News Release

Fall Elk Hunts Increase at Valles Caldera

A large herd of elk emerge from a forest and stand in a grassland.
Elk moving from a ponderosa pine forest out into one of the park's large valles.

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News Release Date: November 7, 2022

Contact: Dave Krueger, 505-412-0826

Jemez Springs, NM – Starting in 2023, fall elk hunt licenses for Valles Caldera National Preserve (Unit 6B) will increase from 265 to 350 tags —a 32% increase from the current 2022 season and a 67% increase since the National Park Service begin managing the park unit in 2015. The New Mexico State Game Commission approved this change at a recent meeting. The additional 85 elk tags are for antlerless hunts, open only to New Mexico residents.

“Valles Caldera offers a truly one-of-a-kind hunting experience. This change will provide more New Mexicans with the opportunity to put meat in their freezers and will help us better maintain a healthy elk population in the Jemez Mountains,” said Superintendent Jorge Silva-Bañuelos.

While Valles Caldera is the only national park unit in the state where hunting is authorized, it is just one of 66 park units across the country that permits recreational hunting. Over 51 million acres managed by the National Park Service are open to hunting at various times during the year, representing approximately 60% of the total acreage of the National Park System.

Learn more about hunting in Valles Caldera at For information about hunting in New Mexico, visit

Valles Caldera National Preserve | About 1.25 million years ago, a spectacular volcanic eruption created the 13-mile wide circular depression now known as Valles Caldera. The preserve is known for its huge mountain meadows, abundant wildlife, and meandering streams. The area also preserves the homeland of ancestral native peoples and embraces a rich ranching history. Visit us at

National Park Service | More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 420+ national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at

Last updated: November 7, 2022

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