This Tribal Elk Hunt Is A Real Discovery


Published: October - 2002

I first learned of the Pueblo of Acoma in the fall of 2000, while hunting with another outfitter in New Mexico. I met Acoma's Hunt Manager, James Torivio, on that hunt, and he told me about the tribe's plans to run private hunts on the Acoma Reservation. At that time, the hunting rights on the reservation were under lease to an outfitting service, but Torivio told me the Tribe would begin booking, guiding and conducting hunts itself in 2001. After visiting with Torivio at length, I told him to put me on his list.

Unfortunately, by that time, all of the muzzleloader and rifle hunts had been booked through 2003, so I settled for a spot on the waiting list. In June of this past year, however, I got lucky. Seems Torivio had a cancellation, and he could fit me in.

The Acoma Reservation is located 65 miles due west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, just east of the town of Grants. It's a 1½-hour drive from the airport in Albuquerque. The reservation encompasses approximately half a million acres, and it has some of the most inviting mesa and plateau terrain I have ever hunted. Much of it is covered in thick juniper and sagebrush.

One of the unique things about this area is that the elk here are able to winter and summer in the same general area. There is typically plenty of water available throughout the long, dry summers and into the fall. Very few, if any, cattle are found within the hunting area, so there is no competition between wildlife and domestic stock. The Acoma Tribe knows what it is doing. Their long-term habitat and game-management plans are impressive.

When I arrived in Acoma City, I was greeted by Torivio, who introduced me to my tribal guide, Rick Chancellor. All of the guides on the reservation were very familiar with the hunting area and had excellent hunting and stalking skills. The camp was located on a mesa at an elevation of 5,500 feet. It consisted........(continued)

 
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