In this year's draw, 84% of all bighorn licenses will go to residents, 10% will be allocated to residents and nonresidents who have a contractual agreement with a New Mexico outfitter, and only 6% will be available to nonresidents who are not planning on booking with an outfitter. The same percentages apply to all other draw licenses.
For this year, New Mexico Game and Fish has changed the application process for bighorn sheep, clearly due to the change in percentages allowable. Since most sheep units have low numbers of permits, applicants will apply for one hunt code (BHS-1-201 is the code for the Rocky Mountain bighorn ram hunt and BHS-1-204 is the code for desert bighorn ram hunt) and then will specify three choices of units/dates in preference. If drawn, an applicant will be given their preferences unless the quota has already been reached.
The reality is that very few of the sheep tags will go to nonresidents. By my count, residents will receive 13 or 14 of the 16 Rocky Mountain ram tags, one or two will go to the outfitter pool and only one (IF they round up) will be available for unguided nonresidents. Similarly, for desert sheep 17 of the 20 tags will go to residents, two to the outfitter pool and only one to unguided nonresidents.
The odds of drawing a sheep tag in New Mexico are far better if you're in the outfitter pool! There are twice as many tags available........(continued)