AZ Archery Elk Draw Thoughts / Suggestions

fencesitter

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I just wanted to get your thoughts, as I'm considering the possibilities of applying this year, for the first time. I know that AZ requires a $150+ license regardless of whether you actually hunt, during the year.

I have a buddy in AZ that is continually suggesting that I apply for 23N, but with 4-6% odds and zero points, I'll probably be in the waiting game for 14+ years for all I know.

If I play the waiting game, and don't hunt AZ each year, I'll probably pay well over $2K in license fees to hunt 23N, before I even draw the tag. I don't know how feasible that is, at this juncture.

I'd prefer to hunt a unit that takes 2-5 years to draw, and maybe I'll try and get to AZ 1-2 over that 2-5 year period to hunt OTC deer, or something along those lines.

Thoughts / Suggestions for a Non-Resident based in Colorado? Please send me a private message with any suggestions..... Thanks a ton!
 

Slim Jim

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I think you only have till Tuesday to apply. If you hunt archery OTC deer each year you'll already have your license so it's only $7.50 to apply. Well worth it and its fun to hunt deer during the rut with decent weather
 

Travis Bertrand

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No one ever said hunting out of state is cheap. Sometimes you just have to suck it up if you really want to hunt Arizona elk. You will make the right decision. Like Jim said, if you use your license to hunt OTC every year, it makes you feel like Arizona is only raping you a little bit.
 

Gman

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Colorado baby!
No one ever said hunting out of state is cheap. Sometimes you just have to suck it up if you really want to hunt Arizona elk. You will make the right decision. Like Jim said, if you use your license to hunt OTC every year, it makes you feel like Arizona is only raping you a little bit.

Pretty much sums up how I feel as well. Just put in for my AZ elk tag...again. Yes 4% are tough odds but at least you have a chance (insert Jim Carrey clip from Dumb & Dumber here). Also make sure to put in for your Antelope and Deer points as mentioned and you can talk yourself into believing you're getting some economies there. I think this year I'm also going to try and put in for Javelina and do a hunt in winter months and that can help take the sting out.

My overall opinion on AZ and states like it is either your in or your out. Because once you start putting in those fees it makes no sense to abort after 4 years for example and as indicated it can be a long term game. My overall strategy includes AZ but also NV, UT, and WY (and I live and hunt every year in CO). This way in the next couple of years I'll have good odds at drawing a premium archery hunt while banking 1-3 points in CO which works for me. And I always have CO OTC to fall back on -- as does the OP.

It feels (and actually is) expensive now. But every year as the season ends I always tell myself that I would gladly have paid the out of state fees for a premium hunt. My time like everyone's is limited and for me it's well worth the price of admission. I have to admit I forget that sometimes when it's freezing and 8 months until hunting season so I always try to remember those feelings I have right as the season ends and my credit card always comes out.

Good luck.
 

Umpqua Hunter

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Fencesitter: The draw odds for Unit 23N archery for a non-resident with no points is virtually zero. You will need up around 12+ points (and probably more like 15) to have ANY chance to draw, and by any chance I don't mean 4-6%, I mean anything better than 0%.

What many non-residents of Arizona don't realize is with less than max points in the premium units, their draw odds are basically zero. My understanding is that non-residents draw 10% of the elk tags. The problem is that 20% of the elk tags are first drawn by the max point holders. For the premium hunts, nearly every year every single non-resident tag is drawn in the max point draw. Unit 23N archery has 15 tags, that means there is ONE non-resident tag for that hunt. If there is ONE non-resident vying for the max point tag, you are out of the draw this year. That happens virtually every year for the top level tags.

For me, I drew a premium elk tag back in 2000 (I believe) and I am again at 14 points for elk. I bought a point this year so next year I finally feel like I'll be in the running for a good tag next year. For me the cost was worth it because I have been building deer, sheep and antelope points as well, and should draw all of those tags eventually.

You do need to count the cost. Is it cheaper to build points, or it is cheaper for buy a landowner tag somewhere? If you are only after elk you are right, $2000 is a big investment and you could just about buy a New Mexico landowner elk tag for that. If you are applying for elk, sheep, deer and antelope, your investment is less per specie.
 
OP
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fencesitter

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Thanks for the insight, thus far, folks!! I'm aware that the draw deadline is Tuesday, which is why it's weighing heavily upon my mind. From my research, even if accumulating points from year to year, an applicant must still pay the ~$150 for the license fee, correct? Given that I'm fairly convinced that I'll never draw 23N with point creep, send me a PM if you have any suggestions on areas that are decent that take 2-5 years to draw. I know that four corners area is not possible, due to the reservation, but something slightly south or slightly west is what I'm considering. Thanks again!
 

bohntr

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It all depends on what caliber bull you're truly willing to shoot....or let walk. ALL units in AZ will consistently produce bulls in the 300-350" range. If that size bull is what you'd be happy with, then there's no need to build a ton of points, IMO. If you're looking for consistent animals above that mark, you'll need points and put in for those respective units that have a history of producing those caliber bulls. 23N is definitely one of those units.
 

wapitibob

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As Umpqua pointed out, your only chance at an early archery tag will be in a handful of units with NR pass thru tags. This being your first year, you will only be in the 1-2 pass draw. Your odds in the 1-2 pass are less than 1/100 for those tags. There just aren't any tags available with the 10% nr cap.
Your other option is a late archery or rifle hunt. Most of those hunts have NR tags available in the 1-2 pass and the max pool for many are in the 5 point range. Once you get the loyalty point (5 years) and get the hunter safety point, you could draw a late tag every few years.
 

hunting1

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Biggest elk I have ever seen on the hoof was a 7x7 in 23N! Was my favorite area in the state and I would love to hunt it! bohntr is spot on! I am in this year with 10, so we will see what happens, good luck all!
 

Rent Outdoor Gear

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23N is a great tag, but by the time you're ready to draw there will probably be another top unit in play... There are some really good middle of the road hunts in AZ that can be had for fewer points. Your odds of seeing 370 class bulls obviously go down, but hunting 320-330 bulls two or three times in the same amount of time as one hunt for 350+ bulls isn't a bad option either.

DC
 

Umpqua Hunter

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23N is a great tag, but by the time you're ready to draw there will probably be another top unit in play... There are some really good middle of the road hunts in AZ that can be had for fewer points. Your odds of seeing 370 class bulls obviously go down, but hunting 320-330 bulls two or three times in the same amount of time as one hunt for 350+ bulls isn't a bad option either.

DC

Well said Darin
 

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