NM Youth Hunter Benefits from Soules Family Elk Tag Donation

Since 2021, the family of late game commissioner and conservationist David Soules has generously donated a private land elk authorization to New Mexico BHA with the aim of getting one more public land hunter a chance at harvesting. In fall of 2023 the lucky BHA member that was selected to receive the tag was military affiliated member Travis League. Travis was able to gift the tag to his 14 year old son Cullen. With some recon from the Soules family and BHA volunteers, they headed down to unit 34 for a late season youth cow elk hunt. Below is a recap of the hunt provided by Travis. 

The hunting party was super motivated to get out there and enjoy God’s creation. The weather however was less than ideal and had about 3-4”of snow and the multi-directional winds were 45+ mph! The first day we saw a turkey at 50 yards, but that wasn't what we came for! We tried to spot and stalk but just couldn’t find the elk. The next morning we were off with a motivated start to try again. We were feeling a bit beaten up from the day before, and still came up short. However, we knew the elk were there because of the sign we found throughout the first day. That evening we stayed close to a small pond hoping something would come in, but the winds kept animals hunkered down and all we saw was the same huge turkey from the day prior. We spent the rest of the morning exploring Lincoln National Forrest on the way back to the camp and found a small broken elk antler sticking out of a pile of snow. 

Trips with family like this are what it’s all about…spending time with each other in the outdoors and admiring God's work. All His gifts are a blessing and to be able to share it with the ones we love is priceless! 

Thank you to Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. Thank you to everyone who helped point us in a direction to go and allowing us to get out there and scout before our hunt. 

The New Mexico Chapter of BHA will continue advocating for equitable DIY elk hunting opportunity in our state. Late Commissioner Soules was a proponent of reforming the Elk Private Land Use System (EPLUS) that has grown unwieldy since its inceptions, robbing DIY resident hunters of the opportunity to experience elk hunts like this one and put food on the family table. To learn more about the egregious imbalance of NM Elk Tag allocation read the latest report on elk tag distribution at TakeBackYourElk.com

About Katie DeLorenzo

As BHA's Western Regional Manager Katie supports Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah and other coordinators across the west. When not working, she's exploring the Southwest with her husband, toddler and black lab, cooking wild game, and shooting her bow.

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