New Mexico is unique in that it is the only state that offers free-range oryx hunts. Between 1969-1977, a total of 95 oryx were released on White Sands Missile Range and the surrounding areas of southern, New Mexico. Since then, the population has exploded to the point that hunts are now offered 10 months out of the year: June - March. This offers hunters a great opportunity to hunt big game during the much-dreaded hunting off-season.
Oryx are great trophy animals and are challenging to hunt. This is a classic safari-style spot-and-stalk, tracking hunt. A mature bull's horn length will typically be over 32" and the ridges on the lower part of their horns are fully developed. We've killed many bulls over 35" and a couple reaching 40". The cows will often have longer horns than the bulls, however, they lack the mass and character of an old bull. Oryx tags are either sex and some hunters prefer to shoot a cow because of their horn length, others like the character of an old bull - the choice is yours.
The areas we hunt consist of flat desert plains, rolling hills, and intermittent canyons. Despite the open terrain they inhabit, oryx have the ability to disappear in the wide-open. Their light grey coat perfectly matches the surrounding vegetation, making glassing with quality optics crucial to a successful hunt.
On-Range Oryx Hunts
The White Sands Missile Range hunts are once in a lifetime unless a hunter applies for a broken horn on-range hunt. The range has a large population of oryx, including many trophy bulls. We hunt Rhodes Canyon, Stallion Range, and Small Missile Range. There are pros and cons to hunting on-range. Generally speaking, the trophy quality is a little better on-range and you might see more mature bulls. However, the hunt is overseen by the New Mexico Game and Fish Department and the US Military and they can micro-manage the hunts. Additionally, you are competing with every other hunter in the area trying to kill the same oryx you are - it can get frustrating. Overall, it's a great hunt, but it does have its challenges. We do recommend applying for on-range hunts, but also offer off-range hunts that are a great alternative if you don't draw a range tag. On-range hunts are 3 days long, by regulation.
Off-Range Oryx Hunts
Most hunters think you have to hunt on-range to shoot a trophy oryx - but that's not the case. We have killed more oryx off-range than on-range, and the trophy quality has been great. One bonus to applying for an off-range tag is that the odds of drawing are far greater than drawing an on-range tag. Additionally, we've had 100% shot opportunity off-range and only two hunters that didn't harvest an oryx (both missed multiple times). The hunt is a little more challenging than on-range, but overall, we prefer off-range hunts. On-range hunts can become a drive-by shooting event because you're competing with other hunters in a specific area for the same bulls. Rarely do we see other hunters on public land, and there are enough places to hunt that it's not a problem. Public land hunts are conducted on state or BLM lands. Private land hunts are conducted on land that we have access agreements to. Off-range hunts are one-month long, by regulation, and we offer 5-day hunts.
Licenses for on-range and off-range public land hunts are obtained through the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish draw, by purchasing a private-land only oryx license and tag, 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. Off-range private land tags are sold over the counter but require access to private land to hunt.
1-on-1 3-day On-Range Oryx Hunt - $4,000.
2-on-1 3-day On-Range Oryx Hunt - $3,300 per hunter. (2-on-1 is two hunters and one guide.)
1-on-1 5-day Off-Range Oryx Hunt - $6,500.
2-on-1 5-day Off-Range Oryx Hunt - $5,500 per hunter. (2-on-1 is two hunters and one guide.)
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.