Get a Jump on 2013 Tags, Trophy Hunts for New Mexico Elk, Pronghorn


Published: October - 2012

For trophy elk and pronghorn hunting in New Mexico, we're profiling an outfitter who's got guaranteed tags and openings for 2013. Senior Western Correspondent Lance Stapleton reports. New Mexico has a well-deserved reputation for its outstanding trophy quality, and choosing an outfitter like Mick Chapel of New Mexico Professional Big Game Hunting (575-773-4599; www.nmtrophyhunts.com), who relies primarily on Authorization Certificates (landowner permits) for his hunts, means you can guarantee your hunt tag. Of course, if you draw a permit, you won't need the landowner permit and can book your hunt with Chapel at a reduced cost. In New Mexico, the applicant in the drawings for elk or antelope must purchase a nonrefundable hunting license ($65 for the nonresident) before making the application, and there is no bonus system.

Chapel hunts near the Gila area in southwestern New Mexico, using his ranch in Quemado as his base. For elk, he hunts mainly Units 16A and 15, both well known for producing trophy bulls. I have hunted both of these units multiple times and can say that there are some very big bulls available. These units are both designated as Quality and/or High Demand units in the regulations, which means licenses are either more expensive, harder to come by, or both. They are well suited to the Unit-Wide Authorization Certificates (landowner permits available in the E-Plus program) that allow you to hunt anywhere in the unit, including the public land that covers most of these units. The other option is Ranch-Only Authorization Certificates, which are restricted to a specific ranch and allow you to hunt another ranch only with written permission. Even worse, you can't hunt public or state land. For these reasons Chapel believes these permits are often too restrictive to warrant the cost. The Unit-Wide permits are now selling for around $7,000 for the rifle hunt, plus the $780 nonresident license and some minor stamp and habitat charges.

Chapel offers two rifle hunts and hosts four or five hunters a year. Over the years he has produced a 69 percent hunter success with an 80 percent shooting........(continued)

 
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