Hunters will find a number of choices at the Whittington Center for 2007, including guided and unguided hunts on 33,000 acres of forest and on 80,000 acres of antelope habitat. Hunts are offered for elk, mule deer, bear, antelope and turkey. As a private landowner under the jurisdiction of New Mexico Game and Fish, Whittington has access to landowner tags they can allocate to hunters. The cost is included in the price of all their guided hunts.
Each hunt is guided by a staff member who knows the local geography and has extensive hunting experience. Hunt dates correspond to the New Mexico hunting seasons, and most are booked on a first-come, first-served basis. There are a few drawings used to disburse tags for unguided hunts for eight cow elk, 20 turkey hunts and two junior hunters, as well as two guided bull elk hunts. There's a $10 application fee and successful applicants pay a hunting service fee of $400 for the elk hunts. Applications are available on the Whittington Center web site and are due by the end of July for the big game hunts.
Elk hunts at Whittington are currently yielding six-point bulls in the 300 Boone and Crockett class. A 375-point bull was bagged in 2004 and elk exceeding 330 points are harvested annually. Implementation of habitat management has increased elk herds by as much as 30 percent in recent years at Whittington. The five-day, 1 x 1 hunts have seen a 95 percent success rate over the last 15 years. This kind of success has led to approximately a three-year waiting list for one of the 14 elk tags available for hunts from October to December each year. The all-inclusive cost is $8,500, including the New Mexico hunting license........(continued)