We’d like to highlight another one of our favorite hunting units in New Mexico. Unit 17 is easily one of our top places to hunt elk. It’s known to hold some of the biggest bull elk in New Mexico. And the rugged terrain makes it a classic western hunting experience.

If you haven’t seen our other articles on the subject, go take a look at the features about unit 36 and unit 10. We also previously posted an overview that discussed New Mexico’s primitive weapons units.

New Mexico Elk Applications Are Due in March

Every year, unit 17 will produce a couple of bulls pushing or above the 400” mark. On a hunt here, it’s a reasonable expectation to be seeing bulls in the 330” to 350” range on a good moisture year. In the past, our hunters have killed bulls here ranging from 280” to 390”.

Unit 17 is one of New Mexico’s primitive weapon only units. The archery seasons run from September 1st through the 14th and the 15th through the 24th. During September we may be hunting anywhere from the mountains down to rolling hills and even prairie that holds elk. Depending on timing and conditions, we may sit water, spot and stalk, or chase bugles when they are rutting.

Elk Hunting in New Mexico Unit 17

The only firearms allowed in unit 17 are muzzleloaders. Muzzleloader hunts take place in October and November. Here at LOH Outfitters, we have custom muzzleloaders from Best of the West that are capable of shooting out to 600 yards.

The terrain here is known for being very rugged and physically demanding. Hunting elevations range from 7,000 to above 9,500 feet above sea level. Unit 17 is home to 1.56 million acres and two different mountain ranges – the Magdalena Mountains and the San Mateo Mountains. The larger San Mateo range contains two wilderness areas, the Withington Wilderness and the Apache Kid Wilderness. Outside of these wilderness areas, there is a decent network of 4-wheel-drive roads. Even so, hunter’s should be prepared for a physically challenging hunt.

New Mexico Archery Elk Hunting

Photo: Brendon Rosales

From its mountains to its prairie, unit 17 is vast and varied. Most importantly though, it’s an extremely fun place to hunt elk in New Mexico!

If you’d like to know more, please visit our elk hunting page. For details and specific availability, please feel free to contact us.

New Mexico Unit 17 Elk

Photo: Will Montoya