Big Horn Outfitters offers spot-and-stalk black bear hunts in the Gila and Apache National Forests. We hunt bears from the low, 5,000’ elevation juniper country to the 10,000’ high, pine and fir-covered mountains. We regularly find color phased bears, including cinnamon, blonde, brown, and black. The hibernation period of the bears in our hunting areas is shorter than those of bears further north, allowing the bears more time to grow. As a result, we find huge bears each year – some upwards of 400 pounds!
Glassing is our preferred method of finding bears. Once we find one, we determine if it’s big enough for us to put a stalk on. Electronic calls can be effective when hunting bears and we occasionally use them. It’s hard for a bear to pass up a free meal!
We prefer to harvest only boars, if possible. This is one of the reasons we choose to spot-and-stalk bears rather than use dogs. It allows us to try and determine the sex of a bear before we harvest it. Per the regulations, we won’t harvest a year-old cub or any female accompanied by a cub(s). Going one step further, we won’t harvest an immature bear, whether it’s with a sow or a lone cub.
New Mexico is divided into 14 bear management zones, enabling NMDGF to better manage regional bear populations. Each zone has two harvest limits:
1) the total number of bears that may be harvested (total limit); and
2) the number of female bears that may be harvested (female limit).
Harvest limits for each bear management zone are listed annually in the hunting proclamation. Bear management zones close when harvests reach 90% of the total limit, 90% of the female limit, or when the season has ended—whichever occurs first. The quotas usually fill before December, so it’s best to plan your hunt before then.
Big Horn Outfitters hunts bear in Zone 10, which includes units 15, 16, and 23. The archery-only season runs from September 1 – 24 and any weapon hunts begin September 25 and end December 15.
Bear tags can be obtained over the counter from licensed vendors, from NMDGF offices, over the phone at 1-888-248-6866, or online at www.wildlife.state.nm.us. If planning to hunt within 14 days of online or telephone purchase, hunters may be required to obtain tags at a license vendor or NMDGF office, unless the E-Tag option is chosen. Bear licenses must be purchased at least two calendar days before hunting.
1-on-1 5-day Spot-and-Stalk Black Bear Hunt - $5,250.
2-on-1 5-day Spot-and-Stalk Black Bear Hunt - $4,250 per hunter. (2-on-1 is two hunters and one guide.)