New Mexico

Field Trips and Events

11th Annual High Plains Prairie Chicken Festival

April 20, 2012 - April 22, 2012

Milnesand, New Mexico


New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy in New Mexico, Grasslans Charitable Foundation, the Community of Milnesand, and a host of other collaborators is inviting you to join a flock of grouse enthusiasts for the 11th Annual High Plains Prairie Chicken Festival in Milnesand, New Mexico.

Quick Links

Milnesand, New Mexico may be a small dot on the map, but it is big in the heart of New Mexico’s prairie grasslands. Each spring, the lesser prairie-chicken, an icon of the Southern Great Plains, congregates on traditional breeding grounds called “leks.” 

Witnessing these birds perform their mating ritual is an experience that leaves memories permanently etched in the mind! 

Please join us for the opportunity to:

  • Observe and photograph the mating rituals of the lesser prairie-chicken
  • Birdwatch throughout the day with some of the best birders in New Mexico
  • Talk with ranchers and biologists working to conserve prairie-chickens
  • Learn about the Southern Great Plains ecosystem through our tours on prairie dog ecology, archeology, plant identification, playa lakes, reptiles
  • Enjoy good food and Western hospitality 

POSTER CONTEST: Each year the Public Information and Outreach Department at New Mexico Department of Game and Fish holds a prairie chicken art contest to select the artwork for the commemorative poster. Please visit the Game and Fish website (below) for details (after January 1st). 

PRE-FESTIVAL PHOTO CLINIC: As he has done the last three years, Tom Hill will be offering a three-day photo clinic during the week immediately prior to the Festival.


Camping is free and available on-site. The Milnesand Community Center has a large parking area to accommodate self-contained RVs. A limited number of electrical hook-ups (but no sewer or water hookups) are available for RVs for an additional $30 fee. Across the road, tent sites will be available behind the Kountry Junction General Store. Chemical toilets will be available at both sites. 

The nearest motels are in Portales, approximately 35 miles north of Milnesand. You can contact the Portales/Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce for details about room rates and availability at (800) 635-8036 or

Some area ranchers will be offering rooms for rent. For more information please call:
Kyle & Corrie Dillard
(575) 309-4976
Exa Kaye Luman
(575) 675-2317 

What to Bring

Weather changes can be extreme on the Southern Great Plains. It could snow or rain and there may be strong winds. Bring layered clothing, a camera, binoculars, water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and hat. 


Register Today! Download the 11th Annual High Plains Prairie Chicken Festival Registration Form  

More Information

For additional information, please contact Festival Co-Coordinator:
Tish McDaniel, TNC
#1 Pueblo Pt.
Clovis, NM 88101
Phone: (575) 762-6997, cell (575) 714-4577 Email:

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