The Cost of a Guided Elk Hunt in New Mexico

Published March 17th, 2023 by Justin Basch

A fully guided elk hunt isn’t cheap. Nor would you want it to be. The bitter taste of a poor experience can last a long time. We receive many questions about the cost of a guided elk hunt. So we thought it would be worthwhile to break it down. What is the cost of a guided elk hunt in New Mexico? What should you look for? And what should you avoid?

Here are a few of our thoughts on the subject…

Our Approach

There’s not one “right way” to outfit an elk hunt in New Mexico. There are a wide variety of guide services in the state. Some are good and some are bad. But here’s a little background on how we approach a guided hunt from our owner, Jerry Blake:

“We are probably one of the more expensive outfits in New Mexico,” Jerry began. “But our online reviews and our references highly reflect why that’s the case. Yes, you can find a cheaper hunt. But I’m not interested in providing a minimum level of service. My goal is to make sure our clients have the best possible experience.

“I’m there with you the whole way through,” Jerry explained. “You can always call me and ask questions. I’ll work with you on everything on the phone prior to your hunt. We take pride in being organized and professional from start to finish.”

Professional Hunting Guides

What’s more, here at LOH Outfitters we have full time guides on a year-round basis. Our manager knows local ranchers and game wardens. Our guides are local professionals who know where the elk are before they even go scouting. We aim to have a familiarity with these areas and level of professionalism is unmatched.

More Staff Than Hunters

As a hunter, you will be outnumbered by our staff. This helps us maintain a high quality experience at all times.

In addition to hunting guides, we hire spotters and scouts. Not many other outfitters in New Mexico offer this. While you and your guide are working a bull in the morning, we may have a spotter out checking other areas. This allows our hunters to quickly change locations without wasting time. We receive a lot of positive feedback from our hunters on this point.

In addition to our field hunting staff, we also work with some awesome cooks. Having great food and comfortable accommodations further adds to a completely enjoyable hunting experience.

Working As a Team

Hunting guides are competitive. That’s often part of their drive to succeed. But here at LOH, we have the unique quality of working as a team. In an industry where honey holes are fiercely guarded, many other outfits suffer from cutthroat attitudes between guides. This makes communication difficult and it doesn’t promote the best possible experience for hunters.

We go out of our way to work as a team. Our guides work together and communicate. They readily help each other to make sure everyone has the best possible opportunities. We pride ourselves on having the best team of hunting guides in the state.

What to Look Out For

New Mexico is a great state for elk hunting. In fact we think it’s the best western state. For more on that, go see our recent blog post about why we prefer New Mexico. Sadly though, this state has some shady, fly-by-night outfitters that should be avoided. We’ve heard too many stories from people we know personally, who sent deposits to an outfitter only to have them take the money and disappear.

When you begin researching outfitters, always ask for references. And ask lots of questions. We all know there’s great elk hunting in New Mexico. So make an effort to research the experience beyond just the elk hunting. Specifically ask for references of hunters who were not successful. A happy client who didn’t kill an elk can say a lot about the quality of an outfit.

“You can kill a big bull and still not have a great time,” Jerry noted. “The camp, the food, the guides and other details are what can make or break the experience.”

If the price of a hunt sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Other Cost Factors to Consider

When considering the value of an elk hunt, remember that your outfitter has much more at stake than staff and a few tents. Insurance costs, Forest Service permits, professional licensing, and a host of other costs are all part of a professional outfitter’s budget.

And while a hunt may only last five or six days, our guides are constantly scouting and working on plans for new areas. We put a great deal of effort into year-round scouting and building relationships with landowners.

“I firmly believe we put way more into our hunts than most other outfitters,” Jerry Added. “By taking on this legwork during the off season, we are able to give our hunters the best experience possible when they arrive for the hunt.”

So How Much Will it Cost?

Ok, time to talk turkey. What will it actually cost for a guided elk hunt in New Mexico?

At LOH Outfitters, we’re all about transparency. We list our prices right here on the elk hunting page. As of the time of this blog post, our 2020 prices are $5,749 for a 2-on-1 elk hunt and $7,749 for a 1-on-1 elk hunt. This includes the fully guided hunt, meals and accommodations.

What about an elk tag? Hunters who draw a tag can expect between $555 and $780 for the cost of their tag, depending on the unit and season they draw.

For those who don’t draw a tag but want the opportunity to hunt, we also offer guaranteed landowner tags. Landowner tags generally run from $4,000 to $7,500. This cost is in addition to the cost of your guided hunt.

Beyond the guided hunt and the license, there are a few things you should be prepared for. This includes your personal hunting gear, transportation to and from our location in New Mexico, plus taxidermy and meat processing. Our guides will field dress, cape your bull and pack it out. From there, we can recommend a local taxidermist and processor. Or you’re welcome to make your own arrangements.

In Summary

No matter which way you slice it, an elk hunt is a big endeavor. When you book a guided hunt, you’re relying on the outfitter to do their share of that legwork, scouting and preparation. When the week of the big hunt arrives, your meals and accommodations will be planned and ready. And your guide will have a game plan to begin the hunt.

Remember, this is free-range New Mexico elk hunting. There are never any guarantees. It’s challenging and that’s why we love it! But we certainly do everything in our power to make it an excellent experience, no matter the outcome.

So do your homework before embarking on any hunt. And remember why a great hunt may cost a bit more than a poor one. We firmly believe the quality of that experience is well worth the extra cost.

To learn more about our guided elk hunts in New Mexico, please visit our elk hunting page and explore the rest of our website to find out more about us and what makes LOH special. For specific availability and other details, we encourage you to contact us.

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