Rules for Hunting Coyotes in New Mexico

What are the rules for hunting coyotes in New Mexico? Before you head out to take on some of the 120,000 or more coyotes in New Mexico, you need to learn a few ground rules.

The first and most important is New Mexico takes its hunting laws seriously. You could be arrested and have all your gear confiscated for certain violations. The second thing, New Mexico recently outlawed coyote contests.

Rules for hunting coyotes in New Mexico
Rules for hunting coyotes in New Mexico.

In New Mexico, coyotes are classified as “unprotected furbearers.” There are no licenses required, no bag limits, and no closed season. Night hunting coyotes is prohibited.

Purchase a New Mexico hunting license and proper permits here.

Check out all the New Mexico Hunting Seasons.

Related: What is the best time to hunt a coyote? Read the best hours of the day to call in a coyote.

Related: Read this article to learn how to hunt predators with a shotgun.

Learn the regulations for hunting fox in New Mexico.

Learn the regulations for hunting bobcats in New Mexico.

Rules for hunting coyotes in New Mexico.

With no night hunting option, you will have to master the craft of calling in what might be a well-fed, sleeping coyote.

Therefore the following articles are strongly recommended, especially for new predator hunters.

  1. Coyote calling sounds your successful pals keep secret.
  2. 3 open reed coyote calls you can learn now.
  3. How to master the best closed reed coyote call.

Check electronic predator caller prices here.

You need a different strategy for hunting coyotes in New Mexico during the day.

Let’s face it; coyotes move a lot more at night. The only way to increase your odds of success is to locate their habitat, find their dens, maximize the property you have, and get access to more property.

Locate their habitat. 

  1. Learn what coyotes eat throughout the year here.
  2. Learn how to track coyote sign here.

Find a coyote’s den.

  1. Learn how to recognize and locate a coyote’s den here.

Maximize the property you already have access to.

  1. Learn how far you have to move between stands here.
  2. Don’t over hunt what you have already. Here are some tips to avoid over hunting a location.

Get more land to hunt coyotes on.

  1. Read here to discover 8 ways to get permission to hunt private property.

New Mexico asks that you shoot any feral hogs you encounter.

Feral hogs damage habitat, contaminate water, and compete with native wildlife. Because of the negative impact this non-native intruder causes, residents and nonresidents legally may hunt feral hogs year-round without a license. General hunting rules still apply—such as obtaining permission if hunting on private land, no hunting with the aid of artificial light, and no discharging of firearms within 150 yards of an occupied dwelling.

Coyote hunting in New Mexico : Many ways to get in trouble.

Remember, New Mexico takes its game laws very seriously!

It is unlawful to:

  • Recklessly or carelessly handle a firearm.
  • Hunt while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants, including marijuana.
  • Litter and/or pollute streams, lakes and other waters.
  • Leave a fire unattended or improperly control fire.
  • Hunt protected species without a license and all applicable permits, tags, stamps or validations, or fail to tag any big game or turkey.
  • Hunt protected species using licenses, tags, permits, stamps or validations belonging to another individual, or take or attempt to take a protected species for another person, except as permitted when assisting a licensed mobility-impaired hunter (pages 14–15).
  • Kill more than one of the following: elk, pronghorn, Barbary sheep, bighorn sheep, ibex, javelina, oryx, bear or deer during any license year, except as permitted by rule.
  • Apply for, buy or use more than one license for any species per license year.
  • Shine spotlights or other artificial lights into areas where big-game species or livestock may
  • be present, while in possession of any sporting arm.

You need a break! Watch some coyote hunting before proceeding.

  • Take or attempt to take game species by the aid of baiting. An area is considered to be baited for 10 days after the removal of the bait. It is also unlawful to take bear by the aid of scent.
  • Use live protected species as decoys to take or attempt to take game species.
  • Use electronically or mechanically recorded calling devices, except as permitted for protected furbearers, cougars, bears, javelina and nongame species.
  • Use tracer ammunition, full-metal jacketed bullets or fully automatic weapons.
  • Park any motor vehicle or camp within 300 yards of any man-made water hole, water well or watering tank used by wildlife or domestic stock, without the prior consent of the private landowner, private-land lessee, public-land lessee or public-land management agency.
  • Shoot at protected species or artificial wildlife from a motor vehicle.
  • Shoot at game on, from or across any paved, graded or maintained public road or within the fenced right-of-way of any paved, graded or maintained public road.
  • Shoot at, pursue, harass, harry, drive or rally any protected species by any means except while legally hunting.
  • Use motor-driven vehicles on roads closed under the Habitat Protection Act or other federal regulation.
  • Hunt or shoot at any animal from an aircraft or drone or fly an aircraft in any manner which causes any non-domesticated animal to move from its place of rest or change its direction of travel.
  • Hunt from an aircraft, use aircraft to signal locations of protected species to hunters from or harass game species with an aircraft; hunt protected species observed from aircraft within 48 hours of observation; or hunt protected species the same day of air travel, except by commercial airline or direct flight to a landing strip.
  • Discharge a firearm within 150 yards of a dwelling or building (not including abandoned or vacated buildings on public land) without the permission of the owner or lessee.
  • Take any animal that is protected by law but not listed as a game species and/or any animal that is listed as an endangered or threatened species.
  • Use any cellular, Wi-Fi or satellite camera for the purpose of hunting or scouting remotely for any big game animal.

Vehicle use laws when hunting coyotes in New Mexico.

Vehicle Use: Driving Off-road or on a Closed Road

1. During the seasons established for any protected species, it is unlawful to drive or ride in a motor vehicle that is driven off an established road on public land or on a closed road on public land when the vehicle bears a licensed hunter angler or trapper.

2. During the seasons established for any protected species, it is unlawful to drive or ride in a motor vehicle that is driven off an established road on private land without written permission from the landowner when the vehicle bears a licensed hunter, angler, or trapper.

3. It is unlawful to drive or ride in a motor vehicle which is being driven off an established road or on a closed road when gathering or searching for shed antlers on public land.

4. EXCEPTION: Snowmobiles may be driven off established roads, and lawfully taken game may be retrieved in areas not closed to vehicular traffic.

5. Public land as used in this section shall mean any federally owned or managed property, any state owned or managed property, any private property which is part of a unitization hunting agreement, ranch-wide agreement or unit-wide agreement for the species being hunted, any private property NMDGF has paid for public access for the species being hunted or any New Mexico State Game Commission owned or managed property.

Established road means: 

1. A road, built or maintained by equipment, which shows no evidence of ever being closed to vehicular traffic by such means as berms, ripping, scarification, reseeding, fencing, gates, barricades or posted closures;

2. A two-track road which shows use prior to hunting seasons for other purposes such as recreation, mining, logging, and ranching and which shows no evidence of ever being closed to vehicular traffic by such means as berms, ripping, scarification, reseeding, fencing, gates, barricades or posted closures.

New Mexico enforcement of game laws is strict.

Enforcement of game laws; powers of conservation officers.

A. The director of the department of game and fish, each conservation officer, each sheriff in his respective county and each member of the New Mexico state police shall enforce Chapter 17 NMSA 1978 and shall: 

(1) seize any game or fish held in violation of that chapter; 

(2) with or without warrant, arrest any person whom he knows to be guilty of a violation of that chapter; and 

(3) open, enter and examine all camps, wagons, cars, tents, packs, boxes, barrels and packages where he has reason to believe any game or fish taken or held in violation of that chapter is to be found, and seize it. 

B. Any warrant for the arrest of a person shall be issued upon sworn complaint, the same as in other criminal cases, and any search warrant shall issue upon a written showing of probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, describing the places to be searched or the persons or things to be seized. 

C. Conservation officers may, under the direction of the state game commission and the director of the department of game and fish: 

(1) establish from time to time, as needed for the proper functioning of the game and fish research and management division, checking stations at points along established roads, or roadblocks, for the purpose of detecting and apprehending persons violating the game and fish laws and the regulations referred to in Section 17-2-10 NMSA 1978; 

(2) under emergency circumstances and while on official duty only enforce the provisions of the Criminal Code [Chapter 30, Article 1 NMSA 1978] and the Motor Vehicle Code [66-1-1 NMSA 1978]; and 

(3) while on official duty only, enforce the provisions of: 

(a) Sections 30-14-1 and 30-14-1.1 NMSA 1978 pertaining to criminal trespass; 

(b) Section 30-7-4 NMSA 1978 pertaining to negligent use of a deadly weapon; 

(c) Section 30-15-1 NMSA 1978 pertaining to criminal damage to property; 

(d) Section 30-22-1 NMSA 1978 pertaining to resisting, evading or obstructing an officer; and 

(e) Section 72-1-8 NMSA 1978 pertaining to camping next to a manmade water hole.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr. is a former Marine Sergeant and the author of several books, including two on night hunting coyotes and red and gray fox. He has written several hundred articles on predator hunting for

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