Big-game hunters: Apply for licenses before March 20 deadline

SANTA FE – The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish is reminding hunters that March 20 is the deadline to apply for deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, oryx, ibex, bighorn sheep, javelina and Barbary sheep licenses. The deadline is a week earlier than last year. The Department expects about 160,000 applications for about 65,000 licenses.

Hunters must complete their applications before 5 p.m. MDT March 20. All applicants previously must have created an online account at Here’s how to apply:

  • Online: Applicants can access or create accounts via the Department website, From their account, applicants will be prompted through license and application choices. This year’s new “shopping cart” streamlines the process.
  • By phone: Hunters without computer access or who need help applying can call toll-free, (888) 248-6866 and a Department representative will submit an application for them. The information center will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. The center will close at 4:30 p.m. on deadline day, March 20, to allow customers to complete applications before the 5 p.m. deadline.

This is the second year since the Department eliminated paper application forms in favor of a paperless online system designed to streamline the application and licensing process and make drawing results and refunds available much sooner. This year, successful applicants will be able to print all types of licenses themselves. Carcass tags have been eliminated and licenses no longer will be mailed unless requested.

Also new this year: The Department’s Mentored Youth Hunter Program offers first-time hunters younger than age 18 opportunities to apply for and purchase licenses before they complete a full hunter safety course. Hunters in the program must complete an online quiz and be accompanied in the field by a licensed adult. Please check the Rules and Information booklet for more information.

To be eligible for the draw, applicants who held deer or elk licenses for the 2012-13 seasons must have submitted a harvest report either online or through the information center. The deadline to submit harvest reports without a late fee was Feb. 18, but applicants still can be eligible for the draw by reporting before the March 20 draw deadline and paying an $8 late fee.

Before applying, hunters are highly encouraged to read the Hunting Rules and Information booklet, available online, from license vendors or at Department offices in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Raton, Roswell and Las Cruces. Applicants also are encouraged to apply early, as a flood of last-minute applications could affect online access and phone banks.

Leave a Reply