Many states promote hunting through special youth days, shooting seminars, and mentor programs, but the Land of Enchantment has a new lure to attract young hunters—both residents and nonresidents.

Starting yesterday at 10 a.m., New Mexico’s Department of Game and Fish began offering 1,950 “youth encouragement” antlerless elk licenses through its online license system. Each is sold on a first-come, first-served basis, with 1,500 licenses available for any legal weapon and 450 for muzzleloaders and bows only.

To purchase a license, customers will need to log in to their Online License System account at Eligibility requirements are:

  • For the first 14 days, the sale is open only to New Mexico resident youths who have applied in the current license year for one or more draw hunts for deer, elk, antelope, bighorn sheep, oryx, or ibex and were not successful for any hunt. (The purchase of a leftover, draw hunt for deer counts as a successful deer application.)
  • Hunters must have a valid Hunter Education certification.
  • Hunters must be under 18 years old on the opening day of hunt.


Beginning at 10 a.m. on July 20, the sale will open to all eligible youth hunters, regardless of residency, who did not draw a 2016-17 elk license, whether they applied or not.

Hunters must have a current Junior Game Hunting or a Junior Game Hunting and Fishing license prior to purchasing an elk license. Customers without a Game Hunting license will be directed to purchase one before continuing to the youth encouragement sale.

All purchases will be audited to verify the customer’s eligibility.

Hunters planning to purchase a youth encouragement license must have completed all mandatory 2015-2016 harvest reporting requirements or their purchase will be rejected in the post-sale audit. The license fee, but not the application fee will be refunded on rejected purchases.

After eligibility is verified, licenses will be awarded to hunters and will be available to print and view within a few days of purchase. Licenses can be printed from any computer by logging into an account and selecting “My Purchases” in the main menu.

For more information about the youth encouragement elk license sale, hunting in New Mexico, or for help logging in, call customer service at (888) 248-6866. Youth encouragement licenses will not be sold over the phone. For the list of available hunts, please see the 2016-2017 Hunting Rules and Information booklet available online at