Huge cuts to AZ OTC

canyonhunter47

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Jul 6, 2018
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AZGFD posted up their recommendations for permit numbers and OTC archery reductions. Expect pretty decent cuts to draw hunts and OTC opportunity is being cut significantly. Lots of cuts to December and January, and lots of units switching to antlered whitetail rather than any antlered deer


This will concentrate the OTC hunters into the remaining open units. I figure December and January OTC will be pretty much done for in a couple years

Edited to add:
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canyonhunter47

canyonhunter47

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This is what happens when you have social media personalities relentlessly pump AZ OTC opportunities...

That’s true, and it doesn’t help that the best hunt comes before the draw. Hunt all January then put in for tags/points based on your results
 

cburgin72

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May 17, 2018
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Alabama
I can't say I am very surprised by this. It seems as though these hunts have gotten extremely popular in the past few years. I just wish I would have gotten a trip in on one of these tags about 3 years ago.

I will be interested to see how popular the antlered whitetail tag is.
 

Timberline001

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Not at all surprised and saw this coming after all the social media hype over the last 3-5 years treating AZ OTC archery like it was an unlimited resource. Pretty frustrating...
For sure. I feel like some hunts should be respected and kept quiet from the media’s eye. And there are a few that still are and I notice them being respected well on rokslide. But I’m sure YouTube will get them soon as well.
 
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BBob

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Jun 29, 2020
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Southern AZ
I actually wish they'd restrict some of the August hunts up north. It's a crap show before the elk hunts start and has intruded negatively (IMO) on those hunts for many many years now.
 

TSimons9

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May 24, 2019
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Flagstaff AZ
I have to agree with those of you who commented above, the amount of hype from some of the hunting personalities on social media has been frustrating. It seems like there are more and more people out here every year. I hope that they reduce non resident OTC opportunities before they just turn everything into a draw.
 

Timberline001

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Im honestly excited about most of those changes. Looks like the majority of the units will still have a January hunt although it may be shortened which is great. Also 27 being closed to draw only will be awesome I think. 27 has the potential to grow some giant deer and with limited tags it will. It’s too bad that social media blew up the attention on these hunts and required these actions but I do think they’re necessary. Also closing the December hunts should help counter the pressure the deer occur in January I believe.
 

NoWiser

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Aug 15, 2013
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I've never taken advantage of these hunts and probably never would have, but I feel the pain for people who have done them for many years. It wasn't an outcome that was hard to predict. I'm starting to get on board with the idea that social media is the worst thing that has happened to hunting. They preach R3 and may be good at recruiting new hunters, but it's hard to retain hunters when their publicity gets OTC tags eliminated and makes other tags nearly impossible to draw. I mostly just feel sick for the hunters who had a long tradition with some of these hunting opportunities that are now gone.
 
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canyonhunter47

canyonhunter47

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Im honestly excited about most of those changes. Looks like the majority of the units will still have a January hunt although it may be shortened which is great. Also 27 being closed to draw only will be awesome I think. 27 has the potential to grow some giant deer and with limited tags it will. It’s too bad that social media blew up the attention on these hunts and required these actions but I do think they’re necessary. Also closing the December hunts should help counter the pressure the deer occur in January I believe.
Definitely agree on 27, the rifle tag cuts are going to help even more (late rifle rotated out, regular season cut). And in general, I would like to see AZ cultivate better mule deer herds/age class outside of just Kaibab/Strip and 3C

I would like to see the December hunt dropped entirely, and the early Aug/Sept hunt and January 1-15th be the only options
 

Blackcow

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Jan 11, 2013
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central Az.
I didn’t look at all of them, only units close by. All I see with a few exceptions are things going back to how they were pretty much my entire hunting life. Some units that are recommended close, have only been open for a few years in the December/January time frame. A few were always open in January but not December until about 2016, and are now going back to Jan only. It doesn’t all look bad, and some I’m very happy to see actually.
 

Timberline001

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Definitely agree on 27, the rifle tag cuts are going to help even more (late rifle rotated out, regular season cut). And in general, I would like to see AZ cultivate better mule deer herds/age class outside of just Kaibab/Strip and 3C

I would like to see the December hunt dropped entirely, and the early Aug/Sept hunt and January 1-15th be the only options
I agree. There’s definitely potential outside of the 3 units that they manage for trophy quality.
 

wannakillabigbull

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Colorado
Agree with some above that the changes aren't nearly as bad as they look, if you compare to historical opportunities. Some of the ones they're taking away only opened in the last few years. Overall I'm glad they're making changes because this can't go on forever.

Also agree that these hunts have seen a drastic decrease in quality recently, coinciding with draw websites and social media pumping them up. I lived in AZ at the time and personally had really good experiences in 2016 and 2017; not a ton of people and got on a ton of deer. 2018 was a nightmare, like a flip had switched and all of a sudden there were 3+ backpack camps in the area I hunted every weekend when I'd usually see one day hunter if that. And practically no deer. Can't say the guys I ran into were the nicest either; very territorial for being the new guys on the block. It was pretty funny too, they were decked out in all the nicest gear and shelters and were getting them all tore up in the AZ brush chasing forkies. I've mostly had great interactions with guys in the field but the new guys hitting AZ OTC weren't my favorite for whatever reason.
 

Timberline001

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Agree with some above that the changes aren't nearly as bad as they look, if you compare to historical opportunities. Some of the ones they're taking away only opened in the last few years. Overall I'm glad they're making changes because this can't go on forever.

Also agree that these hunts have seen a drastic decrease in quality recently, coinciding with draw websites and social media pumping them up. I lived in AZ at the time and personally had really good experiences in 2016 and 2017; not a ton of people and got on a ton of deer. 2018 was a nightmare, like a flip had switched and all of a sudden there were 3+ backpack camps in the area I hunted every weekend when I'd usually see one day hunter if that. And practically no deer. Can't say the guys I ran into were the nicest either; very territorial for being the new guys on the block. It was pretty funny too, they were decked out in all the nicest gear and shelters and were getting them all tore up in the AZ brush chasing forkies. I've mostly had great interactions with guys in the field but the new guys hitting AZ OTC weren't my favorite for whatever reason.
My hunt in January 2017 was flat out unreal. Since then it’s dropped off fast each year. I think a lot of the deer are still there they are just more pressured and learning how to adapt to it. The coues in my area are getting into the rut 10-15 days later than before.
 

Pacific_Fork

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For sure. I feel like some hunts should be respected and kept quiet from the media’s eye. And there are a few that still are and I notice them being respected well on rokslide. But I’m sure YouTube will get them soon as well.
The few left under the radar hidden gems in the west are definitely in danger of the next social media influencer pimping it out on YouTube. I have a couple hunts that I pray everyday don’t get discovered by the gohunt/youtubers/forums of the world.
 

Timberline001

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SE Idaho
The few left under the radar hidden gems in the west are definitely in danger of the next social media influencer pimping it out on YouTube. I have a couple hunts that I pray everyday don’t get discovered by the gohunt/youtubers/forums of the world.
Yessir. There a few hunts that I know well that gohunt massively under rates and it makes my heart warm and fuzzy lol
 
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