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In a state that’s known for big bull elk, New Mexico mule deer hunts often fly under the radar. But these hunts can produce some trophy quality bucks. The late season mule deer hunts are a favorite among our guides. The climate and habitat here are great for growing big bucks on public lands.

The late season mule deer hunts in New Mexico are especially attractive with dates during the peak rut. Here’s what you can expect on a New Mexico mule deer hunt…

What to Expect from the Weather

A good portion of the prime mule deer country is high desert. Being in the southern Rockies, you can expect a later winter. Mule deer will occupy high country and utilize stable water sources throughout the hunting season. Summer monsoon rains supply moisture during the summer but the hunting season can experience mild weather in some years. Depending on how far south you go in New Mexico, the mule deer rut occurs much later than it does in the northern Rockies. Down in the southern end of the state, the mule deer rut will take place in late December and early January.

Although high desert weather can bring warm days, even in the late season, it can also bring rain and snow. Hunters should prepare for just about everything. Dress in layers and plan on cold mornings, mild afternoons and the potential for storms.

Late Season Mule Deer in New Mexico

November Rifle and Muzzleloader Hunts

The first archery hunts take place in September while mule deer still have velvet. Next up is the muzzleloader season at the end of October and into the first few days of November. At this time, mule deer are still well ahead of the rut. Most of New Mexico’s rifle seasons for mule deer occur during the first half of November Again, these hunts are still ahead of the rut.

While they are not rut hunts, the November rifle hunts are a fantastic opportunity. Plan on spending plenty of time behind the glass, picking apart the landscape until you pin down a quality buck. It’s a patience game and glassing pays off on rifle hunts.

Rifle hunters can prepare by bringing their A-game in terms of accuracy and distance. Having the ability to shoot 300 to 500 yards makes you a very effective hunter. The high desert is big country and closing the gap is difficult, especially when cover is sparse.

In 2020, LOH was 100-percent on rifle season mule deer hunts with the biggest buck coming in at 234” towards the end of the season. The action during rifle season can be fantastic and November is often very busy with big deer and elk being harvested by our guests.

Guided Mule Deer Hunt in New Mexico

Late Season Mule Deer Rut Hunts

The mule deer rut is usually in full swing during the late season bow hunts in January. In most units, the late archery season runs from January 1st through the 15th. The late archery season is attractive for several reasons. The primary draw is the rut action. Deer are moving around, chasing does and are more visible than normal. They also have the guard down as the focus turns towards breeding. Getting close is never easy but you can slip into archery range a little easier when they are distracted.

The January season also occurs when many big game hunts are shut down for the year. November and December tend to close out big game seasons in the west but this late opportunity offers the option to extend your hunting season into the New Year. Top that off with the potential for a big muley and it’s a hard one to pass. If you’re busy with elk and other big game hunts throughout the fall, consider taking on a late archery hunt to find a good New Mexico mule deer.

Applying with an Outfitter

Like all other big game species in New Mexico, applying with an outfitter will increase your chances of drawing a tag. In many of the units we hunt, the odds of drawing a mule deer tag are very high. Don’t miss your chance to apply with us in 2022 for a late season mule deer hunt! The application deadline is in March but don’t wait – contact us to get started now.

Contact Us With Questions

To learn more about our guided mule deer hunts in New Mexico, take a few minutes to read through our mule deer hunting page. If you have questions about availability, applications or anything else, please feel free to contact us. We’d love to help you plan a memorable hunting trip!

New Mexico Guided Mule Deer Hunt