New Mexico Scouting trip


Junior Member
Apr 22, 2022
I recently got back from my New Mexico scouting trip and found some very interesting things. For one the maps I've been pouring over for months looked nothing like the real thing! The mountains were much steeper and thicker than expected and I sure am glad i took the trip! I also spotted several bulls in velvet and while scouting the immediate area i found last years rubs everywhere and also a few elk sheds. Is it normal for these bulls to live in the same area all year long? I really thought i would find one type of elk sign or another but not all three together! Beautiful country and I cant wait until October!


Jul 10, 2022
I live and hunt in northern NM. I own a ranch up north and have been hunting Elk for over 25 years. Just be aware that come mid-august, the Bulls change behavior. You may see them on trail cams in areas almost every third day consistently all of june up to first/second week of July - but then the pattern changes. Same with Rubs. Elk on my ranch are a "resident herd", which means they travel in lets say a 10-12 mile radius and they dont travel hundreds of miles. In short, each area in NM has nuances to it and older Bulls have even more nuances to them. The only way to truly get dialed in is to spend time (lots) in the area you hunt year after year. Hope that helps


Well Known Rokslider
Apr 25, 2020
Socorro New Mexico
Herds in the Northwest migrate down from and up to Colorado. Here in the South they don’t migrate. The herds go up and down the slopes and stay in about 10-15 square mile areas as was stated. The Southern herds are typically a couple of weeks behind in the rut as well. In the middle of Oct the bulls are still with the cows so bugling in the early morning and late afternoon is common. Find the corridors between the bedding areas and the feeding/watering areas. Depending on how many seasons are before yours, the elk will be pushed in a ways, most likely a few miles anyway. After opening day of a firearm season the elk pick it up and move.

E-scouting gets you into the ball park but only boots on the ground will locate the elk. I do my scouting the last part of August and September. The water situation is different in the South and depends on the unit. Some units down here only have tanks that fill up from run-off for a water source. Some of the tanks dry up in August and September. Springs that are wet all year are rare. Non-resident DIYers are challenged to spend enough time scouting and getting familiar with the area. Residents don’t draw the same area often enough to accumulate a lot of scouting time; so time spent preseason scouting for a resident is also precious. Of course once you get “dialed in” and walk out with a “wall hanger” then it is much easier the next time...if lucky enough to to be drawn for the same unit again.