New Mexico Unit 17 Hunting Information

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Overview of NM GMU 17 Hunting Facts

Unit 17 is known to have an abundance of elk within. The mountain ranges of San Mateo and Magdalena are located within unit 17, as well as the Apache Kid, Withington, and Chupadera wilderness areas.In unit 17 you will find a mixture of flat lands and hills. Keep in mind that the only season you are able to hunt elk is the archery and muzzleloader seasons. Each year hunters tend to be very successful in this unit and continue to go back each year.

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NM Unit 17 Species Hunting Info

INFO: Elk Hunting in New Mexico Unit 17

When hunting elk in unit 17 there are a few things to keep in mind. When archery season begins the bulls are for the most part silent during the day. As the sun is coming up and right before the sun goes down is your best chance at success. Keep in mind that most elk tend to stay in higher elevations until they start to head down in search of cows. Setting up near watering holes has proven to be successful in the past as well.
SUCCESS RATES for Elk Hunting in New Mexico Unit 17
5 Year Estimated Average for Elk
Archery 1 20.00%
Archery 2 28.00%
Muzzleloader 1 32.00%
Muzzleloader 2 25.00%
Muzzleloader 3 35.00%
Muzzleloader (YO) 50.00%
Elk TROPHY QUALITY for Unit 17 New Mexico
Average Elk Quality 310″ – 350″
NM Area 17 Trophy Elk Potential 360″+
GMU 17 Bull to Cow Ratio 49:100
New Mexico Unit 17 Elk Hunting FORUM Coming Soon!

Available Hunts for New Mexico Unit 17

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Cities Near NM Unit 17


New Mexico Unit 17 Topo Map

Total Acreage: 1,050,000 acres over 1,640 square miles

Total Public Land: 775,000 acres or 73%

Land Ownership Mix: 27% Private; 73% Public; USFS: 483,392 acres; USFS Wilderness: 63,488 acres; BLM: 183,936 acres; State: 103,744 acres

Species: Elk, Mule Deer, Pronghorn, Sheep

Elevation Variances: 4,650 ft. to 11,000 ft.

Terrain Difficulty Overall: Mild to Moderate

Land Coverage/Vegetation: Land cover includes 53% shrub/scrub, 31% evergreen forest and 15% grassland/herbaceous


Lay of the Land in NM Unit 17


Terrain in GMU 17 NM

The terrain in unit 17 is considered to be a mixture of flat areas and rocky mountains. Throughout this unit you will find steep slopes covered with dense brush and trees. In parts of this unit, elk can be difficult to spot with how heavy and thick the terrain is. With that being said, there are also areas within the unit where it is considered to be an easy hunt physically. We recommend scouting out areas before your hunt to see which areas are best suited for you.

Vegetation in GMU Unit 17 NM

The elevation in unit 17 ranges from 7,000 to 8,500 feet. You will find junipers throughout the unit. Some slopes are covered in sagebrush and oak brush. You can also expect to see pines, willows, tamarisk, and cottonwoods.

Access Points in NM GMU 17

Unit 17 has plenty of public roads that lead to most of the public land this unit has to offer. Keep in mind that once you get off of the main or county roads, you will have to hike in some areas as vehicles are not allowed in certain areas. In the past, hunters often accessed the unit from Magdalena. You can find access if you go south from Route 152 off I-25 near Elephant Butte. We recommend a four-wheel-drive vehicle. When allowed, ATVs come in handy.