Arizona Mule Deer Help!

sojourner

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Joined
Feb 28, 2012
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170
Location
Humboldt county and Asia Pacific
Hey fellow Roksliders. Is there anyone here who hunts the Dec/Jan OTC archery hunt in Arizona and would like to give some advise? My wife and I are moving overseas to Asia Pacific as missionaries in April and I wanted to maximize this years hunting as it will probably be my last season hunting for years. I've also never hunted mulies and this hunt sounds like a lot of fun. I'm not asking for anyone's honey hole and I'm willing to work hard/ hike for miles etc. I just was hoping someone could get me started in the right direction- what to expect that time of year weather-wise, deer movement ect.. I'd prefer to hunt the west side of the state but anywhere could be doable. What kind of general areas should I be looking for bucks in at that time? I won't neccesarily be able to spend a lot of time there so I'm probably looking for any area with good deer numbers even if the trophy quality isn't that high. The coastal black tails we have here are pretty small so I'm sure just about any mulie is going to seem big to me. I just want to spend some more time bowhunting with my cousin and see some deer and a new area. I would really appreciate any help and you can pm me if you have some more specific areas to check out. Thank you roksliders, I've already learned so much reading from your tips and experiences.
 

weaver

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Feb 25, 2012
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The success rate is very low. Would like to try it sometimes though.
 

SDHNTR

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Aug 30, 2012
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It's a fun hunt. The deer densities in the South Western AZ deserts are very low. Unless you have access to some private farm land you are better suited by continuing east. Or NW area around Kingman may be better, but I have little experience there. I'd focus on the low lying desert areas around Tuscon and East towards Wilcox and Safford. The mule deer prefer the thick flats. Try to get on a little knob and glass. Put your binos on a tripod and glass till your eyes hurt. Find the does. If you find a group of does without any bucks, keep checking that herd as a buck could move in any time.

Weather wise, it's usally awesome. Daytime highs in the 60's, but it can get cold at night. I have seen it snow a couple times. Be prepared for a little bit of everything. There is plenty of public land so access is not much of a concern. I'd suggest going onto the AZDFG website and looking at their unit reports. There are some very helpful suggestions on where to focus your efforts, depending on the units you want to hunt. I'd also look into getting a javelina tag too. Make a fun combo hunt of it.
 

RosinBag

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Feb 27, 2012
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Roseville, CA.
I have hunted it the last 3 years, but more towards the east side. The second week of January is usually closest to rut, but you can never count on it for sure. We hunt them in the desert flats with some partial cover in the area. You can generally hunt them all day as they just move around and feed at just about any time with the rut going on.
 

Daniel Bybee

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Apr 7, 2012
Messages
193
Location
Arizona
If you can make it up to the prescott area ill be glad to show you around and give you some ideas. Daniel
 

Slim Jim

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Jun 7, 2012
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Las Vegas, NV
Hey S J, I have hunted the AZ jan rut the last couple of years and it is a fun hunt. Units 22 and 23 are where I hunt and always find decent deer numbers. The good thing is you can also hunt white tail and coues on the same license. The mulies are at elevations up to about 4000 ft. and the coues or white tails are at about 4000 to 6500 ft. You should give Jon Dixon a call for area 22 @ 480-250-4231 or Dave Daniels for area 23 @ 480-528-8774. They are both AZGF biologists with good info and really nice people.
 
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sojourner

sojourner

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2012
Messages
170
Location
Humboldt county and Asia Pacific
A couple more questions for you Arizona guys: 1. Are liscenes valid for the calendar year? i.e. would I have to buy two liscences to hunt the portion of the season in december and the portion in January? 2. I am planning to hike a couple miles at least from roads- In the national forests, are there going to be guys riding quads back in there? If so, am I better off finding a wilderness area that's closed to vehicles? 3. Do any of you guys back-pack in for this hunt or is that unnecesary and more worth it for the extra comfort and warmth of camping at the truck?
 

Slim Jim

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Jun 7, 2012
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2,309
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Las Vegas, NV
Sojo, licenses are calendar year January 1st to December 31st. You can hunt January rut, August early hunt and if still not successful you can go back the last two weeks of December for late hunt all on same license! Contact the biologist for the area you are hunting and they will let you know which areas of their unit is wilderness with no motorized vehicles. I backpack about 4 miles into the area I hunt there. Good luck
 

IZZY

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Messages
99
Location
Sahuarita, AZ
This might be of some help, I just found it about 2 hrs ago, (gots lots of freetime since my unit is in the stage of returning back to the states...), and am hooked...its basically google earth for hunters...shows your hunt units, watering holes, land owners, you can do some scouting on it first before you actually hit the ground...very powerful tool...

http://www.azaccessmap.com/

Use it in conjunction with the AZ hunt unit information website...

http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/hunting_units.shtml

Good luck on your hunt...
 

Elk_Addict23

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Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
219
Location
Castle Rock CO
I am also going on my first AZ hunt this Jan! Does anyone have any input on units 28 or 31? Are there decent deer numbers in those areas or are the areas further south a bit better like 33, 34's? Not looking for honey holes just some general direction on deer numbers? Thanks for the help!
 

IZZY

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Messages
99
Location
Sahuarita, AZ
Elk_Addict23, I would check out the AZDFG website http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/hunting_units.shtml they talk about all the hunt units and things you should be aware of such as access issues and illegal alien smuggling...unit 28 is huge, just to warn you...you will definately need to do some scouting...have you been drawn for a tag yet or are you doing over the counter tags? either way, check out that website...and also utilize http://www.azaccessmap.com/ for maps...focus on water catchments, and springs, every things needs to drink...scout scout scout, and then scout somemore...those units all have at least fair number of deers so you will be good as long as you do your homework...good luck and keep us posted...at least thats my plan...
 
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Elk_Addict23

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Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
219
Location
Castle Rock CO
Izzy,

Thanks for the info! I've been pouring over the game and fish site reading about all of the units and 28 and 31 seem like they'd be fun. I plan on doing an OTC tag this upcoming Jan. This is a hunt I've always wanted to do, finally got some time to do it. Unfortunately I won't have time to scout except for google earth and other maps. My plan is to stay very mobile glassing big areas with a spotter and my 15's mounted on a tripod. If you say there is a fair amount if deer that'll work for me. I don't have big expectations just hopefully get a few stalks in and maybe get lucky, either way I'm still hunting and having fun. Thanks again for the info!
 

Travis Bertrand

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Mar 9, 2012
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Reno,NV
Dude, I'm loving the az access map! That is cool, I'm really pumped to be heading down that way, a hunt that has been on the hitlist for a while, I'm hoping to make the most of it.
 

IZZY

Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2012
Messages
99
Location
Sahuarita, AZ
Isn't that site amazing...i love that they even show you who the landowners are (BLM, State Trust, Forestry service)....been playing with it all week...I have some suggestions for AZDFG to make it even better...but my fear is they are going to take it away, so am keeping my monday night quarterback comments to myself...
 
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