2021-2022 Big Game Draw: What You Should Know

The 2021-2022 Big Game draw is right around the corner, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to draw a deer or elk tag this year. New Mexico is known for vast amounts of public land and quality wildlife. Because of this, New Mexico receives many applications for the limited number of available tags.

The draw, which officially opened on January 13, 2021, can be a learning experience for new hunters and nonresidents applying for the first time. The 2021-2022 Rules and Information Booklet provides essential information about big game and upland game hunting in New Mexico.

Resident vs. Nonresident License and Tag Allocation

Let’s start by taking a look at the breakdown of how licenses and tags are allocated. New Mexico state law has established the following quotas for draw hunts for all big-game and turkey licenses and permits:

  • A minimum of 84% of draw licenses are awarded to New Mexico residents.
  • Up to 10% of draw licenses are awarded to residents and nonresidents applying with a New Mexico registered outfitter. See page 33 of the 2021-2022 Rules and Information Booklet.
  • Up to 6% of draw licenses are awarded to nonresidents applying without a New Mexico registered outfitter.
  • 100% of draw licenses for antlerless elk and hunts held exclusively on Wildlife Management Areas are awarded to New Mexico residents.
  • Population management hunts are not subject to the quota.

Important Dates to Remember

When applying, here are some important dates to remember. Making sure previous year’s harvest reports are completed, or submitting your application on time, could be the difference between drawing that once in a lifetime tag or not drawing at all.

  • February 10 – Deadline to apply for bear and turkey draw permits. Applications must be completed before 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (MST).
  • February 15 – Deadline to submit 2020–2021 harvest reports for deer, elk, pronghorn and turkey license holders. Harvest reports can be submitted online or by telephone. Late fees apply after this date.
  • February 24 – Results for bear and turkey draw permits are available online, by telephone and at NMDGF offices. Permits can be printed on standard paper after the appropriate license(s) are purchased. Carcass tag required.
  • March 17 – Deadline to apply for draw Licenses for Barbary sheep, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, ibex, javelina, pronghorn and oryx, and to apply for private-land only deer licenses in Units 2A, 2B, 2C, 4, and 5A. Applications must be completed before 5 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time (MDT).

Deadline to submit late 2020–2021 harvest reports for deer, elk, pronghorn, and turkey. All 2020–2021 license holders must report to be eligible for 2021–2022 draw licenses. Reports can be submitted online or by telephone. Failure to report for these species by this date will result in the rejection of all draw applications. An $8 late fee applies after February 15, 2021. Remember to keep your confirmation number.

  • April 7 – Deadline to submit 2020–2021 harvest reports for Barbary sheep, ibex, javelina, oryx and trapper license holders to be eligible for big-game licenses. Reports can be submitted online or by telephone. Failure to report for these species by this date will result in the rejection of all draw applications. An $8 late fee applies after April 7, 2021. Remember to keep your confirmation number.
  • April 28 – Big-game draw results are available online or by telephone.

Applying for the Hunt

When applying for draw licenses for Barbary sheep, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, ibex, javelina, oryx and pronghorn, hunters must purchase a non-refundable 2021–2022 game hunting license or game hunting and fishing license and Habitat Management and Access Validation (HMAV) if applicable.

Game hunting licenses are available online or by telephone through the draw application process (January 13, 2021–March 17, 2021). Before March 24, game hunting licenses and stamps for the 2021–2022 season may be purchased only through the draw application process. Successful applicants for draw licenses will be mailed a carcass tag, unless the E-Tag option is chosen.

Application and full license fees for each species are charged at the time the application is submitted. Unsuccessful draw applicants will be refunded the draw license fee, but not the application fee.

To apply for bear and turkey draw permits, prior purchase of a bear, turkey or game-hunting license is not required. If the applicant is successful in the draw, a license with a tag will be required after March 24. Permits will not be printable until the appropriate license(s) are purchased.

If you have an account, you can go directly into submitting your applications. If you do not have an account, you will need to create one by going to www.wildlife.state.nm.us, clicking on Customer Login in the upper center portion of the screen and clicking on Creating a New Account. 

When you create an account, remember to write down your user name and password and store it in a safe place. Passwords are case sensitive, so make sure you write them down exactly how you type them out.

Once you have created an account, you can move onto submitting the application. Remember, New Mexico State Law requires all hunters to purchase a game hunting or game hunting and fishing license before purchasing or applying for big game. This is a non-refundable license and purchased when prompted to do so during the draw hunt application process, not through License Sales 2020 in the main menu.

Most draw application questions can be answered by reading the 2021-2022 Rules and Information Booklet. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please contact our Information Center at 1-888-248-6866.

About Ross Morgan

Ross Morgan
Ross Morgan is the Public Information Officer in the Northwest Area for the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.