New Mexico Deer:  An estimated population of 100,000 deer in 2015 and 2016.  About 92,000 in 2013, down from about 200,000 in 1999.  Drought in 2018 is likely to reduce the population.  Herd analysis at right.  Historic hunting data and news archive.

New Mexico Deer News

New deer and elk hunt rules considered in New Mexico July 23, 2018
Ruidoso News
... Department officials are seeking public comments on proposed revisions to the deer, elk, and elk private lands use system ... proposal available here ... Comments should be received before the November 15, 2018 Game Commission Meeting...

... extreme variations in antler shape, along with abnormal protrusions that appear in every direction," ... Elk and deer with these abnormalities in their headgear are said to have 'nontypical' antlers."  The most common cause is tied to a damaged pedicle or base where the antlers grow..

... two of the deer being raised at the facility are twin brothers whose mother died during birth near Red River.  The third fawn, a female, the wildlife center believes was mistakenly taken near Raton by someone who thought the fawn was abandoned by its mother...

Officials work to ensure wildlife have water during drought June 26, 2018 New Mexico, The Santa Fe New Mexican
... the Arizona Elk Society have hauled about 100,000 gallons to 78 water catchments since February just in the Flagstaff area ... Our goal is to have available water no greater than 2 to 3 miles apart ..,

...  During the eighth century, a new kind of civilization arose in New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon ...  As the population grew, people cleared nearby forests to plant corn. It seemed like a good idea until Chacoans belatedly realized that the forests were home to the deer whose meat and hides they prized. Just as the deer supply began to dwindle, a drought hit in the 1100s, devastating crops...

New wildlife area added April 5, 2018 New Mexico, Valley Courier
... In San Luis Valley, a new state wildlife area now protects 17,019 acres  ... The property’s hilly shrublands provide important winter range for mule deer, pronghorn and Rocky Mountain elk herds that move from higher elevations to the valley floor in winter months...

Five years later — more than a monument March 31, 2018 New Mexico, Santa Fe New Mexican
... Río Grande del Norte National Monument ... provides important habitat for Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, black bear and cougar. It serves as an important wildlife corridor ...
... In the 2017 case, New Mexico Department of Game & Fish v. United States Department of the Interior, the United States Court of Appeals for thebTenth Circuit held that the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (“New Mexico Department”) was not entitled to a preliminary injunction that barred the United States Fish and Wildlife Service from releasing endangered Mexican gray wolves into the wild on federal lands within New Mexico...

New Mexico Mule Deer Hunt Raffle March 26, 2018 Sporting Classics Daily
... proceeds raised from the raffle of this tag will be used for deer management and conservation within the state of New Mexico...

...  a large section of red in the Four Corners, as well as other portions of New Mexico, indicating extreme-to-exceptional drought conditions... The deer and elk are going to start foraging on mountainous shrubs or ornamental shrubs ..,

... The Habitat Stamp Program is a partnership between the state and federal wildlife agencies, including the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service, to enhance wildlife habitat... projects rejuvenate deer forage or reduce dense vegetation in desert bighorn sheep habitat through prescribed fire...

... multiple deer and elk were killed and their bodies left to rot...  bull elk had an arrow in its neck and both antlers were broken off ... deer was shot and killed with its head removed and meat left to waste... 

Demographics of mule deer puma prey in south-central New Mexico  TW Perry, NT Vogt, Department of Biology, Furman University, Greenville, SC 
...Our data suggest that pumas select mid to late age classes (specifically 6 year olds) disproportionately to their availability (χ2 = 62.745, d.f. = 10, P <0.001). This trend is supported by the data of Logan and Sweanor (χ2 = 515.92, d.f. = 10, P < 0.001). Pumas have a dramatically reduced impact on deer population growth as a result of selecting age classes with lower reproductive value. Understanding the prey selectivity of pumas gives insight into their effects on prey population dynamics and should be considered by game managers...

Mule Deer Impacted by Development on Public Lands December 13, 2017 New Mexico, New Mexico Wildlife Federation
... energy development has caused a decrease in muleys across the West. The main reason for this decline is severe habitat fragmentation and a general loss of habitat quality...

Game and Fish officers help untangle deer caught in fence - December 6, 2017


Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awards grants to help enhance elk habitat  in New Mexico November 7, 2017 Silver City Sun-News
...  “Nearly a third of our projects this year focus on improving water sources for elk and other wildlife.” ... 

NMSU professor leads wildlife research effort in Jemez Mountains September 9, 2017 New Mexico, Las Cruces Sun-News
... Because of decades of fire suppression ... forests have become overgrown, so the canopy is really dense ... prevents sunlight from reaching the floor, which results in essentially no forage or vegetation growing underneath the canopy... an impact for wildlife that utilize forage on the forest floor, it also results in increased fire danger... looking at how the vegetation responds to the thinning and prescribed burns, and then how the herbivores respond ...

Hey hunters, don't vote against protecting public lands August 23, 2017 New Mexico, High Country News
... It means that if we value the mule deer that summer in the South San Juans, we must value every bit as much, the sage flats east of San Antonio Mountain that carry them through the winter.  And it means that we must rely on data wherever that data may take us. Even if it flies in the face of our expectations...

... The funds, which are provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, give support for a diverse array of species and habitats across the country.  The Pueblo of Tesuque will receive $199,754 for mule deer management and the habitat enhancement program...

Zinke Supports Opening Access to New Mexico Wilderness Site August 9, 2017 New Mexico,  U.S. News & World Report
...  the 16,000-acre ... Sabinoso Wilderness is surrounded by private property. It is home to rugged canyons, mesas topped with pinon and juniper trees and wildlife that include deer, elk, mountain lions and turkey...

New wolf plan angers both sides July 22, 2017 New Mexico, Albuquerque Journal
... endangered Mexican gray wolf ... The plan gives ultimate authority to New Mexico and Arizona to “determine the timing, location and circumstances of releases of wolves into the wild within their respective states.” ...

The elk herd returns to Ruidoso July 19, 2017 New Mexico, Ruidoso News
... Rocky Mountain elk  ...  “Although a private ranch started the reintroduction, Territorial Game Warden Thomas Gable made the first public releases in 1911, distributing 12 animals to three spots in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains,”... Reintroduction was necessary because of relentless hunting pressure late in the 19th Century..,

Officials warn against picking up young ones July 10, 2017 New Mexico, Silver City Daily Press and Independent
... July and August are when 90 percent of baby deer are born ... Wildlife leave their babies for hours on end. Fawn are born without scent and they are camouflaged. They need to be left alone.” ...

'Land that time forgot' [border wall] April 30, 2017 New Mexico, Albuquerque Journal
... a border wall ... Wildlife experts say a physical barrier  ....could devastate both plant and animal life by reducing or isolating habitats, blocking migration routes ... A subspecies of white-tailed deer, Coues aren’t endangered but their habitat is limited to parts of New Mexico and Arizona, stretching into Mexico...

Poaching becomes felony in New Mexico April 17, 2017 The Spokesman-Review 
... legislation elevating the wasting of game from a misdemeanor to a felony ... poaching an elk, antelope, bighorn sheep, deer ...

Study of mammals in Jemez gets funding February 22,2017 New Mexico, Albuquerque Journal
... We are conducting a project to assess the responses of mule deer, elk, and black bears to large-scale forest restoration treatments and recent wildfires on lands managed by the Valles Caldera National Preserve and Santa Fe National Forest ...

Government and industry join to study mule deer December 24, 2016 New Mexico, Farmington Daily Times
...Scientists from Western Ecosystems Technology, Inc., or WEST, an environmental and statistical consulting service, are spearheading the ongoing study, which examines how oil and gas operations affect the mule deer population in the Rosa, N.M., area ...

... drove about 300 miles and shot three deer in three separate counties. Authorities say one was shot with a crossbow in downtown Cimarron ...

Chronic wasting disease found in McGregor Range deer  September 19, 2016 New Mexico,  New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
     Five deer harvested in the McGregor Range area of southern New Mexico during the 2015-16 hunting season have tested positive for chronic wasting disease, the Department of Game and Fish announced. Hunters who harvested those deer have been notified of the test results. Forty hunters who drew licenses for 2016-17 hunts on the range will be notified and advised of procedures to present their harvested deer for testing.  First discovered in New Mexico in 2002 ... 

Ruidoso, Deer and elk pose traffic risk September 8, 2016 New Mexico, Ruidoso News
... prospect of a municipal ordinance to ban feeding of wildlife, specifically elk and deer, aimed at protecting the animals and lowering the number of traffic accidents ...  past attempts have failed to muster support on the council ... deer becoming domesticated in the village ...

Epizootic hemmorrhagic disease in Mule deer September 4, 2016 New Mexico, Carlsbad Current-Argus
... EHD is a viral disease and most common in whitetail deer but has been reported in mule deer as well. It’s transmitted by biting midges ... There is not much that can be done to control the disease without controlling the insect vectors.  Eddy County vector control is very good at what they do and have expanded their control efforts to meet this challenge ...

... Does typically increased movement rate, probability of activity, and likelihood of being out of their seasonal home range as their dates of conception approached... about half of the females made an excursion and temporarily left their home ranges around their conception dates... read the research [PDF]

Disease is killing mule deer in New Mexico August 31, 2016 New Mexico, KRQE News 13
... spreading in New Mexico.  Epizootic hemorrhagic disease ... EHD, the disease can cause breathing problems, fever and swelling of the eyes, neck and tongue for mule deer and in many cases leads to death.  “It can kill them within 10 to 15 days ...

Biologists caution against moving deer during fawning July 23, 2016 New Mexico, Silver City Daily Press and Independent
... a baby deer left alone is actually safer, and is very rarely abandoned... The mother has a very strong smell after she’s given birth ... she purposefully stays away, because a predator can find her but she can run from that predator a lot better than the little fawn. So the baby has this instinct to stay down on the ground and not move ...

...  It’s now up to a federal judge ...

Furry friends spotted on wildlife bridge May 4, 2016 New Mexico, Tucson Local Media
...  the wildlife connectivity bridge and underpass spanning North Oracle Road just outside Oro Valley town limits has experienced a variety of animals making use of the new features. The Sonoran Desert’s first wildlife bridge [see video below of mule deer using the bridge]


Rewards paid to catch New Mexico poachers April 23, 2016 New Mexico, KRQE News 13
... Operation Game Thief, in short, is the “Crime Stoppers for wildlife.” ... Antelope tips are $350. The reward increases to $500 for deer and oryx. Tips involving prosecutions related to elk and bighorn sheep are up to $750...

Silver City, Town manager says no hunting in city limits March 9, 2016 New Mexico, Silver City Sun-News
... “It’s within the Game and Fish Department’s purview to recommend hunts, but within the Silver City town limits it is against the law,” Brown said. “That is within our purview.” ...

Silver City, Game and Fish continues deer population management March 7, 2016 New Mexico, Silver City Sun-News
... In 2012, they managed to trap only six deer, but in 2013, that number shot up to 110,” Matthews said. “It is a lot of work, you need at least one person per deer.” The deer are hooded and their legs are tied so they can be safely transported during relocation. “So you wind up having to have 20-25 people there if you have 20-25 deer. It’s pretty labor intensive.” ...

... This year’s annual count found just 97 Mexican wolves in the wild ... allow for killing wolves in response to “unacceptable impacts” to deer and elk. None of the new provisions were used this year ... press relase from FWS about Mexican wolf recovery ...

New Mexico data: In 2016 about 1.3 percent of the total deer hunt of about 11,000 were does.  The 2018 drought is expected to reduce the population.  An estimated 80,000 to 100,000 mule deer in 2015, a total deer population of about 100,000 including 10,000 to 15,000 Coues deer and other whitetails.  The population was about the same, 100,000, in 2016 based on the deer hunt.  Drought in 2018.  About 80,000 mule deer and 12,000 Coues deer in 2013.  Some white-tails in the river bottoms and along the Texas border, Coues white-tails are mostly in the southwest.  About 200,000 deer in 1999  Persistent drought beginning in the winter of 2010-11 reduced populations.   Reduced license sales are expected in 2015 as a result of the declining deer population.  In 2014, 39,314 licenses sold with a 26 percent success rate.  Hunting Statistics  Hunter success was 25 percent in 2013.  An estimated 36,000 elk hunters, 27,000 deer hunters in 2015.
     Habitat loss and over hunting pushed the population down to its low of about 40,000 in the early 1900's.  In 1894 New Mexico began to restrict the taking of wild game. In 1894 the deer season was reduced to six months and banned killing deer for hides. In 1899 the hunting limit was set at one buck but no does. In 1931 a doe harvest is reinstated to control some populations, the doe harvest is increased in 1953. The population peaked at 301,000 or more in the 1960's.  Doe hunts were generally ended in 1983.   In 2013 only 124 were taken compared to 8509 bucks. A three point or better antler restriction was imposed in 2004, currently requires forked antler.  Hunter success usually around 30 percent. Historical information from:  Mule Deer in New Mexico [PDF]  Mule Deer of New Mexico [PDF]
   Chronic Wasting Disease was first discovered in New Mexico in 2002, in the southern hunting region, five deer from the region tested positive in 2016.
   Elk were hunted to extinction in the late 19th century.  A private ranch started a reintroduction in 1911.
   Cougars An estimated 3,000 to 4,500 cougars (mountain lions) in the state in 2015.  
   Bears  An estimated 5,000 to 7,000 bears.

Report Poaching:  People can report poaching anonymously to Operation Game Thief at 800-432-GAME or by filling out an online form 

Other useful links:
New Mexico Wildlife Federation (NMWF) is a nonprofit organization of sportsmen and women dedicated to protecting New Mexico’s wildlife, public lands ...
- New Mexico Game and Fish News Releases

Deer in Angel Fire