Arizona Unit 27 / Tanks / Rut Activity

Jclark225

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2019
Messages
16
Hello all,

Posting this in "Mule Deer" because I'm hoping to extend my hunting season with an OTC archery trip to Arizona (thinking unit 27) to try to find a mule deer. I've searched the forums and have read most of the posts for that unit listed in the last few years but I just want to see if there's anyone with updated general information. Not asking for honey holes.

First about me; For starters, my archery experience is fairly limited. Long time rifle hunter but have only been archery hunting for about 6 years. I've harvested a handful of deer here out West with my bow but I attribute most to dumb luck. (first mule deer was taken at 16yds after he woke me up from an early afternoon nap) What I'm really looking for on this trip are stalking opportunities. If I connect, great, but if not I'll go home happy with the new knowledge and experiences. Never been to AZ but I like unit 27 for the "roadless area" ratio. My tentative plan is to hike about 8mi or so into the Southern part of the Blue Range Primitive Area keeping my camp on my back and being mobile. Getting to high points and spending a lot of hours behind the glass. At this point in my hunting career, any spot and stalk deer with a bow is a trophy so I wont be holding out for anything spectacular.

My first question is to do with water. Are there any resources available that have the status of tanks listed on maps? Is water even a good strategy for AZ mule deer in January? I also keep seeing "find the does and you'll find the bucks". How long does that hold true and are the does typically out and moving mid-day or bedded up? My trip will be Jan 3rd - 13th and I'll plan to stay outside the area where the Brigham fire burned this year.

Any info, tips, or tricks are appreciated!
 

AZmark

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2020
Messages
207
Location
Eastern AZ
Rough country where you're planning to hike but good area. Nights will definitely be cold and hopefully we'll be having some snow by then. This area has been extremely dry this year with hardly any monsoon rains and now very little snow this fall to date. As far a tanks, most are dry right now but theres still some to be found but I know of no resource that will tell you existing conditions so you'll just have to check the topos for springs and tanks and they are pretty accurate. I have the December rifle mule deer hunt and have some cams out and have been seeing a few nice bucks both muley and wt.
 
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Jclark225

Jclark225

Junior Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2019
Messages
16
Rough country where you're planning to hike but good area. Nights will definitely be cold and hopefully we'll be having some snow by then. This area has been extremely dry this year with hardly any monsoon rains and now very little snow this fall to date. As far a tanks, most are dry right now but theres still some to be found but I know of no resource that will tell you existing conditions so you'll just have to check the topos for springs and tanks and they are pretty accurate. I have the December rifle mule deer hunt and have some cams out and have been seeing a few nice bucks both muley and wt.
Thanks for the reply AZmark, good info on the lack of rain. Scarce water and the recent burns should help narrow down some concentrated areas.

When you say the nights will be "cold" are we talking single digits? I'm used to August-September archery hunts so my gear is more tailored to warmer weather. Wondering if I should drop the $$ on a 0 degree bag or if I can get by with a 15-20 wearing good thermals.

Would love to hear how your Dec hunt goes, good luck!
 
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