GR HUNTER

New Mexico Elk Hunt

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Finally drew a New Mexico rifle tag for elk this season. Elevation in the Unit I'll be hunting goes up to about 9500 ft. Anyone have any experience at those altitudes coming from NY? I've never been that high up and don't what to ruin a hunt with altitude sickness. Going to get there about a day and a half early to try and get acclimated a bit. I've ramped up the workouts but I think that will only help so much. Also, if anyone has any other advice about hunting NM, let me know.

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All I can say is that I am JEALOUS - hunt of a lifetime there.  Best of luck.  New Mexico has some big elk.  If its guided, I would ask the guide about the likelihood of altitude sickness, but I think you will be fine at 9500.

Edited by moog5050

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    Arriving a few days early is a good idea. You can be in the best shape of your life at our elevation in New York and feel lousy when you start hunting those elevations in NM. Your body needs to acclimate to the higher altitude. I've hunted up to 11 k many times for elk and mountain goats. Just take your time and don't overdue it the first couple of days and you will do just fine. Don't let your guide push you too hard early in the hunt. Unfortunately you will be able to run up and  down those mountains when the hunt is over and you're sitting in the jet on your way home.

Good luck, post pictures

 

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Getting there a bit early to acclimate to elevation is a wise move....Everybody  reacts differently to altitude...I have hunted up to about 12,000 feet, and  I see no big difference until I get to about 10.000.. However, one of my hunting buddies sees a BIG difference when he reaches about 8,000... Also,  keep up your workouts..The better shape you are in the better hunt you will have.. New Mexico is a great state to hunt elk in...The terrain in most places is not nearly as extreme as it is in many parts of Colorado, Idaho, and several other mountain states, and the elk hunting is wonderful...What area are you hunting ?

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Thanks for the advice. It’s been great incentive to keep in shape. I’ll definitely post pictures. My other issue has been my shooting. I’m bringing my 7mm rem and have trying out a few different cartridges. Probably going to shoot 162 gr Hornady ELD-X but my bigger issue is finding a place to shoot long distance for practice. Largest range within 2 hours is 200 yds. 

 

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5 hours ago, Pygmy said:

Getting there a bit early to acclimate to elevation is a wise move....Everybody  reacts differently to altitude...I have hunted up to about 12,000 feet, and  I see no big difference until I get to about 10.000.. However, one of my hunting buddies sees a BIG difference when he reaches about 8,000... Also,  keep up your workouts..The better shape you are in the better hunt you will have.. New Mexico is a great state to hunt elk in...The terrain in most places is not nearly as extreme as it is in many parts of Colorado, Idaho, and several other mountain states, and the elk hunting is wonderful...What area are you hunting ?

Unit 34 down in southern New Mexico. Should be into a lot of elk from what I’m hearing. It’s only a 5 day rifle season down there so I can’t lose a day not feeling well.

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My buddy lives at 7,200 in Colorado and we are weapons my up a weeklong visit tomorrow. DRINK TONS OF WATER before traveling and when you arrive. That has helped my family this week. We laid low the first 1/2 day we arrived and the next day. Watch the booze - it doesn’t help.
We hiked to 8,500 and our bodies just felt tired quite quickly and our breathing was never quite right(felt like we couldn’t get a deep breath)

We drove to 14,100 on our 5th day here and didn’t feel as badly as we did at 8,500 on day 3.

I would suggest trying to shoot after doing some cardio (run in place or do a bunch of jumping jacks) to try replicate the breathing piece.

I often thought about how I would pull back a bow on an elk feeling as I was at times.


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55 minutes ago, GR HUNTER said:

Unit 34 down in southern New Mexico. Should be into a lot of elk from what I’m hearing. It’s only a 5 day rifle season down there so I can’t lose a day not feeling well.

I've been in unit 34 between Cloudcroft and Weed.And then down along Rt 24 to Pinon (where I hunted for muledeer) Most of the unit is less than 9500 and thats far different than say 14,000.

Rolling terrain with lots of pine ridges. A good portion in the middle burned bad back in mid 2000's (know someone who lost everything) and made for great elk habitat. Far west of the unit drops extreme down to Whitesands Missle Base/Alamagordo and extreme east and south is high desert. Cloudcroft is a nice town with a couple decent places to eat.

I was doing quite a bit of hiking at the time and covered quite a bit of terrain scouting for elk as there is extensive trail system in that area. Just south of Cloudcroft there is a US Forest ranger station with lots of maps/info. 

Elevation didn't bother me at all; but you have to (1) stay hydrated and (2) no booze, alcohol will mess you up, save the beers when successful.

 

 

Edited by Dinsdale

Give it a name, apply human sentiment, and its no longer a wild animal its a Disney character.

 

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Heres some pics all in 34.....

Looking down to White Sands from just south of Cloudcroft;

MpplKfX.jpg

 

Typical terrain in much of 34;

rOCtasI.jpg

ChTf2ql.jpg

 

Public land access at end of Forest Service rd, note the line of elk close to 150 in this herd;

LLjvYvm.jpg

XQriInw.jpg

 

Elk coming out to feed after being in timber all day;

Um1AIIu.jpg

CYPxCAC.jpg

 

And just to give an idea how that unit changes for rainfall/vegetation in the south, this is just outside Pinon looking back to Cloudcroft to the north;

kDtgoeM.jpg

 

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Give it a name, apply human sentiment, and its no longer a wild animal its a Disney character.

 

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Wow. Thanks for the pictures. I'm going to take a bunch and post as I go along. I'm getting one of those digiscopes for my binos. Did you find you did a lot glassing compared to walking to locate elk? 

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I go every year to Colorado for elk and mule deer. I usually hunt between 9 and 11k feet. Altitude does not really bother me. Of course I’m a non smoker I don’t know if you are. One thing that is a must is visine. The air is so dry at those elevations. Are you being guided? If so I’m sure these guides will put in a lot of windshield time trying to locate elk for you. So not much hiking up and down . I also would recommend finding somewhere to start practicing 300- 400 yard shots. 

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2 hours ago, GR HUNTER said:

Wow. Thanks for the pictures. I'm going to take a bunch and post as I go along. I'm getting one of those digiscopes for my binos. Did you find you did a lot glassing compared to walking to locate elk? 

I did semi guided muledeer on landowner tag in the south on a ranch of roughly 14K acres. Then when done spent a day driving roads to get familiar with elk area with the outfitter scouting elk for his upcoming season. We'd stop and glass and check animals out from the truck and spotted some real nice bulls often. That also tended to be on much of the private land that makes up a fair amount of area along the roads in that was  south of Cloucroft that he had access too.

Then I spent time that trip and another hiking public area and looking for elk and covered some distance each day looking in likely elk areas; found some good animals each day. 

I glassed a lot with 10x42 binocs as I like to glass and have a pretty good knack at it, but its not always real open so have to have a little patience to spot animals hiding in pine timber. 

I have not been to the southwest of that unit up in the mountains (as opposed to SW down on White Sands) and there is a huge amount of public land there. And a road/trail system that crisscrosses much of the entire unit.

The absolute best map that has a ton of info is the US Forest Service;

Motor Vehicle Use Map

Sacramento & Smokey Bear Ranger Districts

Lincoln Nat'l Forest

Sacramento ranger district is mostly unit 34; that local office according to my file (575) 682-2551. Office is just outside village of Cloudcroft and super helpful when I was getting hiking info and such from them. That overlook White Sands pic taken right near there too.

I'm pretty sure you can download that map as an app too for free now.

Someday I'm going to try for a bow hunt there for elk, maybe this post will get me back on that plan.

 

Edited by Dinsdale
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Give it a name, apply human sentiment, and its no longer a wild animal its a Disney character.

 

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Heres link to app version of paper map I have;

https://www.avenzamaps.com/maps/75110/motor-vehicle-use-map-sacramento-smokey-bear-ranger-districts-lincoln-national-foressacramento

FWIW I'm not technology guy, my phone still opens and closes and has a tiny screen, so I can see this is correct map; but have no clue about the ability to use it on a phone or what is required. Never did an "app" thing.


Give it a name, apply human sentiment, and its no longer a wild animal its a Disney character.

 

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Awesome! Congrats. I suggested arriving early to acclimate to the altitude. You may not get sick, but you’ll feel short winded if you need to do any running. I did 17 miles on foot in Arizona around 7K elevation chasing a lion and I was winded more than normal for sure. Also definitely keep practicing long shots. For me, I’m 3”’high at 100yds and dead on at 300yds when I go out west. Lastly, if possible, I would suggest running some sprints then shoot while your heart is still racing because that could be the type of shot you need to make. If you can run at the range, maybe jumping jacks then sit and shoot quick.

Good luck! I’m jealous too!


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2 hours ago, Cory said:

One thing that is a must is visine. The air is so dry at those elevations.

It's been many years since I've been out west but in addition to the Visine, I needed Chapstick daily.

Look forward to the pics.....


Please support the hunting of Mourning Dove In New York State.  For information, visit nydovehunting.weebly.com/

 

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1 hour ago, Lawdwaz said:

It's been many years since I've been out west but in addition to the Visine, I needed Chapstick daily.

Look forward to the pics.....

Ditto on the chapstick…. Good luck, Pilgrim...!....

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Finally drew a New Mexico rifle tag for elk this season. Elevation in the Unit I'll be hunting goes up to about 9500 ft. Anyone have any experience at those altitudes coming from NY? I've never been that high up and don't what to ruin a hunt with altitude sickness. Going to get there about a day and a half early to try and get acclimated a bit. I've ramped up the workouts but I think that will only help so much. Also, if anyone has any other advice about hunting NM, let me know.


Any updates?


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Awesome hunt!  Just got back the other day and was just about to update this. It was a rough few days of hunting in beautiful country and my legs are finally not sore from all the hiking.  We did tons of hiking in some pretty steep canyons and spotted a bunch of cows and a few decent bulls. We got into a few spot and stalks with nothing working out or the bull not being the right bull. Finally on day 3 of my trip after getting deep into hills we spotted this bull across a canyon. We watched him bed and slowly made our way to cut the distance. Its amazing how hard they are to spot especially while bedded down. We actually lost him a few times but were able to pick him up again after changing angles. A few hours later and after finally cutting the distance I was able to get my shot as he stood up broadside. The 7MM did its job and I shot him right behind the shoulder. He dropped and tumbled down a bit. Much longer story but I'll post that some other time. I'm told he's a pretty good bull for this year as it was a pretty dry spring and backs ends have been lacking compared to the front ends on mature bulls. No altitude sickness at all which I was worried about (most of our time spent between 7,500 and 8,500 ft), but it was difficult to catch my breathe on those steeper hikes.  I've attached a few pictures below. Overall great trip and can't wait to do it again someday. Now back to chasing whitetails.

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