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Outfitted Hunts - Get it in Writing
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All Photographs are from the 2000-2001 NM Big Game Proclamation

Nonresident hunters who come to New Mexico have a choice of hiring an outfitter or hunting on their own. If you use an outfitter, New Mexico law requires a written contract. A written contract will protect both the hunter and the outfitter.

The state also requires outfitters to be registered with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and every year the Depart-ment receives several complaints about the services outfitters provide. Legally, the outfitter is required to provide no services or amenities beyond those specified in the contract.

For example, if your contract states you will pay the outfitter $5000 for a five-day guided elk hunt and the outfitter took you elk hunting for five days, he has met his contract obligations. If you want a place to sleep and food to eat, then it should be written into the contract. If you want to sleep in a “bed” and have a “hot shower” available, then it needs to be written into the contract. If the contract has a no-refund clause, then you are not entitled to a refund no matter how badly your hunt goes.

The outfitter only has to provide what is specified in the contract. If an outfitter tells you verbally that you will see hundreds of trophy bulls, you cannot hold him to that. If the outfitter will put it in writing then he can be held responsible for it. A brochure from an outfitter is not a contract, it is simply an advertising device.

If you want to make sure your outfitter is registered with the state of New Mexico, or file a legitimate complaint, call our Outfitter/Guide specialist at the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, (505) 476-0379. If you feel your outfitter has not fulfilled the terms of your contract, contact our Dept. specialist. For their own protection, hunters and outfitters should keep copies of all paperwork concerning their hunts.

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