NEW MEXICO SHEEP ODDS FROM '21
| Nov. 29, 2020

If you are hoping to hunt bighorn sheep in the lower 48, you have no choice but to tolerate some extremely difficult draw odds. Here are how the the numbers ended up for New Mexico sheep in 2021:

'21 Draw Odds
Hunt CodeHunt Type'21 Resident Odds'21 Nonres. Odds'21 Outfitter Odds
BHS-1-201Ram - Rocky Mtn.0.32%0.06%0.14%
BHS-1-204Ram - Desert0.40%0.05%0.09%
BHS-1-202Ewe - Rocky Mtn.1.5%2.3%14%
BHS-2-203Ewe - Rocky Mtn.2.6%2.86%2.86%
'21 Total Tags Issued
Hunt CodeHunt Type'21 Tags Res.'21 Tags Nonres.'21 Tags OutfitterTotal
BHS-1-201Ram - Rocky Mtn.221326
BHS-1-204Ram - Desert211224
BHS-1-202Ewe - Rocky Mtn.352441
BHS-2-203Ewe - Rocky Mtn.161017

The drawing for sheep in New Mexico is a bit unique in that there is a single hunt code for Bighorn rams (BHS-1-201), a single hunt code for Desert rams (BHS-1-204) and one each for the Ewe hunts (BHS-1-202 & BHS-2-203). And then within each of these hunt codes you are allowed to choose up to 3 specific sheep hunting areas. So if you are lucky enough to be drawn, they will then look at the specific areas on your application, in order, to see if any remaining tags are available in the areas you applied for.

We requested and were able to obtain the applicant area choice information from the New Mexico Game and Fish Department. Here is how applicants used their area choices in 2021:

2021 Bighorn Applications By Area
Area 1st Choice 2nd Choice 3rd Choice Total
Units 49, 50, 53 west of NM 522 (Rio Grande Gorge) Aug 10-242549153117945874
Unit 45 (Pecos) Aug 6-152640143710145091
Unit 53, south of NM 38 and east of NM 522 (Wheeler Peak) Aug 6-152072140412254701
Unit 45 (Pecos) Aug 20-29.409200512203634
Units 49, 50, 53 west of NM 522 (Rio Grande Gorge) Sep 1-15544169213253561
Units 16B, 22, 23, 24 (San Francisco River/Turkey Creek) Jan 1-31, 2022.16043558782837
Unit 53, south of NM 38 and east of NM 522 (Wheeler Peak) Sep 1-1037711466002123
Unit 58 (Dry Cimarron) Aug 15-Jan 15, 2022.4224396241485
Unit 53, north of NM 38 and east of NM 522; 55 south of NM 196/FS Rd 1950 (Latir) Aug 6-152144504971161
Unit 45 (Pecos) Youth Only; Aug 20-2955826132716
Unit 53, north of NM 38 and east of NM 522; 55 south of NM 196/FS Rd 1950 (Latir) Aug 20-29.59177410646
Unit 55A (Culebras) Aug 15 - Jan 15, 202279179316574

2021 Desert Bighorn Applications By Area
Area 1st Choice 2nd Choice 3rd Choice Total
Units 13, 17 (Ladrones) Dec 1-3138336787645275
Unit 19 (San Andres) Dec 14-21.151720139314461
Unit 27 (Peloncillos) Nov 1-301071109821124281
Unit 20, south of NM 51 (Caballos) Nov 16-301498100911873694
Unit 26 (Hatchets) Oct 1-15115513639283446
Unit 20, south of NM 51 (Caballos) Dec 1-15385153211453062
Unit 19 (San Andres) Dec 27, 2021-Jan 3, 2022.371132110012693
Unit 26 (Hatchets) Oct 16-31240101910282287
Unit 20, north of NM 51 (Fra Cristobal) Oct 8-172672606061133
Unit 20, north of NM 51 (Fra Cristobal) Nov 19-28, Youth Only.48822125635

2021 Ewe (Bighorn, Rifle) Applications By Area
Area 1st Choice 2nd Choice 3rd Choice Total
Units 49, 50, 53 west of NM 522 (Rio Grande Gorge) Oct 9-178795956912165
Units 49, 50, 53 west of NM 522 (Rio Grande Gorge) Dec 11-195048435211868
Unit 45 (Pecos) Sep 18-229852434861714
Unit 45 (Pecos) Oct 2-62978695341700
Units 49, 50, 53 west of NM 522 (Rio Grande Gorge) Youth Only; Nov 13-211526820240
Unit 45 (Pecos) Youth Only; Oct 2-6986517180

2021 Ewe (Bighorn, Archery) Applications By Area
Area 1st Choice 2nd Choice 3rd Choice Total
Units 49, 50, 53 west of NM 522 (Rio Grande Gorge) Sep 16-30404331-735
Unit 45 (Pecos) Sep 3-12363309-672

Part of the reason we obtain the area information details is that it allows us to look closer to see if your choice of areas per hunt code had any material impact on your overall draw odds. For nonresidents and outfitters the answer is mostly no. Unfortunately with so few tags available in the nonresident and outfitter pools you've generally won or lost the battle before area choices become any factor. But you should still be sure to use all of your 3 area choices per hunt code when you apply.

But for residents it did make a very slight but noticeable difference. In every simulated draw that we ran there would be a handful of resident apps pulled - with ram tags still left to give somewhere - that would be unsuccessful because the area choices they specified were all of higher demand. As always, residents should make their 3rd area choice per hunt code a reasonable one (ie less popular) to avoid this scenario. It may well be the difference between getting a chance to harvest a ram in your lifetime - and not.

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