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A Last-Minute Comment on New Mexico Ibex

April 8, 2009.

BREAKING NEWS: Application Deadline Extended to April 17. See our coverage for more info.

The deadline for most New Mexico big game tags is April 8th.

New this year, applicants for New Mexico sheep, antelope, and ibex must submit the full license fee up front.

Insanely Huge Ibex

For ibex, this is a $1,600 tag. In the past, applicants only had to front an application fee of approximately $8, so lots of guys threw in for a tag.

Having to front the full $1,600 is going to weed out a lot of half-hearted hunters, not to mention diehards who simply don't have the extra cash.

Word on the street is that applications for ibex are down more than 50% this year. If you can come up with the money — refundable if not drawn, of course — you will have unusually good draw odds this year.

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 likely 2009 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. I used last year's numbers, then assumed a 60% reduction in applications.

Hunt Tags Issued 2009
"Worst-Case" Draw Odds
Draw Odds
IBX-1-500 Youth Hunt (any weapon)
1 in 9
1 in 9
IBX-1-520 (any weapon, female or immature ibex only)
1 in 17
1 in 13
IBX-1-525 (any weapon)
1 in 122
1 in 114
IBX-1-535 (archery only)
1 in 3
1 in 2
(muzzleloader or archery hunt)
1 in 48
1 in 41

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.

It's still a long-shot, and will tie up a bunch of cash, but if you'd like to hunt Persian ibex without traveling to the other side of the world, it's worth a shot.

I just made a last-minute decision to put in my application. (I'm tracking this, along with all of my other apps, on the Hunt The West homepage).

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