AZ Unit 1 & 2CB late rifle cow hunt - Any tips?

Der Hund

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Mar 21, 2021
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I drew a tag for an early December rifle hunt for antlerless elk. It is in Unit 1 and the adjacent parts of Unit 2. The hunt has a very high historical hunt success rate. I plan on making a few trips to the area to learn the roads and the lay of the land. I want the last one to be a week or so before the hunt to find out how the weather/snow is affecting elk location.

I have two rifle options: A Remington 700 5R MilSpec in .300 WinMag and a Tikka T3 Superlite in 6.5 Creedmoor. I'm planning on lugging the Remington along. I'll sight it 3" high at 100 yards and try to keep shots as close as possible.

I have no clue where I'll spend the nights. Perhaps a hotel in Springerville. Or, I may finally get around to becoming a smallish pull camper owner (GX470 to pull it). Based on my experience field dressing deer, I'm going to use the hunt as an excuse to buy a bigger cooler.

I'm super pleased to have drawn the hunt and would be grateful for any area-specific or general late cow hunting tips.
 

BBob

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Jun 29, 2020
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This isn't a smart ass reply but that hunt is pretty cake. You shouldn't have issues finding cows. If they aren't where you are simply move and go find them. If you are a total rookie then it will be a great learning experience. That county is easy to navigate and to get around in. You can easily hotel it in Springerville/Eagar or easily camp in zillions of sites throughout the units.
 

dmoto

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May 22, 2017
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Been on that hunt quite a few times. Be prepared for sunny and 45* or temps in the single digits with blowing snow. As BBob said, you shouldn't have an issue finding cows, just be mobile. Plenty of places to camp, you may want to get a Flatline map that details the area really well.

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Der Hund

Der Hund

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Mar 21, 2021
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Thanks BBob for the encouraging post! I hunted Unit 10, unsuccessfully, about 6 bonus points ago. Finally decided to put in again.
 
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Der Hund

Der Hund

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Thanks dmoto for the tips about weather preparedness and Flatline maps. I'll likely get a folding one for Unit 1 and look into their App versions. Fort Huachuca, my deer hunting spot, is suggesting use of Avenza maps as of this year.
 

mavinwa2

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Res WA ST, winter>Gilbert AZ , NR>AZ, UT, NM, CO.
congrats Dog...

this is the units I would apply if wishing to draw a cow tag. Good advice above, if you're not seeing cows, move.
expect to have plenty company, especially on Fri-Saturday-Sunday. Use those other resident weekend hunters to your advantage.
That's what worked for me years ago, scouted for 3 days before, killed my cow on 1st day. Hardest solo packout I ever had, 1/2 mile from road but all downhill & back uphill to the truck!
all the bull hunters from Thanksgiving season had the elk pretty spooked and deep, thick areas were key on my hunt.
Observed all the camps & hunting pressure moving in late Wednesday and all day on Thursday. On opening morning, Hiked in with headlamp and by shooting light here they came. Spooked off the flats by other hunters.

The week before cow permit season, you will be scouting out there with 300-400 permit bull hunters. They can get the elk all worked up, skittish by cow season.
 
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Der Hund

Der Hund

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Thanks, mavinwa2 for the location and strategy tips. FWIW, we live in the same town for part of the year. Some days, I might have my 16-year-old son to help scout/spot and, hopefully, pack out. I'm all for getting far from the road for peace, quiet, and less competition.
 

.270

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Jun 12, 2018
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TX
Great unit for a cow hunt, don't bother with the 2s very little elk those units. I would concentrate on unit one. Like others have said just move around till you find the cows and I understand the wanting to get away from the roads but you can make the pack out as easy or hard as you want. Flatline makes the best paper maps for AZ hunt units that I have found.
Plenty of hotels in Springerville and cabins in Alpine if you want to hunt the southern end of the unit. Enjoy the hunt and scouting. The white mountains are my favorite place in AZ, especially in the summer.
 
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Der Hund

Der Hund

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Thanks, .270, for the low-down on the 2s. Ordered a Flatline map today. Also installed the digital version; it looks fantastic on a large iPad! I might be a Texan again someday as I'm leisurely looking for a large property with likelihood of Whitetail, feral hogs, exotics, and reasonably close to a large military base. I took my first and only hog near Cotulla a couple of years ago.
 

cjp584

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Apr 4, 2019
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My buddy and I will be out there this year too. Never been there, but definitely looking forward getting to travel somewhere new.
 

WRO

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Great unit for a cow hunt, don't bother with the 2s very little elk those units. I would concentrate on unit one. Like others have said just move around till you find the cows and I understand the wanting to get away from the roads but you can make the pack out as easy or hard as you want. Flatline makes the best paper maps for AZ hunt units that I have found.
Plenty of hotels in Springerville and cabins in Alpine if you want to hunt the southern end of the unit. Enjoy the hunt and scouting. The white mountains are my favorite place in AZ, especially in the summer.


I killed a bull in there a couple years ago and seen plenty of elk every day.. Passed on 15 bulls in 2 days and then had to kill a bull on the 3rd day to get home and deal with a family emergency.

It's not as good as 1, but there's enough elk in there to make one dead pretty easily.
 
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