Drawing an early season tag for a New Mexico elk hunt in one of the great units that we hunt here at LOH Outfitters is flat-out exciting. Our hunters average over 90% opportunity rates on quality New Mexico bulls. 

For those who weren’t able to come up with a tag in the draw, there is the option to purchase a landowner tag. Either way, you’ll be looking forward to an incredible elk hunting experience!

 At LOH outfitters, hunting from a dedicated basecamp with a 1-on-1 guide, makes for a comfortable hunt with exceptional odds at harvesting a trophy bull. In order to take advantage of one of the best elk hunts in the country, you’ll want to show up prepared.

Here are a few tips for prepping gear for an early season New Mexico elk hunt:

Dressing for the Weather

Early season bow hunting in New Mexico can deliver a variety of weather patterns. But on the whole, expect warm days and cool nights. This desert climate is notorious for broad temperature swings between the highs and lows each day.

When hunting in the heat, you’ll benefit from quality clothing that can manage moisture and help you regulate temperature. A good portion of the time spent in the field will revolve around the morning and evening hours but hitting water holes and wallows during the mid-day is also possible.

Focus on lightweight, breathable clothing that covers your entire body. Concealment is critical, but covering up doesn’t mean you should sweat all day. Modern materials make it easy to stay dry and cool. Employ pants and long-sleeve base layer tops that are breathable and dry quickly.

Bring along an extra pair of socks in your daypack and change them out to keep your feet dry. This prevents blisters while hiking throughout the day. Also, throw a lightweight mid-layer type jacket or sweater in your pack in case the weather turns cool, or for glassing on windy ridges. You should also keep a few warm layers back at base camp in case of an early season storm. For the most part however, focus on breathable clothing that covers your skin while keeping you cool.

A New Mexico Elk Hunt in Unit 17

Hunting from a Day Pack

Hunting from a basecamp makes it easy to carry less gear. Bring a daypack with only the essentials. Choose a model that ventilates well against your back. The pack should hold your optics, a field repair kit for the bow, calls, plenty of water, snacks and knives. Keep it simple and go light in the field. Your hunting guide will also carry essential equipment for calling, meat processing, etc. So when you arrive in camp, have a conversation with your guide about what to carry. There may not be a need to duplicate some of these items. The lighter you keep your daypack, the better.

When you’re out in the field, be mindful of your body and energy levels. If needed, look for a spot to sit or glass that’s in the shade. Staying cool, especially in locations that may require you to sit tight for hours, will make the hunt that much more enjoyable. It will also make it easier to stay in the field longer and hunt harder for that trophy bull elk.

When you take glassing breaks, drink plenty of water. When early season temperatures are hot, it’s important to stay hydrated and energized. You never know when an opportunity will strike. You should be ready to move quickly through rough country.

Guided New Mexico Elk Hunt

Meat Handling in the Heat

The last element to consider on an early season archery hunt is meat care. Only take clean shots that will penetrate and kill quickly. Less stress on the animal and a fast recovery will help protect the meat.

Our guides carry Koola Buck anti-microbial game bags. We will field dress and cape your elk. From there, processing and taxidermy are up to you. We can recommend local processors and taxidermists if needed. Once back to the vehicles or base camp, it will be important to get your meat to a cooler or to a processor in a timely manner.

Final Thoughts: Prep for a New Mexico Elk Hunt

If you’ll be hunting with us this year, we’re looking forward to it! If you have questions about your upcoming hunt, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to make sure you feel ready and prepared leading up to your hunt.

If you haven’t yet booked a hunt, take a look around the rest of our website, or check out our elk hunting page. If you have questions, you can send us a message or call Jerry directly at 315-374-8209.

Guided Elk Hunt in New Mexico

By Zach Lazzari | Photos by Ryan McSparran