SPECIES OVERVIEW - Exotics
New Mexico and Texas are the only states worth noting when it comes to hunting exotics. While New Mexico has more public land, Texas has more exotic species to be hunted.
Most permits in New Mexico are through a public draw in mid-to-late March. Animals available to hunt are Barbary sheep, oryx, and ibex. To apply for an oryx and ibex hunt, you have to apply in a group of two. For a Barbary sheep, a party of four can apply.
More permits are allocated for hunters who go with guides, so that is something to keep in mind if you like to have a guide with you (or if you’re willing to do it for better odds). There is no point system in New Mexico for these types of hunts. There are youth-only hunts and also hunts for the mobility impaired.
Texas has public draws, raffles, and guided hunts and you can get on some private, fenced ranches that offer hunts you usually can’t find on this continent. For many hunts in Texas, you can also hunt an exotic while hunting other animals. In the National Wildlife Refuge, which has a low application fee, you can harvest an unlimited number of Nilgai antelope with either a rifle or bow. You can hunt a scimitar-horned oryx, a gemsbok, and a waterbuck. The rates of getting some of these hunts are low, but if you do get a tag then your chances of success are very high. The guided Scimitar-horned oryx hunt runs in conjunction with the gemsbok and waterbuck hunt packages and it takes place in January.
Barbary sheep (also known as aoudad) can be hunted on public or private land. With low densities, it can be a tough hunt but some units do have more success than others. A non-resident tag used to be an impossibility in some units in New Mexico but that’s been resolved and there are now a few more non-resident permits available. The over- the-counter options can be great, if you have access to private land to hunt on.
New Mexico’s ibex hunting is in the southern part of the state on the Florida mountains. There are a wide range of hunts available, including rifle hunts, a youth-only hunt, and a once-in-a-lifetime draw hunt. For slightly better odds, there are muzzleloader and archery hunts. You can, technically, get an over-the-counter tag to hunt in the Florida mountains, but success rate is zero (so don’t waste your time and money).
There are some different hunts for oryx in New Mexico. Most options are once-in-a-lifetime but there are also youth, broken horn, and off-range hunts available. Hunts take place in White Sands Missile Range primarily and in this area there are consistently good trophy bulls. The tags are difficult to come by, but with one the success rates are very high.