The Hunting Area
The Sacramento Mountains are located in south-central New Mexico and comprise the one of the southernmost ranges of the Rocky Mountains. The Sacramentos rise sharply out of the surrounding high desert creating a unique geographic setting. The elk-inhabited terrain ranges from the desert floor at 5,000 feet to timberline at over 11,000 feet.
Juniper and pinon pine dominate the lower elevations. Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir and Gambel oak are situated in the mid elevations and eventually give way to aspens and spruce at the highest elevations.
The Sacramento Mountains are characterized by deep canyons that have been cut through time. Many of the canyon depths are measured, not in hundreds of feet, but in thousands of feet. The combination of steepness and thickness of vegetation is what makes this country so tough.
|We hunt Game-Management Units 34 and 36 within the Sacramento Mountains. These units straddle the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation. Unit 34 is located south of the reservation and Unit 36 borders it to the north. The New Mexico Game and Fish does an excellent job of managing the numbers of elk in these units regardless of the proximity to the reservation. But, the wildcard is the reservation elk. There is a continuous interchange between “our” elk and “their” elk at all times. But on the whole, the great numbers of elk on the reservation continuously bleed-over into our units. Think of it as natural recharge.|
Several different guiding options are available for you to choose. The first option is 1 on 1. What that means is there is one hunter with one guide. It is offered for archery, muzzleloader and rifle hunts. It provides hunters the best opportunity to harvest a good bull, period. It is, by far, the most popular option with hunters and guides alike.
The second option is 2 on 1. What that means is there is two hunters with one guide. This option is offered only on muzzleloader and rifle hunts. It is not an option for archery hunts. All archery hunts are guided 1 on 1 exclusively. Even on the gun hunts, it is not the best option if both hunters are wanting to kill good bulls. It essentially leaves each hunter only a couple of days each on a 5-day hunt. Being selective gets taken out of the equation too often, especially if the weather turns foul. Also, all hunters wishing to hunt 2 on 1 need to find their own 2 on 1 hunting partner.
Expectations for the Hunt
Every hunter arrives with high expectations for a hunt, as they should. But, there are many factors that affect the outcome of a hunt. The first and foremost factor, outside of weather, that will dictate the “success” of a hunt is physical conditioning. Hunting elk for 5+ days is a grind. Most hunters are so worn down after a couple of days, that they can’t even get into the hunting areas, much less hunt effectively. If this scenario is the case, expecting to kill a good bull will be simply a matter of luck rather than skill.
We make no secrets regarding the physical difficulty of this hunt. Get in the best shape you can possibly be in and you will not only have the endurance to keep hunting, but you will enjoy your experience much more. If you are in shape, you’ll love this hunt, if you’re not, just pray for a first-day shot.
With all that said, what are reasonable expectations? Determining actual shot-opportunity percentages is difficult due to the extreme range of hunting abilities, conditioning, expectations, and hunters not sticking with their minimums (i.e. sliding scales). If you are in good shape, will hold steadfast on your minimum, and will stick with the hunt for the duration, the following shot-opportunity percentages are what any of our guides feel they can produce for a 1 on 1 hunter, any given week, archery, muzzleloader or rifle:
The majority of the Sacramento Mountains guided elk hunts will be conducted out of modern lodging.
Each evening, our expert cooks will serve a wonderful home-cooked meal. Multiple breakfast and lunch options are provided so each hunter can tailor it to their liking.
Air service is available by flying into either Albuquerque, NM or El Paso, TX. Our hunting area is located centrally between the two airports. You will need to rent a vehicle and drive to the lodging location. The drive time is approximately 2 1/2 hours
Choosing a Weapon-Specific Hunt
There are three types of weapon-specific hunts to choose from in the Sacramento Mountains. Archery, muzzleloader and rifle hunts are available in this area.
In addition, there is a super hunt available for youths in the Sacramentos. Youths under 18 years old are eligible to apply for tags through the Draw System for a rifle hunt smack-dab in the middle of the rut. The hunt takes place between the last archery hunt and the muzzleloader hunt, when no other elk season is even open! It’s a wonderful opportunity.
For more information on how the Draw System works “Click Here”. Otherwise, wait till later to look at that and let’s look at the weapon-specific hunts.