Testimonials from Landowners in Rural New Mexico


“If I didn’t have permits to sell I would have to sell my cattle due to three years of drought. We need these permits!”


“My eldest son harvested his first elk this year because of an EPLUS tag. He is determined to continue this sport for as long as he can.” 


“My wife and I are retired and live on a fixed income. The EPLUS tag allows us to harvest an elk to put meat in our freezer for the year.” 


“Three years ago I donated my mature bull tag to a veteran. He and his dad were able to hunt together and got a real nice bull the morning of the first day of the season.”


“As a rancher, we depend on EPLUS to put food on our table and promote elk herds on our private and surrounding forest land.”


“The program allows me to dedicate my land to wildlife habitat. [EPLUS is] the best program to provide habitat for elk.” 


“I think the EPLUS program has done a good job at helping manage the elk population in unit 4. I do not want my property to be overrun by elk.”


“I have a small parcel that qualifies for the EPLUS program. Each year I get a permit. I donate the permit to disabled veterans so they can hunt.”

“I think our New Mexico is herd is too large. Elk eat the best grass in my pastures every year. It is hard for landowners to get or increase the number of EPLUS tags they get to use. I know that if the EPLUS program goes away, landowners’ only solution to the elk problem would be to kill elk. I hope it never comes to that solution.”

“The EPLUS program enables me, as a landowner (through the sale of tags) to be compensated for the damages to my property by elk. The hunters that purchase my tags contribute to our local economy.”

“We basically raise the elk, feed them and water them. It’s nice to get some compensation for the damage that they do.” 

I run a small ranch containing 200 acres on the state road 112 south of Tierra Amarilla, a crossing for elk and deer which ruins my fences but I only get one elk permit. It is not enough to keep with all maintenance and all grass lost due to elk and deer.”

“Every year from early spring to the late fall elk graze our fields, usually from dusk to dawn. Some years the loss from grazing is significant. In 2019 we suffered a loss of just under 300 bales to our annual hay harvest, cost to us$3000. When we receive mature bull tag we are able to recover some of the cost by selling our tag to local outfitters or when we get a cow tag we put meat in the freezer.” 

“My husband is retired and we rely heavily on this food to get us through the year on fixed incomes. We have also helped other families by donating the tag so other families are able to hunt and put food on their tables.”

“The EPLUS program is one if the best options for locals to hunt their home districts and the landowners do a great job of keeping the land in great condition for the elk populations. I strongly believe EPLUS is great the way it is.”

“The EPLUS program is one if the best options for locals to hunt their home districts and the landowners do a great job of keeping the land in great condition for the elk populations. I strongly believe EPLUS is great the way it is.”

“Landowners feed, water, salt, and maintain fences that house the “state’s” elk. We are unable to run livestock to capacity with these elk. If they do away with the EPUS system, what will the state do to compensate for the damages? They have already cut tag numbers in half. We rely on the income generated from tags to offset the loss.”

As a landowner, these E-PLUS tags are godsend because they supplement our income greatly.

As a land owner from out of State, it is an opportunity to visit the family still in NM, which gives us an opportunity to hunt in their area of residence.

Although I am not crazy about some things within the program I think shutting it down would hurt elk hunting in New Mexico in a big way.

purposely exclude cattle or domestic livestock from grazing on my land so that wildlife will have a food source. In return I get one elk permit which I usually give to a nephew or friend to enable them to experience the thrill of hunting and the outdoor experience. I never sell a permit.
As an individual landowner in elk infested area of 6A the little I receive from the sale of my landowner tags has helped repair the constant fencing damage caused by all these elk. Also selling to out of state hunters brings in more revenue to the state.
At Silverwings Ranch the animals I have here are mostly rescued animals. I count on the E-PLUS tag to keep the elk population down on my property so my horses, alpacas and goats can graze on the land. Thank you!
Because there are more elk-proof fences in the area, elk are spending more time, in greater numbers, on my land than in the past. They are eating my alfalfa and grass, so I get less, or no hay.  I have to buy more hay.
Bought ranch from a NM family for our family to enjoy with our friends, strictly as an investment for the hunting and beauty. Traveled many places but northern NM is the best with abundant wildlife.
Brings money and jobs to NM with EPLUS tags. Keep me in business.

E-PLUS helps keep the ranch running.

E-PLUS helps me with the expense for the fixing of the fence and buying grass.

E-PLUS pays for land taxes.

Elk are abundant. Money for permits help repair fences and pay for food for my cattle due to elk.

Elk continuously graze our property. They cause damage to fences and cause overgrazing in our pastures. Because of the elk we have to reduce the number of cattle we can support. The sale of landowner permits to outfitters is the only way we can recoup some of the losses and damage caused by elk. Our other option is depredation. The purpose of the EPLUS is to keep the elk herd at a reasonable level.

EPLUS is so important for me. It provides for me every year.

EPLUS is very important to our family as the tags fill our freezers. We do not sell the tags, we use them for family use only and depend on the meat each year. We don’t eat beef, just what we harvest from our land.
EPLUS participants give hunters more option to hunt with all the pressure on the national forest. EPLUS is a big benefit to hunters being successful on these hunts.
For God’s sake, it’s a renewable resource that benefits ruran NM, benefits the landowner and the elk not to mention the hunting public. So, fiscally, and environmentally, E-plus is a win-win. I have been able to manage my property to the benefit of wildlife!
Have a say so who hunts on our property.

Helps me supplement my social security income which helps a lot with my bills.

provide habitat, feed and water to elk and deer on my land, which supports fish and game management. In turn, the E-PLUS program supports me as a landowner.

I am 76. Never got an opportunity to hunt elk. We purchased 42 acres a few years ago and were awarded a cow tag this year. I was thrilled to harvest an elk cow. She is in the deep freeze and we are enjoying eating the meat.

I am 82. The E-PLUS tag helps to offset the expense of taxes and insurance on my cabin and improvements on my land.

I am an 80 year old on a fixed income, and depend on my E-PLUS permit to keep my water well and pump in operable condition for water for all wildlife.

I have donated tags for serving military vets every year. This allows our veterans an opportunity to enjoy our big game.

I have had this property many years. I have enjoyed and shared E-PLUS with friends and family. It would be a chance to use it. You have my support.

I have not drawn an elk tag in over five years but have used the one tag that I get from EPLUS program to get a elk for meat. I also use the deer tags to provide youth hunters that can’t draw to hunt on my land. Keep the program.

I like to go hunting every year with my grandson and now that I am older they take me. We use the meat for food. I want to save E-PLUS.

I need the money from bull tags and the rest from cow tags.

I need the permits, which I don’t get yearly ….  The elk come out of the forest and jump and destroy my fences I spent a lot of time and money installing. They are trying to get to irrigated meadows up here ….  Lots of irrigated meadows up this way.

I only get one every so often. We share the tag with the kids. When we draw we have a rotating system among the grandchildren. We all go out and for five days stay at my cabin and have fun. I wish I could draw every year but thankful when I do. My family needs this tag. Not for sale.


“On average, elk eat 3% of their body weight per day, so 50 elk, weighing on average 800 lbs, consume 12,000 lb of forage per day or 36,000 lbs of forage per month. 36,000 lbs of forage is enough to sustain 33 head of cattle in the same period of time. In the absence of elk, we could increase the number of cattle on our property. Instead, we lease additional pasture. Elk periodically knock down fences while moving across property lines. Broken fences lead to unaccounted cattle, and ultimately lost income. We are not making a profit from the EPLUS program, it provides part of the budget for operating expenses and is crucial for the family ranching operation.” 

High Country Ranch, a 12,600 acre property close to Hopewell Lake in Rio Arriba County is a beneficiary of the EPLUS program. The ranch has been under the same ownership for 55 years and a third generation is now beginning to steward the property.  Having been purchased in 1966, the Ranch no longer carries any debt. The Ranch derives its income from cattle grazing, hay production and the sale hunting tags from the EPLUS program with the last contributing 82% of total revenues in 2021. These three income sources cover the Ranch expenses, leaving only a very modest profit.  Prior to EPLUS, the Ranch relied on cattle to pay the bills. In 1998, approximately 900 cows grazed on High Country during the summer months in spite of the fact that the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) estimates the carrying capacity of the property to be 350 cattle during those months. At that time, the landscape resembled a golf green. Not a tall blade of grass could be found anywhere. Streambanks were degraded by cattle and all the riparian vegetation had been destroyed. With EPLUS helping to pay most of the expenses since 2000, cattle numbers have been reduced to the level recommended by the NRCS, grazing has been curtailed in riparian zones and the land has been returned to its natural, verdant condition.  It is important to note that the NRCS recommended carrying capacity takes into account the impact of elk on the property. In the summer and fall, the resident elk herd numbers approximately 300 animals. During the hunting seasons, this number increases due to ATV use and hunter pressure on the surrounding public lands. This number of elk greatly reduces the opportunities to increase income from cattle production on the Ranch.  Without the EPLUS income, cattle grazing and hay production would cover only about a fifth of the Ranch’s operating expenses. The owners would hard pressed to stay in the ranching business. A likely outcome might be that the Ranch would be fragmented and sold.  We therefore strongly recommend a continuation of the EPLUS program.

Download more testimonials from New Mexicans who depend on EPLUS.

Herd of elk on private land in Mora County, New Mexico. GMU 46