New Mexico oryx hunt
I found out I drew a Oryx tag for the Stallion range at WSMR. I'm looking for any information regarding the hunt. Do I need a guide since it's once in a lifetime tag? Where to hunt? Ect.
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Did you not do any research before putting in for that tag on Federal property? It sure doesn't sound like it with those kind of questions! PS: By the way, there is an Introduction Forum for newbies on this website you might want to look at first!
Last edited by Topgun 30-06; 04-24-2014 at 08:34 AM.
Ok, Topgun I guess I should rephrase......I know I don't have to use a guide but should I? I've never hunted the stallion range before and just looking for tips. I've heard animals are around, but you'll have to work for a trophy. The quality of the Stallion range I'm told is pretty good. But since no scouting is allowed I'm looking for information on the area. BTW I live in AZ so I don't have any local knowledge?
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Congrats on the tag Coach. The option of a guide will put you way ahead of the game. Another option would be to get a basic membership over at Huntin Fool and get their member draw list. You would likely get to talk to 5 to 20 guys who have drawn the tag. That would cost you $100. If I drew my plan was to do it on my own. If you do go that route, please send me a personal message, there is a HF membership drive going on with a Henry Mountain deer tag going to the winner.
After you've talked to a few guys, utilize Google Earth extensively and find some glassing points if possible. I've heard you need to get away from roads to do well on this hunt.
We have been encouraging new members to introduce themselves in the new members section and develop a connection with the guys (and gal) on the forum. First posts on forums where someone asks for info tends rub guys the wrong way and comes across as being a "taker" rather than a "giver". This is pretty much the way it is on any forum I've been on. It happens a lot this time of year when the draw results come out.
Stick around, we need more guys who know Arizona. I'm planning on burning a bunch of points there in the next few years.
Compass West posts this every year on MM:
"help for the lucky oryx hunters"
So you drew an Oryx tag in New Mexico, now what…
Since there is so little info on the oryx hunts, for people looking to DIY or thinking about a guide, I thought I would try my best at offering a hand. I have hunted all the bases now many many times, so I know and understand how the hunts work at all locations including guiding a large number of hunts on all of the base as well as off the base. My Name is Chris Guikema I live in Aztec, New Mexico just south of Durango, Co with my wife and son, I am a full time outfitter in NM, CO hunting fly fishing year round in this wonderful state we call home!
You need to take a deep breath and remember that the stress of the hunt for you is going to be almost unmanageable for that night before and even worse once you are on the base. Here is how it all works:
You’ll want to arrive the day before in time to drive out and find the gate that you need to check into. Stallion is easy to find but the Rhodes and Red Canyon hunt gates are a little harder to find the first time. Once you have the location down head back to the hotel and check for, NO BEER in coolers, be sure you have the permit, AND BE SURE YOU HAVE THE HABITAT STAMP, it will not come with your tag you have to buy it in New Mexico, be sure you also have your ID in a folder along with your current registration and proof of insurance for auto, this is what they are going to check at the gate. There will be taxidermists and butchers at most hunts outside the main gate.
Lets say that the meeting time is 5am at the gate, don’t worry about getting to the gate at 3am, your just going to wait outside the gate for hours before you get in the base and wait for another 1.5-2 hours as they check everyone into the gate, but you will get a better parking spot! (more on parking in a bit) Arrive on time and wait in the long line of cars waiting to access the base. Once on the base and after everyone is in they will lock the gate and they have a meeting. The meeting will address where you can not go and where you can, be sure you understand the areas that you are NOT allowed to hunt! Meeting will run 20-30min then you are off to the races for the hunt. Don’t stress the closed areas too much they really mark the areas well on the main roads if you are not sure DON’T HUNT. Plus game and fish officers will be ALL OVER the base for the hunt to help.
PARKING remember when you park to get into a spot that you can drive out of easy, they will end the meeting and no joke, people will RUN to the cars and take off to race to the spot they want to hunt. Its un-nerving to say the least, your heart will be in your throat, you’ll feel your pulse pounding into your ears you’ll feel like a 15 year old on the first deer hunt with your Dad again, TAKE A DEEP BREATH and settle down. Your going to get one, if you are calm and remember what I have written!!!!
GETTING TO HUNTING AREAS. Drive safe and smart and you’ll have a great hunt. There are a ton of animals on Stallion and Rhoads but Red has less animals it will be a tough hunt!!! Harvest rates are 69-87% for the base and if you are willing to walk and glass you’ll be 100% (more on hunting later). Study maps and pick an area based on gut feeling or info you find on-line, drive to that area and hunt. It will be light out as you leave the meeting so keep an eye out you might shoot one 100 yds from the starting point…..
HOW TO HUNT: GLASS GLASS AND MORE GLASS, I cant tell you how important GOOD optics are going to be on the hunt. 10x42 at a minimum for the hunt you need to glass big areas and judge them. I will talk more about judging later. They are not easy to see at first, just remember to look for white and black in the fields, the areas are open grass to thick brush, first thing I do is find a high spot to glass pull over park and start looking. Remember they will run in groups from 3-100 you just never know. Once you find a group start to look for bigger body’s first then start to look over the horns. The adults and sub-adults will run with like age groups for the most part, the babys are brown and black with little white, they breed all year so you’ll likely see a few in the cow groups, this will help you pick out the young animals as well as the cow groups. Bigger bulls will be in the areas but not always with the pack, I have shot 4 monster bulls that were bedded down all day all alone in the middle of nothing….. Hunt like you would Antelope! 90% of people are lazy the other 5% will walk a little giving you all the great animals that you need to walk to if you are in the last 5% that is willing to WORK FOR IT, hunt like it’s a once in a lifetime hunt, because it IS!!!
WHERE TO HUNT: I am willing to share info about the where to hunt more in private email and phone calls. Took me years to learn where to hunt and how to judge these great animals and public forums and blogs are just not the place to talk about it 100% openly, but I am more then willing to attempt to offer the same quality of information I am putting in this article even if we are not going to guide you. This is a once in a lifetime hunt, it is also one of my personal favorite hunts I have ever been on in the US for a great animal!!! I want everyone to have a wonderful time and help you be a 100% harvest hunter for this special once in a lifetime hunt!!!
HOW TO JUDGE: The first oryx hunt I did was with a friend, I have guided elk and mule deer in NM for years so he asked for my help in judging and glassing. I did all the same that you are doing right now, hunting for all the info I could find on oryx and how to judge and pick the right animal. I was able to find limited info at best on judging them so I decided we would be OK and just look for a big one. Well all the stress and confusion affected us just like it will you, we found a big group about 30min into the hunt in a location a friend had told me to hunt. Of the 30 animals 3 were much bigger then the rest, we looked them over picked the biggest bull and shot it. 34” bull in a group of 30 other sub-adult animals, we were MORE then happy with the hunt but we did what so many people do, we rushed with the stress of a once in a lifetime hunt and all the worry about only 2 days to hunt, and just not knowing what we were looking for. If you just half ass work at it you will harvest one, do you need a guide, hard to say but judging is the HARD part but if you know what to wait for, you can kill a monster. I have helped hunters harvest many trophy’s including the #9 all time SCI bull and a 41” cow and a number of other 38 to 40+”cows and some other monster bulls!! Take a deep breath and calm down your going to do fine and harvest a great animal!
BULLS: The mature bulls will polish there horns in the brush, so as a result they will tend to have shinny horns more so then the cows. Bulls tend to have less visible rings on the top of the horn and have rings that are more spaced out and bigger gaps, and like I already said the horns shine in the sun! The bases are going to be 2-5X bigger then a cow this is where you need to be looking. Some of my best bulls have been 36-37 but HUGE mass on the base. Body mass is the second thing to look for. If there are a bunch of animals in a group look for the largest body first THEN look at the horns. Check for polished horns first then at the bases, then compare over all length. This spring I had a client who had never seen an oryx in the field, and was really nervous about the hunt and only 2 days. About 2 hours into the day we glassed up a big group walking in the direction of a road, we drove to cut them off, parked and got out and hid in the bushes and waited. About 15min later they all walked into a big opening, I glassed them all over and told him they were all immature I knew this because the bulls in the group all had dull horns and small bodies. Dull horns does not always mean they are not adult (I have killed adult bulls with dull horns) but all the body sizes in the group were the same, cows and bulls allowing me to make a quick decision not to shoot a bull, so as I pull him back to the truck almost kicking and screaming about only 2 days to hunt a second truck showed up, they asked if we were going to shoot the animals we said no but I told them 5th from the front was the largest in the group but a cow about 34”, they asked if they could harvest a bull from the group, we said no problem they shot the biggest bull in the group that we were looking at, it was a great bull but 30.5”. Later that day we glassed up a small group of adults about a mile into a flat, stalked into 400yds glassed them for 45min to pick the right one, my hunter choose to harvest a huge cow in the group because the animal had great LONG horns and just was a beautiful animal. That 45min got steve in a grove and we shot a 38 3/8” cow at 427yds with a 300 WSM. Remember look for the biggest body then- bases- horns (dull or polished) - over all length of horns, a 40” animal will have horns that almost reach the rump of the animal, but also remember cows for the most part have longer horns.
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COWS: They have longer horns as a rule, and thin horns compared to bulls. Look for tight rings and dull horns compared to the bulls. Mature animals tend to run in groups, don’t let the biggest of the group fool you unless they are all adult animals!!!
GUIDES: I have chosen to include information on guides last. There is a limited number of outfitters and guides who are permitted to guide on the base, if you are hunting with a guide you better be 100% sure he is licensed or you will be blocked from access to the base. You can check with the hunt administrator for a list.
Over the last 5 years I have seen major changes in the oryx hunting on all the bases. I no longer have any of my guided hunters apply for the Red Canyon range hunt. Both RC and SR hunts have gotten very difficult to expect a trophy size animal. The oryx hunt is no longer a road hunt you get lucky now and then, but don’t really expect to shoot a monster bull on the road. If you are looking online for more info and starting talking with guys in chat rooms that have hunted the base, find out what year they hunted, there were some hunts in the last 2 years with harvest rates in the low 60%’s! Guides will help insure you spend the two days in the best areas and help you judge them so you harvest a quality adult animal. If you are looking for nothing but a hammer bull or cow, hire a guide!
Where to stay: They are in order of quality in my opinion!
Socorro for Stallion Range:
Holiday Inn Express 575-838-4600, Best Western 575-838-0556
Super 8 575-835-4626, Days Inn 575-835-0230, Motel 6 575-835-4300
Alamogordo for the Rhodes Canyon: They are in order of quality in my opinion
Holiday Inn Exp 575-434-9773, Hampton Inn 575-439-1782
Comfort Inn 575-434-4200, Quality Inn 575-437-7100, Motel 6 575-434-5970
In Socorro you want to be sure NOT to miss the Brewing Company next to the Burger King and the Holiday Inn Express (best food in town)
In Alamogordo you will have, Chilies, Applebee’s, and Golden Corral all in walking distance of the hotels listed above. There is also the Rocket Buffet if you like Chinese food, (its GREAT) just across the street from sonic.
You want to also be sure to eat at the Buckhorn and or the Owl café in San Antonio on the way to both bases from Albuquerque. They have with out question the best green Chili cheese burgers in the state (I like the buckhorn best).
You have drawn what I think is the best hunt in the western US.
Email anytime or call me for more info on the hunts and where when why of the base! Hope this helps! Chris @ Compass West Outfitters
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Sorry I was in a pissy mood this AM guys, seeing as how the Tigers bullpen blew another game last night and the Spurs lost by 21 in the NBA playoffs. I'll try to play nice the rest of the day, LOL!
congrts on the tag, and congrats on wapiti bobs post. very good.
Thanks wapitiBob......very helpful!
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Have fun on your hunt. Do some google searches on shot placement and rifle caliber, I have heard they don't like to go down easily.