New Mexico Elk, Mule Deer Hunt #115

New Mexico Elk, Mule Deer Hunt #115


NM-115-trophy-pic-sawtooth-300x225 The Gila region in southern New Mexico…magic words to the ears of many elk hunters. Units 13 through 17 have over many years produced many huge bulls. These tales of giant elk have made generations of hunter’s drool over the thought of a New Mexico hunt in this area. This hunt takes place in some of the best big game units in New Mexico. This is a family-run business that has been in operation since 1999. The outfitter himself has been hunting and guiding in the area for 30 years. His hunts take place in various units including Unit 15, a primitive weapons unit often considered to be the finest unit in the Gila. He also hunts the surrounding Units 12, 13, 16 and 17 and he often takes even bigger bulls from these lesser-known units. If you are hoping to tag a true giant bull elk, he does it, and does it every year! NOW LET’S BE REALISTIC – NOT EVERYONE WILL TAG A GIANT, AND NOT EVERYONE WILL EVEN KILL A BULL, but your odds are good here. Some units are muzzleloader or bow only, and some are rifle. DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THE MUZZLELOADER HUNTS- THEY CAN BE THE BEST OF ALL. IF WE LEARNED TO USE THEM, THEN BY GOLLY YOU SURE CAN TOO!! We can make suggestions to help you — and sometimes a guide may let you rent from him a set up. New Mexico allows scopes, sabots all the fixings and Butch’s wife Joan took one at 235 yards with a single shot few years back. Since then the weapons have gotten even better as have the range finding scopes. Just do it, you will not be sorry!! We at Hunt Nation have killed a number of muzzleloader bulls.

There are other New Mexico units with higher success, but not with bigger bulls. In recent years, all the elk he killed were between 290-350 or better bulls. Not everyone though will succeed on such a bull, thought, as they get smart by the time they reach 300 class

He has fully guided hunts which include guiding, meals, lodging, transportation to and from the airport, and trophy and field care of your animal. Accommodations include a log cabin, bunkhouse or guest lodge. Meals are home cooked. Hunts take place at elevations between 7,000 and 9,000 feet. Cover is pinion and juniper with good visibility. Most of the terrain allows for reasonable walking and the use of a four wheeler and 4WD drive pickups. All hunts are fair chase. The tags are tough to draw, however, so instead of waiting years to draw, most of our clients opt to purchase a landowner voucher, which is of course more expensive. The landowners sell the outfitter these private land vouchers for thousands of dollars per voucher, and the outfitter can then help you use the voucher to get your elk tag over the counter. You still must pay for the actual elk tag (either $548 or $773), but you avoid waiting years for the draw and you instead immediately get onto good private land elk hunting. DO BE AWARE THAT ONCE THE VOUCHER IS PURCHASED, THERE CANNOT BE ANY REFUNDS! Buy trip insurance to protect yourself. Just ask us for info and we can help!

If you do not want to spend the money for a private land voucher, then you can apply for public land tags (FIRST YOU SHOULD SIGN AN OUTFITTER CONTRACT FOR BEST DRAW ODDS) and he will hunt and guide you on public land if you draw; however, you will NOT be able to hunt any private ground. Public land hunts are not easy to draw here, but it is possible if you persevere for several years. Applications are due in early to Mid March!

He does hunt elk on public ground in the Gila, but most of his hunts are on private ranches within and around the Gila, where the bulls have much less pressure. Archery hunts take place in September at the beginning of the rut.  Hunting methods include spot and stalk, calling in the morning and hunting around water holes.  Muzzleloader hunts are in October toward the end of the rut (scopes and sabots are legal). On his ranch hunts, (free ranging of course), you will purchase a landowner tag, which means you do not need to gamble in the draw, just buy the hunt. You can then use the voucher and your license can then be purchased over the counter/online.

We have hunted the Gila area many times-there are some awesome bulls on the private lands and some also on the public lands too – with over 400 class bulls taken almost yearly in this area of New Mexico. Be aware that he also hunts nearby units such as Unit 12, which allows rifle and produces some giant elk. So you have a variety of weapons choices here! Big bulls fall to rifle, bow and muzzleloader.

How good is the elk hunting here? Back a couple years ago, when we spoke with him on November 1st,  he had taken a 340; a 335; a 356 and a 405 B&C!! Those are world class bulls and success like that is not unusual for him.

Accommodations are Ranch type accommodations or cabins, depending on where you hunt. Good food and guides. He was recently in several premier TV shows and his various ranches are just excellent. Butch booked the president of one of the bow manufacturers, into this hunt for archery in 2008, and he killed a 373 with bow; a rifle guy took a 375. Another client of ours took a 340 self guided on one of the outfitters ranches, also with bow. But do not think everyone will take critters of that size! Nor will everyone succeed here. But point is- the big boys are present in reasonable numbers.

This outfitter also offers antelope hunts and mule deer hunts. Please inquire-some of those ranch mulies are truly huge and very under hunted!!

This outfitter’s family ranch is located nearby and he’s been hunting in the area for thirty years. His philosophy is to keep things small. He tries to personally guide the majority of hunters that book. When he cannot guide a hunter, he uses guides that were also raised in the area and have at least 10 years’ hunting experience. He believes it is the guide that can make or break an outfitting business. He outfits in some of the best big game units in the country. He provides fully guided hunts, which include guide, meals, lodging and trophy and field care of your animal.

2024 PRICING: (prices subject to change if landowners voucher costs)

Ask us for the current list as tags are limited and availability changes quickly.

Most of his private and public land elk hunts are $6,500 per person for 2×1 guiding, or $7,500 for 1×1 guiding. This DOES NOT include the cost of your tag (about $773) or the landowner voucher. The cost of the landowner voucher will vary, but will generally be $5,000-$6,000 each. Please call for availability and pricing. Sales tax of 6.8% is applicable on all hunts and is due upon arrival in camp.



The Ranch. This 2,000-acre ranch is located 3 miles north of Pie Town. Terrain is rolling hills and very conducive to walking. These hunts take place in Unit 13, a primitive weapons unit.
• 6-Day Bow Hunts – September 9-14 or September 19-24
• 5-Day Muzzleloader Hunts – October 15-19 or October 22-26

Sawtooth Ranch. This 9,500 acre ranch is located in Unit 13. This is a primitive weapons only unit. The elevation is 7,200-8,000 feet. It lies east of the Continental Divide near Pie Town.
• 6-Day Bow Hunts – September 1-6, 5-10, 9-14, or 19-24
• 5-Day Muzzleloader Hunts – October 15-19 or October 22-26

Three Pinon Ranch: This ranch is 6,000 acres located in Unit 12, north of the Continental divide, near Pie Town. Elevations are 7,200 to 7,800 feet. Rolling hills with pinon and juniper trees. There are dirt water tanks throughout the ranch, and most hold water year round for attracting wildlife.
• 6-Day Bow Hunts – September 1-6, 5-10, 9-14, or 19-24
• 5-Day Muzzleloader Hunts – October 15-19 or October 22-26

Ghost Elk Ranch. This 20,000 acre ranch is located in Unit 12 north of the Continental Divide, near Pie Town. The elevation is between 7,200-7,800 feet. The landscape consists of rolling hills with pinion and juniper trees. There are dirt tanks throughout the ranch which hold water year round for the deer and elk. Rifles are allowed in this Unit.
• 6-Day Bow Hunts – September 1-6, 5-10, 9-14, or 19-24
• 5-Day Rifle Hunts – October 8-12 or October 15-19.

Elliott Ranch: An 8,000 acre ranch in unit 12 near Pie Town. Elevations 7,200-7,800 feet. Rolling hills with pinon and juniper trees. Dirt tanks are throughout the ranch and hold water year round to benefit the elk and deer.
• 6-Day Bow Hunts – September 1-6, 5-10, 9-14, or 19-24
• 5-Day Rifle Hunts – October 8-12 or October 15-19.



Price: Archery: $4200 2X1; $5,200 1X1. License $780
Muzzleloader/Rifle $4000 2X1; $5000 1X1.

6-Day Public Land Elk Bowhunts

• Units 12, 13, 15, 16A,B,C,D and E; and 17
• September 1-6, 5-10, 9-14, or 19-24

5-Day Public Land Elk Muzzleloader Hunts

• Unit 13 – October 15-19, October 22-26, or November 19-23
• Unit 15 – same as above
• Unit 16E- Oct 15-19
• Unit 17 – same as 13, above

5-Day Public Land Elk Rifle Hunts

• Unit 16A – October 15-19 (Tag is $780) or October 22-26
• Unit 16D – same dates as above (Tag is $780)
• Unit 16B- October 8-12; 17-21; 22-26 (tag $780)
• Unit 16E – October 22-26 (Tag is $780)


TAGS: You can draw these tags in the lottery but odds are not great. Having a signed contract with an outfitter ups your odds, but still they are just fair odds. THE LANDOWNER VOUCHER ALLOWS YOU TO BUY YOUR ELK TAGS OVER THE COUNTER AND AVOID THE DRAW. You must also purchase a Hunting License and a Habitat Stamp.


PH: 1-307-637-5495