A Look At Elk Hunting on The Acoma Indian Reservation


Published: March - 2012

The Acoma Indian Reservation in the west-central part of New Mexico not only offers elk hunts but has accumulated an impressive list of 400-plus bulls that clients have killed. Hunting here was pioneered by the late Ross Johnson in the early 1990s. Johnson developed quite a reputation for producing trophy elk. One of Acoma's tribal members, James Torivio Jr., worked with Johnson in those early years and was just recognized as the 2011 SCI Professional Hunter of the Year.

The Acoma operation is of immediate interest because there are still several openings for the 2012 season. Also, the cost is lower than some of the other more famous reservation hunts. A five-day rifle hunt is $17,000. A six-day archery hunt during the rut only costs $10,500, which is very comparable to many other elk hunts with lesser trophy potential throughout the West these days. The five-day muzzleloader hunt is $12,500. The Acoma Reservation only takes 30 total hunters (10 with each weapon) for seasons that run from late August into early October. Hunters often fly into Albuquerque before driving to the Pueblo of Acoma Cultural Center on the reservation. This cultural center is located in Sky City (which is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the continental US), one of the highlights of the Pueblo people. Hunts are conducted from two comfortable wall-tent camps, complete with cooler facilities, hot showers, and even such amenities as an on-call masseuse. When I inquired about the "best" camp, I was told that both camps have produced good results, which is certainly different from some competitors' operations, where seniority determines where you hunt and the likely quality of your trophies. Camps are located apart from each other simply to reduce the travel time on the one-half million acres. The terrain here was described as "mesa terraced," at elevations between 6,000 to 8,500 feet. For hunters, this means that, once you are on top of the mesa, the hunting is not overly demanding.

Last year they produced a 62 percent hunter success on bulls averaging 352 points. But I was cautioned........(continued)

 
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