STATE BY STATE

Bear Hunting In New Mexico

Hunting Methods - Hounding

New Mexico was once home to both black bears and grizzly bears. Because of heavy unregulated hunting, the grizzlies were extirpated by the early 1930s. Black bear populations were left fragmented. In 1963 a new law deemed black bears as the State Animal of New Mexico. This law helped save the black bears from extinction.

When Did Bear Hunting Start In New Mexico?

Regulated hunting seasons started in 1927. 

 

Is The State Broken Down Into BMUs (Bear management units)?

The State is broken down into both Game Management Units (GMUs) and Bear Zones. There are 14 Bear Zones, each with GMUs inside the Zone.

Bear Zones and their GMUs:

  • 1: 4-7, 51, 52

  • 2: 2

  • 3: 49, 50, 53

  • 4: 45, 46, 48

  • 5: 54, 55

  • 6: 39-43, 47, 59

  • 7: 56-58

  • 8: 8

  • 9: 9, 10

  • 10: 12, 13, 15-18, 20-24, 26, 27

  • 11: 37, 38

  • 12: 34

  • 13: 36

  • 14: 14

 

When Is Bear Hunting Season?

Bear Zones 1 and 2: 

  • Sept 1–24; Bow Only, No Dogs.

  • Sept 25–Nov 15; Any Legal Weapon, Dogs Allowed.

Bear Zones 3, 5-7, 9, 13:

  • Aug 16–31; Any Legal Weapon, Dogs Allowed.

  • Sept 1–24; Bow Only, No Dogs.

  • Sept 25–Nov 15; Any Legal Weapon, Dogs Allowed.

Bear Zones 4, 10-12:

  • Aug 16–31; Any Legal Weapon, Dogs Allowed.

  • Sept 1–24; Bow Only, No Dogs.

  • Sept 25–Nov 30; Any Legal Weapon, Dogs Allowed.

Bear Zones 8 and 14:

  • Sept 1–24; Bow Only, No Dogs.

  • Oct 15–Nov 15; Any Legal Weapon, Dogs Allowed.

What Weapons Are Permitted?

Archery: Any bow or crossbow using arrows with broadheads. 
 

Firearms: Centerfire firearms at least .22 caliber or larger; Shotguns .410 caliber or larger firing a single slug; 

Muzzleloaders: Any muzzle-loading firearm this is at least .45 caliber or larger that uses only black powder or black powder substitute.
 

Note: Electric calls are legal while hunting bears. 

 

Can Hunters Kill Cubs?

The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish does not specify an age in which a bear may or may not be killed.

 

Can Hunters Kill A Bear Over Bait?

No. Baiting is illegal. 

 

Is Dog Hunting Permitted In New Mexico?

Yes. Hunting with dogs is permitted.

 

What Procedure Must Hunters Follow After They Kill A Bear?

Immediately after harvesting a bear, hunters must completely notch the month and day of kill on the carcass tag. Before moving the animal, the tag must be attached either to the hock tendon or wrapped around a hind leg above the foot if it is skinned. Bears have to be both carcass and pelt tagged. Hunters have five days to present the pelt to an NMDGF official to be tagged, and proof of sex must be left intact. 

 

What Is Their Reasoning For Hunting Bears?

  • • Regulating bear population

  • • Controlling nuisance problems

  • • Recreational opportunity for sportsmen and women

 

What Is The Government Organization(s), That Is In Charge Of Bear Hunting/Wildlife?

  • • New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF)

  • • New Mexico Wildlife Federation

 

When Does The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Hold Their Meetings?

The NMDGF will post meeting dates, times, locations, and updates here. http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/commission/meeting-agendas/

 

Are The Meetings Open To The Public?

Yes, the meetings are open to the public.

 

Who Has The Power To Stop The Hunt?

The Governor and New Mexico’s elected General Assembly Members have the authority to introduce and vote on proposed law changes.

 

Hunt Clubs And Organizations That Participate In And Fund Bear Hunting.

NRA American Hunter - https://www.americanhunter.org/

New Mexico Professional Big Game Hunting, INC. - https://nmtrophyhunts.com/hunting-packages/guided-bear/

Van Hales Trophy Outfitters - https://www.trophyoutfitters.com/hunts/black-bear/

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