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New Mexico Ibex Hunting

January 30, 2008.

New Mexico offers world-class hunting for antelope, elk, mule deer, coues deer, and sheep. Additionally, it offers some unique opportunities for free-range, completely wild exotic species such as barbary sheep (aoudad), oryx (gemsbok), and ibex.

Insanely Huge Ibex

Ibex are spectacular goats with huge, ridged horns that sweep back for up to 50", although a trophy size in the low 40s would be a much more realistic goal. Males are known as billies, females as nannies.

The stock for the New Mexico herd came from Iran in the early 1970s, and are considered Persian or Bezoar ibex. The New Mexico herd is almost exclusively in the Florida Mountain range of southern New Mexico. These are very nasty, very steep mountains, even by goat-hunting standards.

To hunt Bezoar ibex, you either need to travel to some remarkably obscure part of Asia, or you can draw a license in New Mexico and drive down there in your truck.

The hard part, of course, is drawing the license.

It's tough to calculate draw odds in New Mexico. New Mexico considers your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice when they pull your name out of the hat, before they move on to the next applicant. They report drawing statistics by showing the number of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choices for a given unit, but not how many entered multiple choices.

I calculated the draw odds two ways: "Worst-Case," assuming all hunters entered 3 choices, and "Best-Guess," based on a guess that the average hunter enters one first choice and one backup.

Hunt Tags Issued 2007
"Worst-Case" Draw Odds
2007
"Best-Guess"
Draw Odds
IBX-1-500 Youth Hunt (any weapon)
15
1 in 18
1 in 16
IBX-1-520 (any weapon, female or immature ibex only)
25
1 in 29
1 in 22
IBX-1-525 (any weapon)
15
1 in 239
1 in 227
IBX-1-530 (archery only)
100
1 in 6
1 in 4
IBX-1-540
(muzzleloader or archery hunt)
20
1 in 80
1 in 69

New Mexico does not have a bonus or preference point system, so all applicants are on equal footing. Additionally, ibex licenses are not affected by New Mexico's usual quota system (78% of license for residents, 12% of licenses for guided non-residents, and 10% of licenses for non-guided non-residents), further leveling the playing field.

To apply for ibex is CHEAP. You can do so online for only $8. If you draw, however, they will hit you up for another $1,600 (or $111 for residents).

If you were to draw, hiring an outfitter would make sense in order to make the most of this tremendous opportunity. Dennis Kauffman of Kauffman Outfitters seems to be the best-known outfitter for New Mexico's ibex, although I do not know him personally.

If you're up for the challenge of some very physical mountain hunting, applying for ibex is a must. For only $8 down, you could very well earn an opportunity at the trophy of a lifetime. Apply online by April 9, 2008.

If you have a whole lot of time and money on your hands, you can also buy an over-the-counter ibex license for outside the Florida Mountains, but to my knowledge, this is going to be a fairly unrealistic hunt.

For the New Mexico ibex regs, see page 45 of the 2008 Big Game booklet (PDF file).

Good luck, and please drop me a note if you draw.


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