Do you want to hunt a Persian ibex but don't want to travel to a sketchy middle-eastern country to hunt them? If so, then New Mexico is the answer! Persian ibex were imported from Iran and released in 1970 in the rugged Florida Mountains in the southern part of the state. The first hunt took place in 1974 and today the Floridas have a thriving population. Hunting in the Floridas is, in our opinion, one of the most exciting hunts in all of New Mexico. It’s both challenging and rewarding, and a unique experience unlike any other in the lower 48 states. It is the only place you can hunt free-ranging ibex in the US!
Glassing is the name of the game when hunting ibex. Once a good billy is found, we get as close as we can get and determine if the ibex is in a place where we can recover it after the shot. If recovery isn’t possible, we wait until the ibex is in a place where it’s possible. It’s a game of cat-and-mouse that tests a hunter’s physical and mental capabilities.
Hunters need to be prepared to shoot out to 500 yards at steep angles. The further you can shoot accurately, the better the odds will be that you will harvest a monster billy. We recommend you practice shooting at distances out to 500 yards and at as steep of an angle as you can. Modern rangefinders are able to calculate the proper distance factoring for the angle, so buy one and use it during your shooting practice.
Archery hunts begin in early October, and the late hunt beings the second half of January. These archery hunts have good odds of drawing. Hunting ibex with archery equipment is an incredible experience, but this is not for the faint of heart and should not be taken lightly. Applicants should be aware that the success rates on these hunts have been under 10% for many years. The rugged terrain and the sharp eyes of the ibex make for tough hunting conditions. Because of these challenges, very few trophies in North America rival an archery-killed New Mexico ibex.
The once-in-a-lifetime, any weapon hunt is the crown jewel of New Mexico ibex hunts. The hunt starts in the middle of November and runs for 15 days. Only 25 tags are issued, so competition from other hunters is at a minimum. This hunt is the best opportunity to shoot the billy of a lifetime. The odds of drawing a tag are low, so we suggest applying every year until you draw.
Muzzleloader hunts start around the first of December. Modern muzzleloaders have made this hunt less difficult, but it’s still a challenge. If you plan on hunting ibex with a smoke-pole, we suggest you use one of the new muzzleloaders that can shoot out to 500 yards effectively. We recommend the Gunwerks Muzzleloader System. It’s the only muzzleloader we know of that shoots 1 MOA out of the box. The Remington 700 Ultimate Muzzleloader and the CVA Paramount are also good options at a lower price. We have muzzleloaders that are ready to shoot out to 500 yards that you can rent if you don’t have one.
New Mexico has also set-aside specific ibex tags for youth hunters. These hunts take place after Christmas through the first part of January. We recommend putting your kids in for this hunt. This may be their best chance at drawing a New Mexico ibex tag.
Over-the-counter, statewide tags are also available for every area except the Florida Mountains. Some of the ibex from the Floridas have migrated to the surrounding areas and that's where we focus our efforts on these hunts. The over-the-counter hunts are generally not trophy hunts, although occasionally a nice billy is found. The success rate is low, but if you hunt hard you have a chance at shooting one. This hunt is better suited for the non-trophy hunter. Contact us before you decide to apply for this hunt so we can discuss the particulars with you.
Licenses are obtained through the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish draw or by purchasing a Governor's Tag. The application period to draw a tag opens mid-January and closes mid-March. Be sure and apply with us through the Outfitter Draw for the best opportunity to draw a tag.
1-on-1 5-day Ibex Hunt - $6,500.
Additional Spotter - $500 per day.
Governor's Tag Hunts - Big Horn Outfitters will put together a hunt package specifically for Governor's Tag holders upon the tag holder's request. Contact us for more info.