Specialized New Mexico outfitters offer a few different ways for you to hunt Mountain Lion in the pristine natural setting of wild New Mexico. The most popular hunts in New Mexico are done on horseback with hounds through the Gila Wilderness. Anyone wanting to experience a spectacular scenic hunt through the first Wilderness Area in America should definitely do this hunt. New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness Area was designated the first Wilderness Area for good reason. It has some of the most spectacular scenery of anywhere on earth.
The New Mexico mountain peaks reach elevations over 10,000 feet, with canyons that you can gaze into – nearly 1,000 feet straight down. The Gila Wilderness has three major river systems with multiple trout-filled creeks feeding each of them. A New Mexico Mountain Lion hunt from horseback will provide you with miles of scenic beauty that very few will ever have the opportunity to see. Mature male Mountain Lions typically weigh 150 to 200 lbs and can grow up to 10 feet in length.
Additionally, many New Mexico guides offer a Mountain Lion hunt for those of you who prefer not to ride a horse. This hunt is done from either trucks or ATVs driving through Mountain Lion country. Often during the winter months in New Mexico, they get supple amounts of snow. On this Mountain Lion hunt, you simply sit in the comfort of a truck and look for Mountain Lion tracks in the snow. When a Mountain Lion track suiting your interest is discovered, the hounds are released, and the chase begins. This can be a very demanding hunt, as Mountain lions tend to live in steep, rocky terrain, often covered with snow – which constitutes much of New Mexico wild lands.
They also offer a dry ground, 4x4 Mountain Lion hunt. Because they employ very cold-nosed, dry-ground hounds, they can find Mountain Lions by letting the hounds sniff for scent from the truck. This method is known as rig hunting, a very popular method of hunting among New Mexico residents. You maneuver your vehicle through areas where Mountain Lions are common, and wait for the hounds to signal a find with their bark. These very well trained Mountain Lion hounds can often smell a two day-old track even while riding in the back of a truck. This New Mexico-style Mountain Lion hunt is recommended for those who are not in great physical condition.
All Mountain Lion hunts in New Mexico require an over-the-counter license that can be purchased online at the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. The license must be purchased at least 48 hours before the hunt takes place. Additionally, there is also a Mountain Lion identification test that must be passed to obtain a New Mexico hunting license.