Ranch-only Authorizations

Ranches participating in the EPLUS system can have a status of “Ranch-Only (RO)” or “Unit-Wide (UW).”

Ranch-only authorizations allow the authorization holder to purchase an elk hunting license valid only on the ranch where they acquired the ranch-only authorization (or another qualifying EPLUS ranch; this is also RO, with written permission).

Unit-wide authorizations allow the authorization holder to purchase an elk hunting license valid for any public land in the corresponding GMU.

ranch-only authorization in the Primary Zone allows a hunter to buy a ranch-only private-land elk license. Ranch-only hunters are restricted to the private land within the boundaries of the ranch.

Ranch-only exceptions: In the Secondary Zone, Special Zone, and in GMUs 4 and 5A, ranch-only hunters are allowed to hunt on other private lands within the same Zone and GMU with written permission from the landowner.

with these exceptions:

  1. All ranches in the Special Management Zone (SPZ) enrolled in EPLUS are ranch-only and transferrable to other private lands within the specified GMU with written landowner permission1,2
  2. EPLUS ranches in the Primary Management Zone (PMZ) are considered unit-wide unless the Authorized Ranch Contact3(ARC) requests a ranch-only status4

Ranch-only private land authorizations allow hunters to purchase an elk license only valid on the designated ranch5

The distributions of EPLUS Ranch-Only (RO) authorizations to base allocation ranches are shown here for the Primary Management Zone (PMZ), Special Management Zone (SPZ), and Secondary Management Zone6 (SMZ).  Base Allocation Ranches (“BASE”) receive a specific number of authorizations per year (as long as NMDGF continues to score their elk habitat high).  In the PMZ and SMZ, most base-allocation ranches received two ranch-only authorizations. whereas in the SPZ, the majority of ranches received one authorization.  On average, the number of authorizations per ranch was highest in the SPZ, with some large ranches receiving commensurably high numbers of authorizations.

Here is the distribution of EPLUS Ranch-Only (RO) authorizations to ranches in the “Small Contributing Ranch (SCR)” class. SCR ranches do not receive authorizations each year. Instead, they are selected from a pool of other SCR ranches in a random draw each year (as long as NMDGF continues to score their elk habitat high). In 2022, the majority of these ranches received one RO authorization.  The concept of a ranch-only authorization on a small ranch only makes sense in areas where elk will be present on that small contributing ranch during hunting season and daylight hours when hunting is legal.

Footnotes and References

  1. Written permission requirements for access on private property will follow the provisions found in 19.31.10 NMAC.
  2. 19.30.5.9.D.3.  EPLUS Rule available at downloadable PDF https://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/download/hunting/maps/e-plus/Important/EPLUS-2018-Rule-Language-19_30_5-NMAC.pdf
  3. NMAC 19.30.5.7.D. “Authorized Ranch Contact” or “ARC” shall mean the person designated in writing by the landowner(s) to act as the liaison between the ranch and the department. ARC is responsible for acting in the landowner(s) best interest and has the authority to sign an elk private lands use system agreement and receive authorization statements. All persons listed on the recorded deed(s) must sign and notarize an authorization of ranch contact form provided by the department authorizing the same individual as the authorized ranch contact.
  4. NMAC 19.30.5.8.D(6)(a)  EPLUS Rule available at downloadable PDF https://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/download/hunting/maps/e-plus/Important/EPLUS-2018-Rule-Language-19_30_5-NMAC.pdf
  5. NMAC 19.30.5.7.X.  EPLUS Rule available at downloadable PDF https://www.wildlife.state.nm.us/download/hunting/maps/e-plus/Important/EPLUS-2018-Rule-Language-19_30_5-NMAC.pdf
  6. The data we requested from the NMDGF via a New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) request listed the authorizations shown here to ranches in the SMZ.  Currently, ranches in the SMZ are not granted authorizations but can allow hunters to purchase an over-the-counter private land elk hunting license.  These are unlimited in the SMZ. See the NMDGF webpage.