Bringing Back the Elk to New Mexico
North American elk and their close relative, the red deer of Europe, inspires our imagination with an intensity rarely fostered by other wild animals. Elk are large members of the deer family, and is far more graceful than the larger moose. Crowned by heavy antlers, elk racks are highly sought after decorations from the castles of Europe to the cabins of La Cueva, New Mexico.
Rocky Mountain elk exist in New Mexico because the state and private individuals went through great efforts to restore the animals from 1910 to 1966. Although a private ranch started the reintroduction, Territorial Game Warden Thomas Gable made the first public releases in 1911, distributing 12 animals to three spots in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Restoration was necessary because relentless hunting pressure occurring late in the 19th century extirpated this grand animal from New Mexico. The meat of elk is as fine as beef, and they were killed to feed the waves of soldiers, miners and ranchers who contributed to the occupation of this state after the Civil War. The slaughter resulted in the extinction of the Merriam’s subspecies of elk and the extirpation of the Rocky Mountain subspecies. Today, Rocky Mountain elk once again are abundant in Northern New Mexico, and they grace the valleys and mountains of the southern half of the state where once the Merriam’s roamed.
Roger & Audrey McQueen
Owners - Operators
Audrey is NINE Time World Champion Elk Caller
Over 20 years in Guiding Experience
1 (505) 350-6487
1 (928) 333-4915