What You Need to Know: Landowner Tags in New Mexico

Published February 20th, 2023 by Justin Basch

After the New Mexico big game draw, we inevitably receive questions about landowner tags in New Mexico. If I didn’t draw, can I still hunt New Mexico this year? Are landowner tags available? How much do they cost?

Here’s a quick breakdown of what you need to know about New Mexico landowner tags:

Getting a Tag in New Mexico

There are three different ways to hunt big game in New Mexico. First, you can draw a license in the annual big game draw. Second, you can purchase a private landowner tag that allows you to hunt that private land only. Or third, you could buy a unit-wide landowner tag that allows you to hunt all of the public land in that unit, the landowner’s private land, plus any other private lands enrolled in the unit-wide system.

Which is better, unit-wide or private land only?

The unit-wide landowner tags are far more valuable than a private land only tag. Hunters coming from other states often assume that “private land” means a higher quality hunting experience. However, these New Mexico private land only tags are actually very limiting. You don’t know how much hunting pressure is on that private land. Ask anyone in New Mexico and they’ll tell you that hunting the public land and the unit-wide enrolled land is usually a much better option.

Should I still apply in the draw?

Yes, you should definitely apply in the New Mexico big game draw. Even if you aren’t sure you want to hunt New Mexico, you can at least apply for the high quality units. It’s a pretty low-cost application. All but an $89 application fee will be refunded if you don’t draw.

We handle the entire draw process for our hunters. We’ll structure your application to give you the best shot at drawing a tag that meets your goals. We also encourage hunters to apply for multiple species in New Mexico. This gives you a better chance at going on one of those extremely high quality hunts.

If you just want to apply in the draw, we hold a $750 deposit. When you draw a tag, that deposit goes toward the cost of your hunt.

If you want to be sure of going on a hunt in the event you don’t draw, we hold a $3,500 deposit toward the landowner tag. The high quality landowner tags need to be secured BEFORE you put in for the draw. Because as soon as the draw results come out, everyone else will be scrambling to snatch up those tags. Those who plan ahead get the best landowner tags in top units.

How much do New Mexico landowner tags cost?

Prices for landowner tags can vary greatly. In large part, it’s a supply and demand issue. The more folks that are clamoring for tags to hunt in New Mexico, the higher it drives the price. Tags for mediocre hunting units can cost far less than tags in premium units. In the units that we hunt, landowner tags for elk generally range from about $4,000 to around $7,500. The purchase of a landowner tag is also subject to New Mexico sales tax.

When should I put down a deposit for a landowner tag?

It’s never too soon to begin planning for next year. If you know you want to hunt in New Mexico, the sooner you put down a deposit, the better. This puts you at the front of the line for next year’s landowner tags.

When it comes time to apply in the draw, we handle that whole application process for you to make it easy. The application deadline is in mid-March every year. We have years of studying draw results and we know how to strategically structure your draw application under our outfitter number to increase your chances at securing a great tag.

If you are interested in hunting New Mexico in 2022 or beyond, we’d recommend that you call or text us at 575-517-6083 to begin planning. You can put a deposit down now and you’ll be way ahead of the pack for next year.

Contact Us with Questions

If you have questions or if you’d like to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can call or text us at 575-517-6083. We’d love to help you begin planning your ultimate New Mexico hunt!

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