New Mexico Elk Hunting


To get information on Private Land Elk Hunts  


The Draw System

There are three different draw pools a hunter can choose from in New Mexico. One pool is the “resident pool” which garners 84% of all the tags in that unit or area. The other pools are for non-residents who garner the remaining 16% of the tags in the unit. Of those 16% of non-resident tags, 10% go into the “outfitters pool” for hunters who book hunts with an outfitter, and 6% go into the general pool. When a hunter applies under an outfitter, he/she is entering the pool containing more than half of the available nonresident licenses (and usually less applicants) therefore increasing the odds of a draw.

Hunters can apply singly or in groups, with up to four applicants allowed per group submission. With group applications, either everyone draws a license or no one does.

When the draw takes place, Game and Fish will consider the hunter’s top three choices before they move onto the next applicant. This provides an opportunity for hunters to mix and match choices. For example: a hunter’s first choice might be the second archery season in unit 36, their second choice might be the rifle hunt in unit 34, and their third choice might be the muzzle loader hunt in unit 34. A hunter could also choose both archery hunts in unit 34 and one archery hunt in unit 36. Under this mix and match system, the possibilities for customizing hunting choices and experiences are vast.

The draw deadline for this year will be about March 18th. The results will be posted on the New Mexico Game and Fish website near the end of  April.  The total license fee is due at the time the application is placed. License fees are $565 for standard hunts and $790 for quality and high-demand hunts plus a big game license that is $65.

Top Notch Outfitters offers draw hunts in several different areas:  the southern Sacramento Mountains, unit 34 and unit 36 in the Northern Sacramento mountains and unit 37 in the Capitan mountains.  All of the units that Top Notch operates in are quality units and fits into our “quality over quantity” motto.  Again, draw hunts are less expensive and are equal-opportunity. When a hunter enters the draw under an outfitter, it only increases the chances that the draw will be successful.

 New Mexico Elk Hunting in the Sacramento Mountains, Unit 34 and 36

image (1)



The Sacramento Mountains are located in south central New Mexico and borders the Mescalero Apache Reservation. The two units that are in this region are unit 34 and 36.  Both units are similar in numbers of elk but the noticeable differences between unit 34 and 36 is the terrain.  Unit 34 is much more moderate terrain where unit 36 has some easier to moderate country but a majority of 36 is difficult to extreme terrain.  The Sacramento region, both north (unit 36) and south (unit 34), has a large number of elk, including quality bulls.  Hunters have a legitimate chance at finding a 350 class bull with most bulls falling into the 280 to 330 range. The Sacramento Mountain area is 6500 to 11,000 feet in elevation, and the terrain is moderate to fairly easy except for the wilderness portion in unit 36. This is a benefit to hunters of all ages and abilities. Again, Top Notch Outfitters recommends that hunters be in the best shape possible for an optimum hunting experience.  Top Notch offers New Mexico Rifle Elk Hunting along with New Mexico Archery Elk Hunting and New Mexico Elk Muzzle loading in the Sacramento mountain area.

Lodging will be in local cabin rentals in unit 34 and our hunting lodge in unit 36 . Rifle and Muzzle loader hunts include five days of hunting. Archery hunts include six, eight, or ten days of hunting.

Rates for this area are as follows:

New Mexico Archery Elk Hunting for the Sacramento Mountain area

1 on 1     6 Day = $5000        2 on 1     6 Day = $4000
1 on 1     8 Day = $6000        2 on 1     8 Day = $5000
1 on 1     10 Day = $7000      2 on 1     10 Day = $6000

2018 Archery Elk Dates in unit 34 and 36

September 1st-14th (6,8 or 10 day hunts)
September 15th-24th (6,8 or 10 day hunts)

New Mexico Muzzle Loader Elk Hunting for the Sacramento Mountain area

1 on 1     5 Day = $5000         2 on 1     5 Day = $4000

2018 Dates

October 13th-17th in unit 34

October 6th-10th in unit 36

New Mexico Rifle Elk Hunting for the Sacramento Mountain area

1 on 1     5 Day = $5000        2 on 1     5 Day = $4000

2018 Dates

October 20th-24th in unit 34
October 13th-17th and October 27th-31st in unit 36

To book a hunt in the Sacramento Mountains click here.