When the 350 remaining New Mexico late season cow elk tags went on sale last week, it took less than 10 seconds for them to be claimed by anxious hunters using the Department of Game and Fish Web site. Between 9:30 and 10:30 on Monday morning, the agency Web site received about a quarter million hits.
Hunters with quick fingers, fast Internet connections and a lot of luck depleted the leftover tag in fewer than 10 ticks of a clock’s second hand.

That is, if you still own a clock with a second hand in the digital era.

In the Game Management Units or areas where New Mexico State Game Commission establishes late season elk hunting opportunities, the Department assesses population and harvest information, herd management objectives and additional harvest needs before making decisions about where and how many late-season licenses are made available.

Because the assessments require information gathered during fall aerial surveys and regular fall hunts, the licenses are made available via an online, first-come, first-served Web sale.

The agency said that distributing the tags through normal draw processes is unrealistic because it requires significantly more time than is available to ensure all successful hunters receive their licenses prior to the start of their hunt.