New Mexico Unit 55A Hunting Information

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Overview of NM GMU 55A Hunting Facts

Bordering Colorado for 60 miles west of Raton, this unit is dominated by large private ranches where guided hunters take many mature elk, mule deer and antelope. Public elk hunting takes place in three state wildlife areas (residents only) and the famed Valle Vidal area. Check out the Info for Cities Near Unit 55A section on the right.

Table of Contents

NM Unit 55A Species Hunting Info

INFO: Mule Deer Hunting in New Mexico Unit 55A

Private and public properties are well-managed. Volcanic soils limit antler growth. Animals harvested here hardly ever qualify for all-time B&C records. Some of the largest and most famous hunting ranches are in this unit.
SUCCESS RATES for Mule Deer Hunting in New Mexico Unit 55A
5 Year Estimated Average for Deer
Archery 15.00%
Archery (Valle Vidal) 80.00%
Rifle (YO) 63.00%

Mule Deer TROPHY QUALITY for Unit 55A New Mexico
Average Deer Quality 140″ – 160″
Trophy Deer Potential 170″+
New Mexico Unit 55A Mule Deer Hunting FORUM Coming Soon!

INFO: Elk Hunting in New Mexico Unit 55A

The first archery season can see extremely high temps. Water is abundant in most of the unit, but stand hunting over wallows can be effective. Hunters with tags for this season should consider hunting during the last part of the season, bugling to locate bulls. The later archery season takes place during the rut. Hunters who hike away from roads often get bulls to respond to bugles and cow calls.
SUCCESS RATES for Elk Hunting in New Mexico Unit 55A
5 Year Estimated Average for Elk
Archery 1 35.00%
Archery 1 (Valle Vidal) 30.00%
Archery 2 (Valle Vidal) 50.00%
Muzzleloader (Valle Vidal) 50.00%
Rifle 1 68.00%
Rifle 2 50.00%
Rifle (YO) 50.00%
Elk TROPHY QUALITY for Unit 55A New Mexico
Average Elk Quality 300″ – 330″
NM Area 55A Trophy Elk Potential 340″+

New Mexico Unit 55A Elk Hunting FORUM Coming Soon!

Unit 55A Hunting Information Video


NM Cities Near Unit 55A


New Mexico Unit 55A Topo Map

Total Acreage: 1,008,000 acres over 1,575 square miles

Total Public Land: 138,000 acres or 13%

Land Ownership Mix: 87% Private; 13% Public; USFS: 99,648 acres; State: 31,168 acres

Species: Elk, Mule Deer, Sheep

Elevation Variances: 7,000 ft. to 12,386 ft.

Terrain Difficulty Overall: Mild to Moderate

Land Coverage/Vegetation: 58.1% Evergreen Forest 19.7% Grassland/Herbaceous 16.1% Shrub/Scrub

Unit 55A Boundaries: The portion of Game Management Unit 55 beginning at the junction of New Mexico Highway 58 and US 64 at Cimarron and running west and south along US 64 to the Colfax-Taos County line at Palo Flechado pass; then north along the Colfax County line to the southern boundary of the Sangre de Cristo Grant; then north and west along the Sangre De Cristo Grant’s southern boundary to NM 522 then north along New Mexico Highway 522 to the Colorado-New Mexico state line; then east along the state line to its intersection with Interstate 25; then south along I-25 to its junction with US 64 then southwest along US 64 to its junction with NM 58 at Cimarron


Lay of the Land in NM Unit 55A


Terrain in GMU 55A NM

Most hunting takes place on land that is flat or not steep. Large grassy parks and huge ponderosa pine and aspen forests account for much of the best elk habitat. Some mountains are among the highest in the southwest, reaching 12,584 feet in Valle Vidal. A great deal of pinyon/juniper woodland is sprawled across lower hills, mountains and ridges and is above expanses of flatlands and foothills. Water sources are common. Valle Vidal, 101,794 acres in the Carson National Forest, was given to the people of the United Statesville by Pennzoil in 1982 and is managed to yield trophy-size elk, hunted only by residents and nonresidents who draw once-in-a-lifetime tags. Two state wildlife areas—Elliott S. Barker and Urraca—and the northern half of a third—Colin Neblett—are in the unit and are open only to resident hunters. It is roughly 1,574 square miles, 13% of it being public land. The elevations range from 6,800 feet to 12,500 feet

Vegetation in GMU Unit 55A NM

Alpine tundra shrubs, Forbes, grasses and wildflowers grow on the tops of the higher mountains above spruce, fir and pine forests. Middle-elevation land is mostly covered by ponderosa pines and aspens and large grassy parks. The next level down is mostly a vast pinyon-juniper jungle with oak brush slopes and draws and sagebrush ridges and foothills. Lowlands are mostly covered with prairie grasses, particularly grama, with scattered ponderosas, pinyons and junipers, mostly on the edges of ridges, and a few alfalfa fields and other crop fields. Cottonwoods and tamarisk grow along creek bottoms in valleys.

Access Points in NM GMU 55A

Large ranches comprise most of the unit except for Valle Vidal and three state wildlife management areas. There is good access to public areas and all large ranches on maintained roads. Cerrososo Road, which reaches Valle Vidal from the east, leaves U.S. Highway 64 between Colfax and Cimarron and is tough on tires with sharp, volcanic rock. Carry several extra spare tires. Most of the old roads on Valle Vidal have been closed, leaving large roadless areas where hunters must hike or ride horses to reach. Semipublic land includes the Boy Scout of America’s 137,493-acre Philmont Scout Ranch, where hunters can enjoy guided hunts, and the National Rifle Association’s 33,000-acre Whittington Center, where hunters can enjoy guided elk, mule deer and antelope hunts. Four-wheel-drives are recommended, ATVs are not necessary.