New Bow Hunter in AZ seeking guidance.

IZZY

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Nov 7, 2012
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99
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Sahuarita, AZ
Hello everyone...I am a new bow hunter..well lets me clarify a bit...as of this posting, I have yet to hold a compound bow in my hands...reason being I am stationed in Afghanistan right now, and although i was trying to plan a rifle moose hunt to Alaska in September of 2013, my buddy that introduced me to hunting thinks I should try out bow hunting before Alaska and possibly take my bow with me. So we are currently trying to plan two hunts, one for OTC Elk in Colorado in September (my buddy is good friends with a guide that will take us for virtually free), and second hunt will be going after some whitetails in Texas where my friend is from, I plan on being a sponge on both hunts and just soaking up the info.

I live in AZ, and although I have been unsucessful in the first and last time I went hunting for Mule deer (work conflict and current deployment), I did spot some does while scouting and I knew it was just a matter of watching the does to see where they bed...but it never happened, work schedule and I missed this season because am here. So now I have been researching bows and trying to learn everything about them...as of last week, i didn't know what a cam was...now I find myself thinking should I go for a single cam or a hybrid? What axel lenght is going to be right for me? poundage, brace height etc...

I definately have the bow fever...

Now I have narrowed down my bow to 4 choices (2013 PSE X-Force Drive,
X-Force Dream Season Evo, Bear Anarchy, and PSE Brute X) and I have already found a good archery shop in Tucson to utilize (Bullbasin & PSE). The plan is to get home in February and go try out some bows. Now my question is, when it comes to bow hunting mule deer in AZ, how do you do it? Spot and stalk? tree/saguaro stand? I am thinking spot and stalk since I am in the south part of the state, and unless I get some tags up North, the stands will be out of the question...was joking about the saguaro stand...although that would be an interesting sight

Any other advice you guys can offer to a noob will be great. Until I get home i plan on reading everything i can possibly get my hands on (time permitting) and just keep asking questions...I have already been monitoring a couple of other forums and getting some insight...I was just told that you guys on this site are very informative hence why am posting here...Thanks in advance for the support..
 

SDHNTR

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Aug 30, 2012
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Sounds like you are on the right track. Try as many bows as you can get your hands on and let the bow find you. One will just feel better that others. That is the one you should buy, regardless of the brand name.

The best advice I can give you for hunting AZ mulies is to get some good optics. It is spot and stalk hunting and you can't stalk what you haven't spotted. Buy the best glasses you can afford and set them up with a bino adapter on a tripod. Sit down, get comfortable and spend some time behind those glasses!

And most importanty, thank you for your sacrifice to our country!
 

swat8888

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Apr 6, 2012
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No experience with PSE but Bull Basin is a great pro-shop, little pricey but definitely worth the money to get you all set up with a new bow. I'm down at Huachuca, but haven't hunted mulies so can't help you there. There are tons of coues deer down here on post if you wanted to get into that.
 
OP
I

IZZY

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Nov 7, 2012
Messages
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Location
Sahuarita, AZ
SDHNTR...that was my intentions all along...get my hands on as many bows as possible...my fear is that i don't want to be that guy that asks the store keepers to see everything, which is why am trying to narrow it down as possible....the archery shop am looking at seems to be very decent, I have seen tons of positive reviews for them so thats a plus.

Now in regards to the glassing, I have what I think are pretty decent set of optics, I have a Leupold SX-1 Ventana 20-60x80mm Angled Spotting Scope Kit and for binos I have the Leupold BX-3 Mojave 10x50mm Roof...was thinking about upgrading the binos to the 12X50, but so far the setup has served me right...I have sat on a hill top and scouted for about 3 hrs straight down by Douglas two seasons ago (drew mule tags on my first attempt, but that area is about 100% sucess rate...for me it was just about trying to get out and hone some of the skills that I had been learning)...didn't see any game, but I could pick out features on cactus and stuff on the ground close to about 0.5-1 a mile away...when I did see game it was relatively close to the side of the road where I planned on camping that weekend, so I didn't need any optics...there were about 4-6 does just going about their business in the field about 50 yds from me...as soon as they noticed me they bolted...never saw them again that weekend, but there was tracks and deer poo allover where they were at...

Swat8888, I have never really thought about coues deer..I just thought that since i was new to hunting I should try my hand on something that is abundant at first. I will look at the AZFG website to see what the military post hunts are like...arent' there some sort of restrictions on those?
 

Travis Bertrand

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Izzy, thank you for your service, I'mplanning an Arizona hunt for later this year. I have always thought I have optics department covered as well, I have a swaro spotter and great 10x42s. After talking to a bunch of guys, they say you and I will be optically disadvantaged, they HGHLY recommend a pair of 15x56's mounted on a tripod, everyone finishes this statement with,"trust me" lol

As far as narrowing your bow decisions to help out your bow shop, believe me, they are used to folks coming in with an open mind. That's their job, they enjoy seeing that type of stuff and I don't think it would cause annoyance on their part!
 
OP
I

IZZY

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Sahuarita, AZ
Doc, what are you going for in AZ? and if you don't mind me asking where? thanks for the advice on the optics...the thing is you never know if you are doing something right or wrong unless you ask, so I appriciate you giving me the heads up....As I said, I have been wanting to upgrade the binos I have, but now am thinking perhaps 15x instead of 12...I am taking it under advicement...at least I can try to take advantage of cyber monday sales still, so I will be on the look out and if I see a good deal I will scoop it up...
 

robby denning

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IZZY,
Welcome and thanks for serving the best country on the planet.

On the hunting strategies, you've got some time before the hunt and I would recommend five things:

1) See if you can still get a copy of Dwight Schuhs "Hunting Open Country Mule Deer". Timeless and lots of tips for you. I realize some of those deer aren't in "open" country as the desert can be very brushy, but the techinques he advocates still apply. see http://www.amazon.com/Hunting-Open-Country-Mule-Dwight-Schuh/dp/0912299231

2) See if you can find a buddy with same goals, expectations, schedule as you. Two are truly better than one, especially if you are new to this game

3) I second what Drhorsepower says on the 15x on a tripod. It's like watching a big screen TV vs a smart phone.

4) If you go the coues deer route, pick up Dwuane Adams & Tony Mandiles book: http://www.immediateweb.com/TonyMandile

5) We have a member here on Rokslide who goes by BOHNTR. http://www.rokslide.com/forums/member.php?1342-bohntr
Check the member list and try sending him a PM. He's a great guy and very helpful and humble. He has done very well on AZ bow bucks and can give you pointers on how to hunt them. In fact, if he'll post in the forums, we can all enjoy (C'mon Roy, throw us a bone:)
 
OP
I

IZZY

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Sahuarita, AZ
It is an honor to serve in the greatest nation known to man...

those books are going on my amazon list tonite and I will most definately reach out to BOHNTR...

any suggestions on a good 15x binos thats not going to require me giving up my dog as a collateral? Most of the ones am seeing on cabelas are in the tune of 1000 bucks...was thinking maybe I can find some for about 6-700 but of good quality...I keep seeing Vortex binos but don't know much about them
 

swat8888

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Yeah hunting on post is kinda of a pain in the butt. You have to have a hunters ed card...any state works, just need the card. Also if you take the AZ hunters ed course, I think only $15 to take the online test, then a 8 hour field day you receive a bonus point for life for every single species you put in for a draw tag on. Not a bad deal. You also have to pay like an extra $25 or something fee to get a post hunting license. And then there are a bunch of stupid rules you don't have to deal with when not on a military base. One of the most ridiculous was in a few of the archery only areas you could not leave any part of the animal. So you can hunt deer with a bow in September when its 80 degrees, shoot a deer, and are then expected to haul the entire thing out. Don't think whoever wrote that dumb rule has any idea what spoilage is. Anyhow....there are lots of deer on post. There are mulies too, I just wasn't hunting them and wasn't out in the more open areas where they live here.
 
OP
I

IZZY

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Thanks for the heads up Swat...I was gonna take the AZ hunter's ed when I got home just for the bonus points...I took hunter's ed when I was living in MA, but for 15 bucks you can't go wrong...am not surprised about all the rules for hunting on base...its the military...anyways, thanks again for the heads up...
 

AZCoues

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The Beautiful Wasatch Mountains
I'd start with mule deer for sure. Coues deer are a little neurotic. You are on the right track; spot and stalk is the way to go. Even if you are out of season, just get out there and stalk bedded does/bucks just to hone your skills and learn more about their behavior as you close the gap. I find it helpful, after I bed an animal, to draw a picture of the area where they are bedded because the view changes drastically when you are on the ground.

Some guys like to go in heavy wool socks the last 100 yards and that is great in any state but AZ. I like the boot covers since my feet are still covered by my boots. I wear a leafy camo and full face/hands camo and use my binoculars even in the last 50 yards.

AZ is a great state to bow hunt in and be prepared to suffer a bit if you want to be successful. Good luck!
 

bohntr

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IZZY:

Answered your PM. There's already been some good advice given here by some good folks (yes, even SDHNTR :) ). I've bowhunted mule deer in the Arizona Desert for the last 25-30 years and have gotten lucky a few times over the years. I just wrote an article on this very subject as my editorial for Western Hunter Magazine. I think the article can answer many of your questions and offer some good advice as well. If you have trouble finding the magazine, let me know and I'll send it to you.

One thing folks haven't mentioned yet is putting in time during the right time-frame. When the rut is on (generally the first 2 weeks of January where I hunt) I usually hunt for at least 10-14 days. More time spent in the field during this time greatly increases your odds for a mature mule deer. If you're willing to arrow something smaller, then the amount of days needed may end up being less. Let me know if you need any additional help.

Roy
 
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I

IZZY

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Sahuarita, AZ
Just like most new hunters, I have wild dreams of getting me a trophy buck, but I also realize that doing that will be tough in AZ...I was thinking of a 3 in size...for the most part getting some meat in the freezer will be good, but honestly, for me its just a matter of adventure...getting out there and attempting to get one...
 

robby denning

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with that attitude, you are bound to have fun and that really is what it's all about. Trophies will come in time and sometimes, in short time.
 

robby denning

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BOHNTR, you're a class act. Thanks for chiming in and I'll watch for your article in Western Hunter, too. Very helpful.
 
OP
I

IZZY

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Sahuarita, AZ
Thanks everyone for all the tips...please keep it coming, have fun and be safe out there...
Bohnter when does your magazine come out? I currently dont have the luxury of running to a store to pick it up...but if you let me know which month it is, I can see if I can get it online...thanks
 
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Travis Bertrand

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IZZY,
Welcome and thanks for serving the best country on the planet.

On the hunting strategies, you've got some time before the hunt and I would recommend five things:

1) See if you can still get a copy of Dwight Schuhs "Hunting Open Country Mule Deer". Timeless and lots of tips for you. I realize some of those deer aren't in "open" country as the desert can be very brushy, but the techinques he advocates still apply. see http://www.amazon.com/Hunting-Open-Country-Mule-Dwight-Schuh/dp/0912299231

2) See if you can find a buddy with same goals, expectations, schedule as you. Two are truly better than one, especially if you are new to this game

3) I second what Drhorsepower says on the 15x on a tripod. It's like watching a big screen TV vs a smart phone.

4) If you go the coues deer route, pick up Dwuane Adams & Tony Mandiles book: http://www.immediateweb.com/TonyMandile

5) We have a member here on Rokslide who goes by BOHNTR. http://www.rokslide.com/forums/member.php?1342-bohntr
Check the member list and try sending him a PM. He's a great guy and very helpful and humble. He has done very well on AZ bow bucks and can give you pointers on how to hunt them. In fact, if he'll post in the forums, we can all enjoy (C'mon Roy, throw us a bone:)

Robby, I just finished reading Dwight schuh's book, thanks for bringing it up! It's one of the most informative deer books I have read also a unique(really good) writing style. So THANKS!
 

HellsCanyon

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IZZY,
I know its probably a tight time with the holidays here but HuntSonora is selling a pair of Vortex Kiababs 15x56 in the classifieds for $800 I think! Great deal on some great glass....

Best of luck in your search and endeavors! You got some great guys giving you some awesome advice!

Mike
 

Travis Bertrand

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IZZY,
I know its probably a tight time with the holidays here but HuntSonora is selling a pair of Vortex Kiababs 15x56 in the classifieds for $800 I think! Great deal on some great glass....

Best of luck in your search and endeavors! You got some great guys giving you some awesome advice!

Mike

I wish I had 800$ and a more understanding wife. Lol. Those would be going with me in January!
 

ohhiitznik

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Brother take a look at the Bear bows. The new bears shoot awesome. I've been throwing around the Idea of picking a new bear up next year. My first bow was a bear, I shoot bear recurves for bowfishing, and having that company started in gaylord michigan means a lot to a boy from the mitten. Give em a look, they have got a bad rep during the early 2000s but have rectified their issues. Give em a look
 
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