced when you check out each day.

For the Stallion Range Center oryx hunt, you must report to the Stallion Gate on WSMR on Friday morning at 10:00 a.m. to receive a MANDATORY safety and security briefing and to check-in. If you do not attend this briefing, you may not be allowed to hunt on the Range. The Stallion gate is located approximately 12 miles east of San Antonio, NM, on U.S. 380. Your turn off will head South and have a sign that states White Sands Missile Range Stallion Range Center. All hunters must check-in and out at the check station every time they enter or leave the range.

All hunting on the Range will be in compliance with New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) regulations, state and federal laws, Army regulations, and Range policies and regulations.

WSMR prohibits alcoholic beverages, video equipment, radar detectors, and concealed pistols/revolvers for all hunts. Vehicles and persons entering the Range will be searched by WSMR officers. Discovery of prohibited items or failure to comply with the WSMR requirements, or any other applicable law or regulation, may result in prosecution under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or any other applicable federal or state laws or regulations. Furthermore, such violations may result in revocation of all future hunting privileges on WSMR. WSMR may not give hunters a second chance to correct identified violations. If you arrive at the gate and any of the prohibited items are discovered, WSMR may not allow you to enter the Range for your once-in-a-lifetime-hunt.

Each licensed hunter can bring up to three (3) guests. All hunters and guest must have a valid Photo ID and/or Driver's License. Minor children without picture identification will be the responsibility of the parent or guardian. If you are under the age of 18 years old and you are hunting, you must have your hunter education certificate/card in your possession while hunting on the WSMR. If you arrive at the gate with a guest that has not been registered and approved they will not be allowed onto WSMR. Make sure your hunt party is committed to the dates of your hunt.

All vehicles must have valid insurance and valid registration. If you arrive at the gate without proof of insurance and registration, you will not be allowed onto WSMR.

The use of professional guides/outfitters registered with WSMR is allowed. Guides/outfitters not registered with WSMR will be denied access and can be banned from future activity on the Range. It is the hunter’s responsibility to insure their guides/outfitters are in compliance with Range policies. Camping on the Range is not permitted. The use of horses is allowed with prior WSMR approval and with proof of a current health certificates and a negative Coggin’s tests.

All hunters and guests are required to wear at least 244 sq. in. of solid hunter's orange clothing (average vest) while in the field or out of your vehicle, and must cover exterior garments. Red or yellow is not acceptable. Vests must be worn at all times, even while field dressing your oryx.

Hunting or the discharge of a weapon within 150 meters of any occupied or test related structure, use of radar detectors, video equipment (video recorders), collection, vandalism, and theft of historic or prehistoric artifact items or structures, metal detecting, woodcutting, mineral and fossil collection, the collection of animals or plant materials, and/or the harassment of wildlife are prohibited activities by the WSMR.

Four-wheel ATV's are permitted on WSMR with proof that the operator has completed an approved ATV safety course. ATV's can only be used to retrieve harvested game. All ATV's must be registered and all operators must wear a DOT approved helmet, goggles, leather gloves, leather boots, and a coat. No three-wheel ATV's are permitted. ATV Safety course are offered online through NMDGF website. Please log to www.wildlife.state.us and select the education tab at the top of the menu page for details.

Based on typical oryx hunting conditions you will be in potentially rough terrain and because of the potential of flat tires, hunting from four-wheel drive vehicles and the availability of spare tire is recommended. Hunters are also encouraged to bring cells phones for communication purposes only.

You must plan for and be equipped to field dress and retrieve your oryx after harvesting. Retrieval of harvested oryx is the responsibility of the hunters. Vehicles may not be taken off established roads, except to retrieve legally harvested animals. Off-road conditions can be hazardous due to terrain, vegetation such as mesquite, and potentially unknown military hazards, and liability is, therefore, on the hunter, and not on WSMR.

All hunters and guests will be required to read and sign a "Hold Harmless Agreement" which releases the government from liability in case of personal injury, and an “Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Range Hazards Orientation Agreement” which affirms that they have attended the briefing and understood the information provided on the hazards present on the Range. Also, there will be a “Hunt Policies Violation Consequences” memorandum that must be signed. No one will be allowed to hunt unless these agreements have been signed. All hunters are cautioned not to disturb or handle any man-made or metallic objects found on the Range. These documents will be in your second hunt packet the morning of your hunt.

Hunters found violating any of the rules or procedures explained during the mandatory hunt briefing and/or stated in the hunt packets or found violating New Mexico State Game Laws may be escorted off WSMR, which would effectively cancel their hunt. Hunters removed from WSMR will not be reimbursed for either license fees or WSMR hunt fees. In addition, those found in violation may be permanently denied access to WSMR in the future. If a question arises as to what you may or may not do during your hunt, please contact a hunt official.

Be aware that all hunts are subject to last minute closures by WSMR in order for the Range to conduct military activities.

Refer to your NMDGF Big Game hunting rules and info booklet for laws and regulations governing your hunt.

WSMR Hunt Security Registration

Due to increased security requirements, all White Sands Missile Range Oryx hunters and guests—resident or non-resident, military or civilian—will be required to pass a mandatory background check in advance of Range access approval.

Each hunter must register the entire hunt party in advance of their hunt by completing the attached form and submitting it via Fax or email in PDF format attachment. Licensed hunters can each bring up to three guests to assist them on the hunt. Hunters and guests will need to provide first, middle and last name, current physical address, date of birth, driver’s license number and state of issuance, and social security number. Sensitive personal information will be properly disposed after background checks are completed.

It is imperative that you complete your hunt party registration by the deadline provided below. Access will be denied to participants who have either failed to register by the deadline or failed the background check. If you are using an outfitter, remember your guide will count as one of your guests. Outfitters will be responsible for providing guide background information to the Range for your hunt. Do not request personal information from your outfitter or guide, simply enter the outfitter name in one of the guest slots.

Complete and submit the security registration form to White Sands Missile Range no later than July 1, 2016.

Secure Fax line: 1-866-670-4252 or Email in PDF format to: gilbert.j.villegas2.ctr@mail.mil (DO NOT EMAIL JPEG FORMAT FILES)

Attached PDF documents

  1. WSMR Hunt Party Registration Form – Read and follow instructions and submit to me on or before July 1, 2016. Do not wait till the last day to submit your form.
  2. Where to Aim – for your review.

WSMR Access Fee

All Oryx hunters on White Sands Missile Range – resident or non-resident, military or civilian - are required to pay a $150.00 hunting fee to the Range. Hunt applicants were notified of the fee requirement in the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish 2016-2017 New Mexico Hunting Rules and Information booklet. The fee to White Sands Missile Range is in addition to the license fees you already paid to the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. This fee is non-refundable.

Below is a link to the WSMR Hunt Access Fee website. The deadline to submit your payment will be July 1, 2016. To avoid delays or postponement of your hunt for non-payment please make your payment on or before July 1, 2016. Do not wait till the last day to submit your payment.

Please read the entire email before making your payment.

WSMR Access FEE website

If you have issues with the link go to www.pay.gov. In the search field type in WSMR and click on White Sands Hunt Fee link.

Please collect all the necessary information prior to visiting the website so you are prepared to complete the form and pay your access fee.

  • Hunter’s First and Last Name
  • Hunter’s Address, City, State, Zip code, Country
  • Hunter’s phone number
  • Hunter’s email address
  • NMDGF License # ( Refer to your license/carcass tag issued by NMDGF)
  • NMDGF Hunt Code (Refer to your license/carcass tag issued by NMDGF. It will start with ORX-?-???)
  • Hunt Payment – Select Oryx Hunt fee

Hit the Continue button.

At this point, you will choose your method of payment and submit your payment.

Please print your confirmation page for proof of payment. Please provide a valid email so you can also have a copy of payment emailed to you as well.

Note: Please avoid navigating the site using your browser's Back Button - this may lead to incomplete data being transmitted and pages being loaded incorrectly. Please use the links provided whenever possible.

What types of plastic cards are accepted?

Pay.gov accepts both credit and debit cards. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover credit cards. Debit cards processed through Visa or MasterCard are also accepted; these have the Visa or MasterCard logo on the card. ATM-only cards and debit cards from other processors are not accepted.

What is an "ACH" payment?

ACH stands for "Automated Clearing House" and refers to an electronic debit from a checking or savings account, commonly known as a direct debit.

How quickly is my ACH payment processed?

ACH payments submitted by 8:55 PM Eastern Time will settle in your account the following business day.

How quickly is my credit card payment processed?

Credit card payments submitted by midnight Eastern Time will settle in your account the next business day..

How do I know my payment was successful?

At the end of submitting your payment, you will see a confirmation screen indicating your payment request was successful. For credit card payments this confirmation screen is your receipt. For direct debit ACH payments, this screen confirms only that a request for payment was sent to your financial institution and will be completed according to the institution's schedule, not that the payment was actually received. Print the confirmation for your records. You will also receive a copy of this confirmation in your email account if you provided an email address along with your credit card or bank account information.

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