Bear In New Mexico


Published: April - 1998

Bear hunting in New Mexico in recent years has taken a back seat to hunts for other big game species, partially because there is no spring season, and partially because of the fall season's dates, which ran from September 1 through October, and thus overlapped the hunting seasons for deer, elk and antelope. Consequently, many of the qualified outfitters elected to not offer specific bear hunts, concentrating instead on the more popular species. The good news is, starting this fall, the state has changed the bear hunting season dates to run from October 15 to December 15. One outfitter who will be offering hunts specifically for bear after the close of elk and deer season in mid-November is Mick Chapel (New Mexico Professional Big Game Hunting.

Chapel has hunted cats and other big game in New Mexico for years, but until now has not offered bear-only hunts. Nonetheless, he has managed to take some good animals. One of his elk hunters last year, for example, took a bear that had a skull size over 19 inches. At press time, he said he was looking forward to taking some really good bears this fall, provided an early storm doesn't push the big boars into their dens ahead of time. He says he expects some of his hunters to take highly desirable color-phase bears - mostly chocolate. Chapel's five-day hunts will cost $1,750 this fall. You can also book a combo hunt for both mountain lion and bear from the December 1 lion season opener through the end of the bear season. Chapel plans to charge $3,000 for the lion hunt, plus a $1,500 trophy fee on bear. Hunt prices include lodging at Chapel's ranch, which is equipped with comfortable bunkhouses and a walk-in cooler, as well as airport pick-up in Albuquerque. Keep in mind that both bear and mountain lion licenses must be purchased before the seasons open. Non-resident licenses cost $150 for bear and $200 for mountain lion.

........(continued)

 
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