New Mexico 16A Archery DIY or Outfitter?

fransena

Junior Member
Joined
May 9, 2016
Messages
15
Location
Bend, OR
I somehow beat the odds and drew a 2nd season archery elk tag in 16A as a non-resident. I know there are guys out there asking for GPS coordinates for a 360", but my question is more about the need or value to hire an outfitter. I’ve always been a DIY hunter and have never gone a guided elk hunt, but realize this is a pretty special tag and it may be worth biting the bullet to hire an outfitter (assuming the wife is on board). I’ve been bowhunting elk for 10 years with some decent success so I’m not a complete newbie to elk hunting.

I did NOT apply with an outfitter, so I’m part of the 6% allocation pool. As I understand it, 10% of the tags go to people who have already signed up with an outfitter, meaning there are already 15 tag holders signed up with an outfitter. If I do decide to go the outfitter route, will I be stuck with a lower tier outfitter at this point? I’m not sure how many guides there are running around in 16a, but I kind of feel like I’m behind the curve as far as booking a solid outfitter. Anyone have experience with this or some advice?
 

BBob

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 29, 2020
Messages
936
Location
Southern AZ
The Gila is always full of guides running around. Been that way forever and that's just part of the NM game. 16A is easy to get around in and totally doable DIY. I've always been DIY and that would be my choice (I've also spent a lot of time all over the Gila) so maybe others can help you out if a guide would be worth it or not.
 

KHNC

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 11, 2013
Messages
1,994
Location
NC
A good outfitter will cost you close to 10k. If that matters. Check with Gila & Apache. They are one of the best, if you can afford them.
 

mproberts

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Messages
366
You just drew what is basically a once in a lifetime tag. If trophy quality is really important to you and you don't feel confident in your abilities to get it done DIY I would definitely look into an outfitter. I don't know what the market for them is like in 16A but in other areas of the state 5-7k seems to be the going rate for a quality guide.
 

Gila

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2020
Messages
310
Location
Socorro New Mexico
With your experience I think you would do just fine with a DIY hunt. Get in there a few days early so you can scout the areas. Water is key....last season only about 25% of the tanks were holding water. Plenty of areas to camp.. You don’t need to go in that far, only but a couple miles at most. They will be bugling but if you aren’t good with a bugle, some subtle cow calls might work. Last year it was hot and dry so the rut didn’t go full bore until the last week of the 2nd season. Congrats! One helluva tag you have there!
 

NoWiser

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2013
Messages
636
My dad and I had that tag a few years ago. We went DIY and ate our tags. Probably the funnest week of my life and I have zero regrets. My dad drew the early archery tag the following year and shot a nice bull at noon on opening day. I’d say go DIY unless you absolutely can’t stomach the idea of eating that tag (which could still happen with a guide.) If you go with the right attitude, you’ll have the time of your life.
 

Loco4dux

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 24, 2015
Messages
697
Someone with your experience, no doubt DIY. Was in the same situation last year with less archery elk experience than you, in a neighboring unit and ended up forking over and going guided. Shared camp with some guys from your unit. Looking back I could have, should have, and wish I had gone unguided. PM me if you want to chat more. Good luck it’ll be a fun hunt.
 

Forest

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2016
Messages
415
Location
Richland MT
Imo it just depends on what you want. If you are looking for an upper tier bull and don't have a bunch of time to spend there id definitely suggest hiring an outfitter. Most of them will offer a guide only package if you want to take your own food and camp to cheapen things up a bit.
If you have ample time and not too picky on the caliber of bull you kill its a great diy opportunity. Lots of public and lots of elk.

Sent from my SM-G973U1 using Tapatalk
 

BrokenArrow

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
414
Location
Weminuche
Let me know what you find out. I’ll return the favor as I’m looking for a decent drop camp with horse support for 16b/22.
Never, ever thought I would draw an archery tag in the gila. I will honor this tag as an OIL with my heart in it.
My background is that I’ve guided CO for 15 years including many tours in 76.
So, I will call/stalk for myself. But given the nature of the Gila (which I have hunted previously, general 16 deer) I feel like it calls for support. After reading what you vets have said in this thread, I’m having second thoughts. would no drop camp and only DIY be a better more mobile/dynamic experience? definitely see the more rewarding side of a DIY. My concern is hiking out a bull 2-4 miles back without spoiling? I can physically pull it off. Just don’t want to F up something this sacred.
thanks and good luck Fransena!
 
Last edited:

Mojave

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2019
Messages
119
Last year I had a 16C late season tag and got skunked. I went in three days before and thought I would get the lay of the land and have the elk figured out. That did not happen.

16A is a much better unit, and an archery tag is golden, but another hunter I know hunted 16A on an archery tag last year and never found an elk.

We are both accomplished hunters, but maybe the pressure of the Gila got to us. I don't have an answer for you.

My plan for this year was to hire an outfitter, but I didn't draw again so it is what it is.

The Gila is full of outfitters.
 

Gila

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2020
Messages
310
Location
Socorro New Mexico
Imo it just depends on what you want. If you are looking for an upper tier bull and don't have a bunch of time to spend there id definitely suggest hiring an outfitter. Most of them will offer a guide only package if you want to take your own food and camp to cheapen things up a bit.
If you have ample time and not too picky on the caliber of bull you kill its a great diy opportunity. Lots of public and lots of elk.

Sent from my SM-G973U1 using Tapatalk
Good luck getting a guide only In the Gila. Guides are crawling all over that unit like ants looking for big bulls and they work for big outfits. Outfitters are getting big bucks in 16A-D. Unit wide LO tags are going for 25K and that is just the price of the tag. There are not very many tags to begin with so the competition is fierce. A guy could get a guide only, but it certainly won’t be cost effective by any means.
 

Mojave

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2019
Messages
119
I live in Las Cruces, and I personally know 3 guys that guide the Gila.

Let me know if you want their information.
 

Forrpowpowpow

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2019
Messages
25
Location
NM
I live in Las Cruces, and I personally know 3 guys that guide the Gila.

Let me know if you want their information.
Just saw this post. I’m in cruces as well. Do you know of any guys that are willing to pack me in and out of 16B? I drew the latest rifle bull tag
 

Mojave

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2019
Messages
119
I do not. I was hiking in 34 last year and I met a guy and his wife riding mules. When we were packing up the car they were loading up their mules in a horsetrailer. I asked if he knew anyone that would pack out an elk (I had a 16C tag last year) and he laughed at me and told me that he used to do it, but he always had to take a vacation day so he wanted $2000.

I would call local Truth or Consequences, Socorro, Magdalina, Reserve and so on based outfitters and ask what they would charge for just a packout.
 

Whip

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2015
Messages
327
Personally I'd take the cash I would have spent on a guide and use it instead to do a couple of preseason scouting missions. Fly down, rent a vehicle for a long weekend a couple of times. Then get to the unit at least a few days ahead of the hunt. Maximize your time in the field. With your experience you can do it.
 

horniac

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2012
Messages
57
I have been on 3 unguided elk hunts in 16A as a NR both archery and rifle. IMO based on your statements and experience level you don’t need an outfitter for this hunt unless you want to increase your odds at a top end bull. Lots of elk and easy to get around in the unit.

Congratulations on the tag and good luck on your hunt!

Horniac
 
Top