New Mexico: How to Hunt Private Land with Public Land Tags (E-PLUS)

nnmarcher

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Jun 11, 2019
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71
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) just posted their 2022 interactive unit-wide map showing which private ranches enrolled in the Elk Private Lands Use System (E-PLUS) in each unit.

E-PLUS is a program created by NMDGF to incentivize private landowners to provide quality elk habitat on their ranches and create hunting opportunities. Eligible ranches can apply to NMDGF and receive authorizations for elk tags which can then be sold or traded to hunters who can use the authorization to purchase a tag. Ranch owners can choose to keep the authorizations they receive from NMDGF as ranch-only (RO) and hunters holding those tags can only hunt on the ranch property. Ranch owners can also opt to make the authorization unit-wide (UW) meaning a hunter can buy an elk tag from a ranch owner and then hunt the entire unit with it.

However, if the ranch owner selects the unit-wide option, they are obligated to open their ranch to public draw tag holders as well. The verbiage from the NMDGF website reads:
Landowners who selected the unit-wide hunting option on their EPLUS agreement and received a unit-wide authorization(s) for the current license year agree to allow public elk hunting access on their private ranch. Hunters who possess a public draw elk license or a private-land unit-wide elk license may access these private unit-wide ranches, any legally accessible public lands, and other private land with written permission within the same GMU.

I believe this caveat is often overlooked and certainly not advertised. The unit-wide tag option opens up a ton of land that wouldn’t normally be accessible and provides many opportunities to explore additional land. If you hold a New Mexico elk tag, I recommend taking the time to review the interactive map linked here: Elk Private Lands - EPLUS - New Mexico Department of Game & Fish.

The below example shows a unit with several ranches (private land) in orange. Clicking on these parcels will show you if it is unit-wide and can be accessed by hunters who hold tags drawn in the public draw.
zN2TrRlRyD1x9PKp5G8_H6Qwes1N3hqr_aqaSXDpLXOUwLpubIBE0MMX0lq2c1f4XvcfVCATW9mCWQ-t-SOH6bhzaPEq5ThahXazkYM1ZVwuXtd6G7L003bJJGgtz6WW81-GUKnSfT5f9iBIcTvtDDE



I’ve also copied and pasted the rules here, but they can also be found at the above link.

Unit-Wide Rules
  • Unit-wide private ranches are open during each public elk hunt for the sole purpose of hunting elk.
  • They are not open during any other time of year or for any other purpose.
  • Hunters are allowed free access to the entire unit-wide ranch during their licensed hunt dates, including scouting up to two days immediately preceding the start of their hunt.
  • Landowners and their employees may not interfere with elk hunters while on the ranch and elk hunters are not required to notify landowners or their employees before entering the ranch.
  • Vehicular access may be restricted on the ranch however; it must be equally restricted to all elk hunters, including hunters holding a license purchased with authorizations issued to the ranch.
  • No elk hunter, including hunters holding a license purchased with authorizations issued to this ranch, may drive off-road on a unit-wide ranch except to retrieve legally harvested elk with separate permission from the landowner.
  • Unit-wide ranches are not open for camping.

I am not an expert or a lawyer, so be sure to do your own research before crossing fences. I hope that this helps public draw hunters access more land than they previously knew about and fill their tags!
 
OP
nnmarcher

nnmarcher

Member
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Messages
71
I may be wrong here, but I would assume many people would like to keep it that way instead of blasting it on the www. for others to shorten their homework.
I can see where you're coming from.

All of the information is readily on the NMDGF website, so I don't think this post is really giving anything away. According to the EPLUS webpage:
The EPLUS program was created in recognition of the important benefits that private lands make to the elk populations and hunting opportunities in New Mexico. The program gives hunters and landowners a way to work together to effectively manage and hunt elk on private lands.
I think hunters need to take advantage of these opportunities because it encourages landowners to create healthy elk habitat.
 

tracker12

Well Known Rokslider
Joined
Jan 29, 2016
Messages
766
The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) just posted their 2022 interactive unit-wide map showing which private ranches enrolled in the Elk Private Lands Use System (E-PLUS) in each unit.

E-PLUS is a program created by NMDGF to incentivize private landowners to provide quality elk habitat on their ranches and create hunting opportunities. Eligible ranches can apply to NMDGF and receive authorizations for elk tags which can then be sold or traded to hunters who can use the authorization to purchase a tag. Ranch owners can choose to keep the authorizations they receive from NMDGF as ranch-only (RO) and hunters holding those tags can only hunt on the ranch property. Ranch owners can also opt to make the authorization unit-wide (UW) meaning a hunter can buy an elk tag from a ranch owner and then hunt the entire unit with it.

However, if the ranch owner selects the unit-wide option, they are obligated to open their ranch to public draw tag holders as well. The verbiage from the NMDGF website reads:


I believe this caveat is often overlooked and certainly not advertised. The unit-wide tag option opens up a ton of land that wouldn’t normally be accessible and provides many opportunities to explore additional land. If you hold a New Mexico elk tag, I recommend taking the time to review the interactive map linked here: Elk Private Lands - EPLUS - New Mexico Department of Game & Fish.

The below example shows a unit with several ranches (private land) in orange. Clicking on these parcels will show you if it is unit-wide and can be accessed by hunters who hold tags drawn in the public draw.
zN2TrRlRyD1x9PKp5G8_H6Qwes1N3hqr_aqaSXDpLXOUwLpubIBE0MMX0lq2c1f4XvcfVCATW9mCWQ-t-SOH6bhzaPEq5ThahXazkYM1ZVwuXtd6G7L003bJJGgtz6WW81-GUKnSfT5f9iBIcTvtDDE



I’ve also copied and pasted the rules here, but they can also be found at the above link.



I am not an expert or a lawyer, so be sure to do your own research before crossing fences. I hope that this helps public draw hunters access more land than they previously knew about and fill their tags!
Thank you for enlightening us on this.
I may be wrong here, but I would assume many people would like to keep it that way instead of blasting it on the www. for others to shorten their homework.
But some of us are grateful for the information. Guess it depends on how you look at it.
 
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