Migratory Game Bird

Migratory game birds include mourning and white-winged dove, band-tailed pigeon (see also this dove and band-tailed pigeon USFW identification guide), sandhill crane, ducks, geese, coot, common moorhen, snipe, sora and Virginia rail. For more in-depth hunting and license information, reference the 2022-2023 NM Migratory Game Bird Rules & Info. For beginning waterfowl hunters, view a waterfowl identification and facts presentation: Waterfowl Facts and Identification Presentation.


Online Maps

Crane Hunt Letters

Migratory Game Bird Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs)

All state and federal regulations apply. Only USFWS-approved nontoxic shot may be used and possessed on refuges. Sporting arms must be unloaded and cased when transported.

Bosque del Apache NWR
Conducts special permit light goose hunts and allows dove hunting in specific areas. For current information, maps and applications, telephone (575) 835-1828 or visit: https://www.fws.gov/refuge/bosque-del-apache/visit-us

Las Vegas NWR
Conducts special permit Canada goose hunts and limited dove hunting. For information, maps and applications visit: www.fws.gov/refuge/las_vegas/ or telephone: (505) 425-3581.

Bitter Lake NWR
Conducts limited hunting for ducks, geese, coot, sandhill crane and dove. For information, maps and applications visit: www.fws.gov/refuge/bitter_lake/ or telephone: (575) 622-6755.

Sevilleta NWR
Limited hunting for mourning dove, white-winged dove, geese, duck and coot. One handicap-accessible duck blind is available first-come, first-served. For more information and maps visit: www.fws.gov/refuge/sevilleta or telephone: (505) 864-4021.

Migratory Game Bird Permits

Free Eastern Sandhill Crane Permit
Each eastern sandhill crane hunter must possess the appropriate license(s) (page 6), plus an Eastern Sandhill Crane Hunting Permit (free). Permits are available online: www. wildlife.state.nm.us, at NMDGF offices and at all license vendors (One-dollar vendor fee may apply). A federal Duck Stamp is not required to hunt sandhill cranes.

Draw Sandhill Crane Permits
Each draw-season sandhill crane hunter must have the appropriate license(s) (page 6), plus a draw permit (hunt codes and dates listed on page 23). Applications may be submitted online: www.wildlife.state.nm.us or call: 1-888-248-6866. Applications must be submitted by August 17, 2022 before 5 p.m. MDT. No more than four people may apply per application and no more than two people may apply per youth-only hunt application. Nonrefundable application fees are $7 per resident and $13 per nonresident. Additional information about hunt requirements will be given to successful applicants. A federal Duck Stamp is not required.

Free Band-tailed Pigeon Permit
All band-tailed pigeon hunters must possess a band-tailed pigeon permit. Permits are available online: www.wildlife.state.nm.us, by telephone: 1-888-248-6866 and at NMDGF offices and all license vendors (one-dollar vendor fee may apply).

Free Light Goose Conservation Order Permit
A Light Goose Conservation Order permit is required for hunters participating in the conservation order hunts Feb. 1–March 10, 2023 (see page 24). Permits are available online: www.wildlife.state.nm.us, by telephone: 1-888-248-6866 and at NMDGF offices and all license vendors (one-dollar vendor fee may apply).

Harvest Information Program Number (HIP)

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service requires all migratory game bird hunters to obtain a Harvest Information Program (HIP) number.

Federal Duck Stamp

Federal law requires all waterfowl hunters 16 years of age or older to carry a valid federal Migratory Bird Hunting & Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) which is signed in ink across the face.See page 7.

Legal Methods

It is legal to use artificial decoys, blinds and dogs.

It is legal to use artificial decoys, blinds and dogs. It is illegal to shoot at any protected species from within or upon a motor vehicle, motor-driven boat, sailboat or aircraft. However, a person may shoot from a motor-driven boat when the motor has been completely shut off and its progress has ceased.

Report All Banded Birds!

NMDGF requests all banded birds harvested be reported online: www.reportband.gov.

Federal Regulations

In addition to all New Mexico regulations in this booklet, the following federal regulations apply on federal lands when taking, possessing, transporting and storing migratory game birds. Persons cited for violating federal regulations will be required to appear in federal court. The complete federal regulations (50 CFR-Part 20) is available online: https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-50/chapter-I/subchapter-B/part-20?toc=1

Illegal Methods
No person shall take migratory birds:

  1. From a sink box (a low floating device that has a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water).
  2. From or with the aid or use of a car or other motor-driven land conveyance or from or with the aid of any aircraft or drone.
  3. By baiting (placing or directing placement of feed such as corn, wheat, salt, etc. for the purpose of causing, inducing or attempting to take any migratory game bird). Hunters should be aware a baited area is considered to be baited for 10 days after the removal of the bait.

Importation of Harvested Migratory Birds

During any one-week beginning on Sunday, no person shall import more than:

  1. 25 doves and 10 pigeons from any foreign country.
  2. 10 ducks and 5 geese from any foreign country, except Canada and Mexico.
  3. The Canadian and Mexican export limits for doves and waterfowl, which vary for different foreign provinces and states.

In addition, one fully feathered wing must remain attached to all harvested migratory game birds being transported or shipped between a port of entry and one’s home or taxidermist. No person shall import harvested migratory game birds belonging to another person.