Did you know one of the most prized game animals of Asia is huntable on free-range on public land in New Mexico? In 1970, the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF) imported 15 Persian ibex from Iran and released them in the Florida Mountains near Deming, New Mexico. Soon after, an additional 27 were released, and a sustainable population was established. By 1974, the first Persian ibex hunt in the Florida Mountains was offered to the public, and one to two hunts have been conducted every year since.
“We managed them to stay isolated in those mountains and to give hunters a unique opportunity at a challenging game animal,” said Nicole Tatman, Big Game Program Manger, NMDGF.
The Bureau of Land Management has established an optimum, supportable number of 400 animals for this localized population. To achieve and maintain this target, NMDGF annually conducts aerial surveys, determines populations and offers public and management hunts accordingly.
New Mexico’s big game drawing is subject to a quota system. In accordance with state law, the draw attempts to distribute a minimum of 84 percent of the licenses for each hunt to New Mexico residents, 10 percent to residents or nonresidents who’ve contracted with an outfitter and six percent to nonresidents who have not contracted with an outfitter (this does not prohibit nonresidents in the 6 percent pool from contracting with an outfitter if they are lucky in the draw).
“As you can imagine there are many applicants but people do get drawn and have successful hunts every year. We encourage anyone with an interest in hunting ibex in New Mexico to apply,” Tatman said.
For more information go to http://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/
Chester Moore, Jr.