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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got an email from the Outfitter in New Mexico that my Elk hunt is cancelled. No Elk. He said the guides had been out scouting and checking cameras and they had no sign of of elk in three weeks. The outfitter is 300 miles from the ranch and he said he went out and checked himself. He said there is no sign of elk anywhere out there. He says that he has had the hunting lease on that ranch for a number of years and only takes 9 hunters. Last year they took 8 bulls and should have had the 9th.

The ranch is 12,000 acres and there is 100 cow lease on it also. They have not had rain in two years and there is no water and no grass. The Cow guy is trying to break his lease and has already started to move his cows out.

The Outfitter offered a full refund including sales tax on permits that had already been purchased from the State. The State does not give refunds so the Outfitter must be paying this out of his pocket. (times 9 hunters-ouch) He also offered to carry me over to next season, that's what I chose. He also said in his 33 years of operation this is the first time he has had to a cancel a hunt.

I had cancelled and deferred my deer hunt for this Elk hunt, to 2021. So no hunting for me in 2020.

Did I mention 2020 sucks!
 

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If an outfitter is willing to do what he's doing on the refunds, I'd sure give him my business in the future. I've heard that drought out there was getting pretty bad, but had no idea it was that bad.
 
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That really sucks man. You can’t get in an OK hunt at all? Had a few bad outfitter bookings in the past myself. Was outfitter issue (New baby and moved outta state & died of heart attack) and not drought/ weather related. Glad they are so willing to work with you. Too bad the state isn’t refunding tags.
We have a massive forest fire SE of here, about 80 miles, in the Snowy mountains. Game Dept. said they are refunding deer, elk and moose tags for that area. Been 9 years since they last refunded tags due to natural disaster. The game laws specifically call for the allowance of refunding tags due to natural disasters. I think more states need to have such a law on the books.

I also agree that 2020 sucks and should just be over with.
 

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Don't know what part of New Mexico you were going to hunt, but the drought has been ongoing in the NE part of the state for a couple of years. We got lucky last year and had a big snow in the Marino valley about a month before we got there. Then it warmed up. The grass turned green and grew. Then another big snow came along and drove the elk down from the high country.
Sucks that you don't get to go this year but it sounds like a very honest outfitter. You were smart to defer to next year.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dennis, the Ranch is part of the Cebolleta Land Grant, near Grants.

I thought about contacting the outfitter I hunt deer with. I gave up my spot for deer this year for Elk hunt. Had him carry over my deposit to next year. I know he has filled our spots, and all his slots are sold. I was thinking of asking him if he had a stand he would lease me.

I was thinking if he would lease me a spot, I would just go down and dry camp in the area. Wife pitched a fit-no way I am going hunting by myself. She said she would go with me. That killed that. She has never been any kind of camping in her life, ever. I sure as hell would not take her on her first camping trip dry camping---Not sure who would be more miserable. I would need to carry a shovel, because one of us would have to dig a shallow grave.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well the sucking slowed a micron. I talked to my Deer Outfitter. Told him my tale of woe about elk hunting. He told he was headed out for his personal elk hunt last Friday. No details were were texting.

He told me he does get a cancellation every now and again, and I was the only one he had this year. Said he would call if he got another. He was not optimistic, which is better than him just saying flat NO.
 

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I've got a slot or 2 still open for bow season and rifle and muzzleloader is wide open. Not a single hunter has booked muzzleloader.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
My Deer outfitter is Brett Carden of Western Oklahoma Trophy Outfitters. https://www.wotohunts.com/ A friend had recommended him. I did a lot of research on him before booking with him. We did a December hunt with him last year, especially for my Wife.

She had never hunted anything until she met me 6 years ago, and had never ever been deer hunting. Brett opened up one his archery stands just for her to shoot with her new Winchester CRF M-70 in .7mm-08. I was sitting beside her in the blind as she shot her deer from 20 yards. It was pretty awesome seeing her keep ever so cool and place the shot perfectly.- well almost. The gun was sighted 3 inches high at 100 yards. So at 20 yards she hit about that high. The deer walked about 40 yards, then dropped like a bag of rocks. After that her "cool" changed to excitement. Brett had instructed us to not leave the blind until he got there, and it was all I could do to keep her sitting.



Not a bad first deer. I have never shot a whitetail this big. And she has made me well aware of that. :)
 

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I've never killed a buck that big either. Nice 1st buck for sure.
 

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That's a dandy buck, congrats to her!
 
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