The Skinny on Private Land Oryx Hunts in New Mexico


Published: June - 2012

The oryx hunts available in New Mexico both on and off White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) have seen various changes in regulations and management since The Hunting Report first reported on this opportunity in 1999 (see Article 474). So, when we received a fresh report on a private-lands hunt for New Mexico oryx, we asked correspondent Michael Bodenchuk to look into the latest developments. Here is his report: The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish first introduced oryx to the state in the 1960s to fill an unoccupied biological niche in the desert. To say that the species did well is an understatement. "Oryx" is a genus name for a number of species, but the animal present at WSMR is the giant oryx or gemsbok.

The opportunities to hunt oryx in New Mexico have expanded significantly in recent years. I've personally been on these hunts three times between 1974 and 2010. For the 2012-13 seasons, 405 once-in-a-lifetime permits on the WSMR were issued, plus 308 permits for specialty hunts (i.e. youth, mobility impaired, security badge, and returning veteran hunts), plus 80 permits for broken-horn oryx. In addition to the WSMR hunts, New Mexico offered 100 permits for Ft. Bliss, a nearby military reserve, and up to 780 permits for lands off the missile range, including BLM, US Forest Service, and State Trust lands.

What many readers may not know is that there are unlimited private land oryx permits also available that allow hunting on nearby properties. These private land hunts are an exceptional alternative to the WSMR draw hunts whether for the hunter wanting an oryx for the Introduced Animals of North America Award, a hunter wanting the excellent meat, or even the hunter who has drawn the once-in-a-lifetime WSMR tag previously but wants to go back and hunt oryx again.

Subscriber Phil Scott (8669) recently enjoyed one of these private land opportunities this past April, hunting with Matt Gilstrap of New Mexico One Outfitter (575-772-5927; www.newmexico1outfitter.com). Scott reports tracking oryx for miles on end through the sand dunes. He notes........(continued)

 
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