Hunting is a permitted use under the enabling legislation for Valles Caldera National Preserve (Public Law 113-231, Sec. 3043) and can be done in accordance with applicable Federal and State law. The legislation also provides for the designation of zones and periods when no hunting is permitted for reasons of public safety, administration, wildlife management, or public use and enjoyment.
Elk herd at Valles Caldera
Elk herd at Valles Caldera
Elk Hunting
Valles Caldera National Preserve is one of New Mexico's premier elk hunting locations. Between 2,500 and 3,000 elk occupy the preserve for breeding, calving and foraging. Hunts are designed to pay homage to man's oldest relationship with animals by providing the public with a memorable hunting experience. September, October, and November are the best time frames for prescribed fire season. While on your hunt you may encounter smoke, fire crews, fire equipment, road closures and closures to portions of the preserve.
Turkeys at Valles Caldera
Turkeys at Valles Caldera
Turkey Hunting
Merriam Turkeys, one of the three subspecies found in New Mexico, are noted for their striking plumage, wariness and keen eyesight. Turkey hunting, whether with bow or shotgun, can be a challenge for all skill levels. From April thru December, the preserve is home to an estimated 400 Merriam Turkeys.
A recreation map titled Valles Caldera National Preserve 2019 Fall Hunt.  The color coded map showing roads, facilities, trails, and hunting zones.  A key at the bottom with scale defines each feature with independent symbols.
2019 Fall Hunt Map


No Hunting Zones

Hunting is prohibited on Redondo Peak and the front country including Valle Grande, South Mountain, and Rabbit Mountain. Visitors are advised to wear bright colors outside the "No Hunting" zone during hunting season.

How To Apply For Hunts

The elk and turkey hunting lotteries/drawings for the Valles Caldera National Preserve are part of the draw managed by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF). Information on how to apply for the state drawings can be found on the NMDGF website or by calling 1-888-248-6866. The Valles Caldera National Preserve is Unit 6B.

For information about hunt dates, number of licenses available, bag limit, state regulations, etc., please visit the NMDGF website or call 1-888-248-6866.

Information every hunter needs to know


2020 Hunting Dates

NMDGF sets ALL hunting dates, types, limits, residency requirements, etc. For questions about hunting dates, types, limits, residency requirements, etc., please contact NMDGF.

Dates NMDGF Code Method Type Bag Specialty
September 1-14 ELK-2-190 Archery Either Sex 25
September 15-24 ELK-2-191 Archery Either Sex 25
October 10-14 ELK-3-192 Muzzleloader Either Sex 15
October 17-21 ELK-1-193 Any Legal Either Sex 15
October 24-28 ELK-1-194 Any Legal Either Sex 20
October 31-November 4 ELK-1-195 Any Legal Antlerless 30 Youth Only, NM Residents Only
November 7-11 ELK-1-196 Any Legal Antlerless 35 NM Residents Only
November 21-25 ELK-1-197 Any Legal Antlerless 35 NM Residents Only
November 28-December 2 ELK-1-198 Any Legal Antlerless 30 Youth Only, NM Residents Only
December 5-9 ELK-1-199 Any Legal Antlerless 35 NM Residents Only


Last updated: January 24, 2020

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 359
Jemez Springs, NM 87025


(575) 829-4100 x3

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