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APPLICATION STRATEGY 2018: Arizona Deer, Sheep and Bison

2018 Arizona deer sheep bison application strategy article

Arizona's 2018 deer, sheep and bison application overview

Jump to: New for 2018 State Information Draw System Mule Deer Breakdown Coues Deer Breakdown Desert Bighorn Sheep Breakdown Rocky Bighorn Sheep Breakdown Bison Breakdown

Of all of the states in the West, Arizona has arguably the best hunting one state can offer. In addition to record book elk and antelope, mule deer, Coues whitetail, bison and Rocky Mountain and desert bighorn sheep can be found in the Grand Canyon State. Applying in Arizona is simple, but competitive, and you might be applying for a long time before you draw a tag. However, rest assured that when you do finally draw a tag, the wait will have been well worth it. Use goHUNT’s INSIDER tools to gain the edge on the competition and, hopefully, you will soon be drawing the tag of a lifetime.

Note: The online application deadline for Arizona deer, bighorn sheep and bison is June 12, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. MST. You can apply online here.



Why Arizona for deer, sheep, and bison in 2018?

Arizona’s draw system is based on bonus points, not preference points, which means everyone has a chance. Plus, with the new regulations regarding the draw, nonresidents have a greater chance of drawing some of the most coveted tags in the country.

Mule deer

The Kaibab Plateau (Units 12AE, 12AW) and Arizona Strip (Units 13A, 13B) in the northwest region of the state are famous for giant mule deer, but they are incredibly hard tags to draw (unless you're willing to bring a bow for the Kaibab rather than a rifle). For those who do not want to wait, Arizona has a lot of other great units. Several units offer trophy caliber mule deer hunting.

Coues whitetail

Coues whitetail are found throughout the lower two-thirds of Arizona. These unique deer inhabit only two states: Arizona and New Mexico. Fortunately, Arizona has far more Coues habitat, which means a larger Coues population. Hunters come to Arizona from all over the world to hunt these elusive deer.

Bighorn sheep

Arizona has both Rocky Mountain and desert bighorn sheep. Hunters regularly take Boone & Crockett (B&C) rams from these legendary herds. While these units are nearly impossible to draw—especially for nonresidents—with the bonus point system and a random draw, there is still a chance to acquire a tag.

Bighorn sheep measurement average - updated 2018

Bison

Arizona has a small, huntable population of bison. While tags are very limited, it is possible to draw a tag and hunt bison in Arizona—something few states in the West offer!

All of these reasons make Arizona the place to be when it comes to hunting for the trophy of a lifetime.



New for 2018

Unit 12B East - sheep

This unit has been split into two different hunts. See this breakdown on the unit profile here.

Unit 13A - sheep

Unit 13A was split into two seasons, the Kanab Creek Hunt Area (12B West, 12A West and 13A) and the Cottonwood Wilderness Hunt Area (13A).

Unit 15A and 15B - sheep

Unit boundary changes.

New nonresident sheep units

Unit 16AS/18B, and Unit 37B are now available to nonresidents for desert bighorn sheep and Unit 1/27 for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. See the tables below in the sheep section for a complete breakdown of nonresident units for 2018.

15D split - sheep

Unit 15D South was combined with unit 15D North in 2016 and 2017. In 2018 they will be split into two seperate seasons.

Draw odds

Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) will no longer be printing draw odds in the regulations. Access the most accurate draw odds available through our Draw Odds page here. Since the change in the draw system in 2016, many nonresidents have the opportunity to draw tags that were previously unattainable for anyone who did not have a high number of points.

Arizona's 2016 bonus and random pass draw change

* There is no guarantee that nonresidents will draw all of their allotted tags in the Random Draw, so it is possible that the nonresident 10% cap may not be met in some hunt choices.

Using the standalone Draw Odds detail page for Arizona, you’ll quickly be able to see how the draw system change affected hunters with minimal points and for those max point holders.

Portal account required to access Arizona draw results

In order to access the draw results, you must set up a portal account. You can do so here.

New hunter harvest questionnaire design

Arizona has redesigned its big game hunt permit tags and the hunter harvest questionnaire will now be included with your hunt permit tag. A unique QR scan code as well as a web link will be located on the back of hunt permit tags. Scan the code to access the hunter harvest questionnaire webpage; then, select your species.

PointGuard

This program was first available in 2016 and provides hunters with peace of mind in knowing that they can surrender their tag for any reason without losing their coveted bonus points. PointGuard coverage costs $5 per species. See more details here.

Use of drones is illegal

Drones are considered aircraft by AZGFD and it is illegal to use drones in any way to assist in the take of wildlife. This includes using drones while scouting.

Failed credit card payments

If you're applying online, be sure to keep your credit card payment information current and up-to-date. If your payment is declined at the time of the draw, your application will not be drawn. AZGFD will no longer call customers to obtain payment on drawn applications where credit cards have failed. The deadline for updating your credit or debit card information online is 11:59 p.m. MST on June 28, 2018.

2018 INSIDER enhancement — Female draw odds

Arizona cow bison draw odds

For 2018, goHUNT offers antlerless/female draw odds for Arizona and many other states.

To review antlerless/female draw odds, log into your INSIDER account > hover over the INSIDER icon > select the “Draw Odds” link > select Arizona and then your residency > scroll to select the antlerless/female species you are interested in near the bottom right portion of the page.

Cow bison draw odds

Find your resident cow bison draw odds here

Find your nonresident cow bison draw odds here



State information

To view important information and an overview of Arizona’s rules/regulations, the draw system and bonus points, tag and license fees and an interactive boundary line map, check out the Arizona State Profile.

Arizona State Profile Mule Deer Profile Coues Deer ProfileDesert Bighorn Profile Rocky Bighorn Profile Bison Profile Draw Odds Filtering 2.0

Important dates and information

  • The deadline to apply is June 12 at 11:59 p.m. MST. You can apply online here.
  • If applying online, only Visa or Mastercard will be accepted.
  • Up to 10% of the available tags for any hunt code can be awarded to nonresidents.
  • If you are unsuccessful in the draw, then you will be awarded a bonus point for that species.
  • The Arizona Big Game Super Raffle drawing will be held July 26, 2018. More information can be found here.

Drought/ rainfall/ snowpack
 

Arizona drought monitor status as of middle May 2018
Source: United States Drought Monitor

Currently, 100% of the state is affected by moderate drought conditions and 97.07% is under extreme drought and 10.33% is under exceptional drought. While the winter was very mild in Arizona, the precipitation levels have been relatively low. Drought conditions are worse than last year when the state as a whole was in a moderate drought. However, in Arizona, the timing of moisture matters more than the amount of moisture. There is a general belief that precipitation in 2018 will be above-average, which is good news after experiencing below-average rainfall last year.

Border activity

Some of Arizona's best deer habitat in the southern portion of the state experiences high illegal immigration traffic during hunting season since the daytime temperatures are more mild than in the summertime. Be alert and prepared to have your hunt affected by border activity if you draw a tag near the border of Mexico.

Wolves in Arizona

There is a small population of wolves in Arizona. Past surveys have confirmed the presence of a little over 100 wolves in the state, but these surveys were limited to only those which were visually seen. This means there are likely more wolves in the state than surveys might suggest; however, the population is still relatively small so their effect on wildlife should be minimal.



The draw system

Understanding the draw

It is important to understand the draw system before you begin. There are three phases to the big game drawing: the bonus point pass, the first-second choice pass, and the third-fourth-fifth choice pass.

Your first and second choices are the most important on your application. If your application is chosen and your first choice is full, the system will immediately check your second choice. This means that you should view your second choice as being just as important in terms of the hunt you select as your first choice.

More information can be found on the Arizona State Profile about the specifics of the Arizona draw system.

For sheep, 20% of the combinded desert and rocky tags are set aside for the applicants with the most bonus points and 66 residents and 3 nonresidents have maximum bonus points going into the 2018 draw (see the points breakdown in the sheep section below).

When applying in Arizona...

Although bonus points factor in, Arizona’s draw system is also random, which means you could draw your most coveted tag with lower bonus points. It is always a good idea to apply for hunts regardless of how many points you have. If you know that you will not be able to hunt in Arizona this year, buy a bonus tag and forego the draw entirely.

Arizona application do’s and don’ts

  • If you already know that you cannot go on a hunt in Arizona, but want to accumulate bonus points, purchase a bonus point.
  • If you can go on a hunt, always apply for a hunt number and do not purchase a point regardless of your already accumulated points. Although bonus points factor in, Arizona’s draw system is random and you only have a chance if you apply for a hunt.
  • Make sure to enter all of your personal application information correctly on your application, whether paper or online.
  • Verify you are applying for the hunt you intended to apply for. This is especially important when applying online using the drop-down feature.
  • Create an account on the AZGFD website.

Increasing Points

Arizona has a bonus point system in place. There are four ways to increase your bonus points:

  1. Earn a bonus point each time you are unsuccessful in the draw (one point per year).
  2. Or apply for “bonus points only” to gain a bonus point in the event that you do not want to risk drawing a tag until you have a higher number of points.
  3. You can also travel to Arizona and take a hunter education course and earn a permanent bonus point.
  4. Earn a permanent loyalty point. An applicant is awarded this point by applying for a species for five consecutive years. This is also a species-specific point and this permanent point will not be taken away when you draw a tag.

If you are successful in the draw, then your bonus points will revert back to zero. If you have earned a loyalty and/or hunter education point, then you will keep those indefinitely. If you fail to apply for five consecutive years, then all points will be lost.

Unlike many states, where if you don’t have the points you have no chance of getting a tag, Arizona gives hunters with only a few points a chance. Even if you don’t draw anything this year, you can get a bonus point to increase your chances next year. You can apply for bonus points only in Arizona, but you must buy a $160 nonrefundable hunting license and pay a $15 application fee per species.



Arizona's 2018 mule deer breakdown

Arizona strip mule deer taken with Shadow Valley Outfitters

Arizona strip mule deer taken with Shadow Valley Outfitter — A goHUNT Business Member

Current mule deer herd condition

Arizona has a very diverse array of deer habitat. In general, Arizona's deer herds have to fight drought conditions, but are not as affected by winter conditions due to more mild winters than other states in the West. This means that herds are in relatively good condition, though it is not always easy. To learn about herd conditions in a particular unit or area of the state, use Filtering 2.0 and then go into each unit profile; you can also check out the Arizona Mule Deer Species Profiles.

The goHUNT hit list units for Arizona mule deer

Top units to consider for 180” or better mule deer
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
Potential
Buck:doe
ratio
OTC or
draw
Public land
%
Unit 12B 190"+ 42:100 Draw 97.9%
Unit 13A 190"+ 117:100 Draw 85.4%
Unit 13B 190"+ 56:100 Draw 97.5%
Unit 12AE 180"+ 53:100 Draw 100%
Unit 12AW 180"+ 51:100 Draw 100%
Unit 3A 180"+ 34:100 Draw 29.5%
Unit 3C 180"+ 34:100 Draw 82.8%
Unit 45C 180"+ 31:100 Both 99.8%
 
 


How to uncover hidden gem deer units

Arizona archery mule deer taken with Country Ventures

Arizona archery mule deer taken with Country Ventures — A goHUNT Business Member

You can use Filtering 2.0 to find great hunts that might have otherwise flown under your radar. This revolutionary tool will allow you to select your exact criteria for your preferred hunt and will help you find the right season to hunt or apply for in a unit that fits all of your criteria.

To get started with Filtering 2.0

  • Select state.
  • Select species.
  • Adjust the Trophy Slider to your desired size (e.g. 170”+).
  • Click whether you are a resident or nonresident and indicate how many points you currently possess.
  • Select your minimum percentage of odds for drawing the tag. This can be very good for weeding out units with unlimited (100%) tags.
  • Select which season(s) you are wishing to hunt. Have other hunts going on throughout the fall? You can also set your date parameters and Filtering 2.0 will automatically find what's in season that time of the year.
  • Choose what harvest percentages you would like to see in the units.
  • Lastly, click on any of the remaining units to read in-depth profiles containing valuable information.

Hidden gem units with 100% draw odds with 5 points or less (resident)

Unit Season Trophy
potentia
l
Harvest
success
Points
required
12AE, 12AW, 12B Archery 190"+
180"+
180"+
36%
35%
35%
5
18B Rifle 170"+ 37% 3
20A Rifle 170"+ 42% 3
41 Rifle 170"+ 43% 4
7E Rifle 170"+ 15% 4
8 Rifle 170"+ 30% 5
9 Rifle
Muzzleloader
170"+ 26%
0%
4
10 Rifle 170"+ 29% 4
18A Rifle 170"+ 18% 3
20B Muzzleloader
Rifle
170"+ 19%
25%
3
27 Rifle 170"+ 48% 5
45A, 45B, 45C Rifle 170"+
170"+
180"+
31% 3

Check out Filtering 2.0 or our standalone Draw Odds for even more options by entering in your points and minimum draw odds.

Hidden gem units with 100% draw odds with 5 points or less (nonresident)

Unit Season Trophy
potentia
l
Harvest
success
Points
required
45A, 45B, 45C Rifle 170"+
170"+
180"+
31% 3
10 Rifle 170"+ 29% 5
18B Rifle 170"+ 37% 3
20B Rifle 170"+ 37% 5
27 Rifle 170"+ 48% 5
41 Rifle 170"+ 43% 5
7E Rifle 170"+ 15% 4
9 Rifle
Muzzleloader
170"+ 26%
0%
4
5
18A Rifle 170"+ 37% 5*

* There were no applications at the three and four point levels and draw odds were 70% at two points so it's likely that it would take fewer points to draw.

Trending buck:doe ratio units

INSIDER member Jesse De La Cruz sons Arizona mule deer

INSIDER member Jesse De La Cruz with his son's Arizona mule deer taken with Arizona Trophy Outfitters — A goHUNT Business Member

Male to female ratios are a critical measuring data tool for wildlife managers and indicate the current status of the herd. When selecting a unit, or comparing several units, take this into consideration to help your decision. For a complete understanding of male to female ratios, please refer to a recent article covering this in-depth. The best way to find the units with the best buck:doe ratios is to use Filtering 2.0 under Arizona mule deer, then sort the results by male:female ratio. You can jump to those results here.

Top units for buck:doe ratios

Unit Buck:doe
ratio
Trophy
potentia
l
OTC season
available
13A 117:100 190"+ No
40A 59:100 160"+ Yes
13B 56:100 190"+ No
12AE 53:100 180"+ No
12AW 51:100 180"+ No
19B 44:100 160"+ Yes
12B 42:100 190"+ No
39 41:100 160"+ Yes
43B 38:100 150"+ Yes
20B 37:100 170"+ Yes

B&C entry trends for Arizona mule deer


Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are considered if any part of the unit is found within any part of the county. Data provided below courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club.

Arizona's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for typical mule deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Mohave 11 13A, 13B
Coconino 3 3C, 4A, 4B, 5A, 5BN, 5BS, 6A, 6B,
7E, 7W, 8, 9, 10, 11M, 12AE, 12AW, 12B
Gila 1 22, 23, 24A, 24B

Map of Arizona's top producing B&C typical mule deer counties all time 2018

Total number of Typical B&C mule deer entries since 2000 - Arizona 2018

Arizona's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for nontypical mule deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Mohave 5 13A, 13B
Coconino 2 3C, 4A, 4B, 5A, 5BN, 5BS, 6A, 6B,
7E, 7W, 8, 9, 10, 11M, 12AE, 12AW, 12B
Navajo 1 2A3A3B3C4A4B5A
Pima 1 32, 33, 34A, 34B, 36A, 36B,
36C, 37A, 38M, 40A, 40B

Map of Arizona's top producing B&C nontypical mule deer counties all time 2018

Total number of Nontypical B&C mule deer entries since 2000 - Arizona 2018



The points system

Arizona mule deer taken with High Point Outfitters

Arizona Kaibab mule deer taken with High Point Outfitters — A goHUNT Business Member

Managing points and expectations

Coues deer and mule deer use the same bonus points pool.

2018 maximum bonus points for deer: 21

Arizona deer bonus points going into 2018

Arizona resident deer bonus point totals going into the 2018 draw

Arizona nonresident deer bonus point totals going into the 2018 draw

Find your draw odds

I have 0 to 3 mule deer bonus points. What can I expect?

Find your resident mule deer draw odds with 0 points here

Find your nonresident mule deer draw odds with 0 points here

In this point range, there is little chance to draw one of Arizona’s most coveted tags, especially for nonresidents. If you are set on drawing one, then apply for hunts and don't be surprised when you don't draw a tag. If you are willing to accept a lesser tag in the higher profile units, apply for hunts that have tags available in the general pass, such as the archery hunts in Unit 12A East and Unit 12A West or in Unit 12B.

Additionally, think about other units such as Unit 8, Unit 9, Unit 10, Unit 22, Unit 20B, Unit 27, and even some of the southern units like 36A. These may be easier to draw, but are more difficult hunts. Drawing a tag will give you the necessary experience to make the most of those prime hunts down the road.

Find your resident mule deer draw odds with 3 points here

Find your nonresident mule deer draw odds with 3 points here

What can I do with 4 to 10 mule deer bonus points?

Residents and nonresidents with this many points are getting close to drawing great tags, so be careful. Again, if you are dead set on the premium Arizona Strip or Kaibab hunts, apply for those as your first and second choices and leave choices three through five blank. If you are itching to hunt mule deer, a few good choices are Unit 12A East and Unit 12A West, Unit 12B, Unit 3A, Unit 3C and Unit 27. If you are interested in desert mule deer, several units in the Yuma region are close to a guarantee for nonresidents at this point level. Trophy caliber units include Unit 39, Unit 40A, Unit 40B, Unit 42, Unit 45A, Unit 45B and Unit 45C. These hunts can be difficult, especially to the novice, but can produce quality bucks.

Find your resident mule deer draw odds with 10 points here

Find your nonresident mule deer draw odds with 10 points here

What can I expect with 11 or more mule deer bonus points?

It still takes a minimum of 18 points for a nonresident to have a good chance of drawing the coveted Arizona Strip hunts (13A and 13B) and close to that for the late Kaibab hunts (12AE, 12AW). If you are still dead set on the premium hunts, continue putting in for only the hunts you want and keep being patient.

If you are willing to take your chances on an earlier Kaibab hunt, the draw odds are high for nonresidents in this category.

Find your resident mule deer draw odds with 15 points here

Find your nonresident mule deer draw odds with 15 points here


Leftover and OTC deer tags

Giant Arizona OTC mule deer taken with Big Chino Guide Service

Giant 209 7/8" Arizona OTC mule deer taken with Big Chino Guide Service — A goHUNT Business Member

For bowhunters, Arizona has three archery hunts during the calendar year that can be hunted with an OTC permit. Since you have to purchase a license to apply for the draw, you should take full advantage of the OTC tag. In most cases, you can hunt the same unit you applied for in the draw (the OTC hunt is the early and late archery hunts whereas the draw hunt is the rifle hunt). This is a great way to scout your desired unit, if nothing else. You can check out these past Arizona OTC articles below. Stay tuned for more OTC articles this year.

Mule deer taken with Arizona Mountain Outfitters

Mule deer taken with Arizona Mountain Outfitters — A goHUNT Business Member

Alternatively, use Filtering 2.0 to find the perfect OTC unit to hunt during the time that best fits your hunting schedule. Sort by trophy potential to see what great opportunity there is for OTC hunts!

Find your Arizona OTC opportunities here



Arizona's 2018 Coues deer breakdown

Arizona Coues deer with Wards Outfitters

Arizona Coues deer with Ward's Outfitters — A goHUNT Business Member

The Coues whitetail is not a well-known subspecies of the whitetail family; however, in the Southwest, the miniature whitetail has a cult-like following. The B&C minimum for a typical Coues buck is just 110”. For detailed hunting strategies for Coues deer in Arizona, you can check out this recent article.

Current Coues deer herd condition

The Coues deer thrives in harsh conditions throughout its range. Coues deer herds are stable and even flourishing in some parts of the state. Regardless of the conditions, you can always be sure that the resilient Coues deer will find a way to thrive.

Top units to consider for 100” or better Coues deer
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
potential
Buck:doe
ratio
Public land
%
OTC season
available
22 110"+ 43:100 95.6% Yes
23 110"+ 32:100 98.1% Yes
33 110"+ 22:100 85.2% Yes
32 105"+ 32:100 75.6% Yes
36C 105"+ 28:100 81.1% Yes
21 100"+ 26:100 93.3% Yes
24A 100"+ 22:100 86.8% Yes
24B 100"+ 25:100 94.6% Yes
29 100"+ 30:100 68.7% Yes
30A 100"+ 30:100 48.7% Yes

 



How to uncover hidden gem units

If you are willing to hunt south of the I-10 corridor where border traffic is high, then there are leftover Coues tags available every year in good units. Additionally, using the features of Filtering 2.0 will unveil several units to take a trophy Coues buck that often fly under the radar.

Hidden gem units with 100% draw odds with 5 points or less (resident)

Unit Season Trophy
potentia
l
Harvest
success
Points
required
23 Rifle 110"+ 36% 4
33 Rifle
Muzzleloader
110"+ 47%
12%
3
0
36C Rifle 105"+ 46% 2
24B Rifle 100"+ 38% 3
32 Rifle 105"+ 39% 2
29 Rifle 100"+ 41% 2
6B Muzzleloader 90"+ 29% 3
34A Muzzleloader 100"+ 45% 3
35A, 35B
(early)
Muzzleloader 100"+ 11% 3
35A, 35B
(late)
Muzzleloader 100"+ 60% 5
36A Muzzleloader 100"+ 63% 0

 

Hidden gem units with 100% draw odds with 5 points or less (nonresident)

Unit Season Trophy
potentia
l
Harvest
success
Points
required
23 Rifle 110"+ 36% 4
33 Rifle 110"+ 47% 3
24B Rifle 105"+ 38% 3
28 Rifle 95"+ 36% 3
36B Rifle 105"+ 36% 0
32 Rifle 105"+ 35% 0
6B Muzzleloader 90"+ 29% 3
33 Muzzleloader 110"+ 12% 0
34A Muzzleloader 100"+ 12% 5*
35A, 35B
(early)
Muzzleloader 100"+ 11% 4**
36A Muzzleloader 100"+ 63% 0

* Draw odds were 39% at 1 point and no applications at the 2 through 4 point levels.
** Draw odds were 28% at 0 points and no applications at the 1 through 3 point levels.

B&C entry trends for Arizona Coues deer


Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are included if any part of the unit is found within the county. Data provided below courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club.

Arizona's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for typical Coues deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Pima 13 32, 33, 34A, 34B, 36A, 36B, 36C
Cochise 12 28, 29, 30A, 30B, 31, 32, 33, 34B, 35A
Gila 12 222324A24B
Santa Cruz 5 34A, 35A, 35B, 36B
Greenlee 3 2728
Yavapai 3 6A6B82122
Coconino 2 4A4B5A, 5BN5BS6A6B8

Map of Arizona's top producing B&C typical Coues deer counties all time 2018

Total number of Typical B&C Coues deer entries since 2000 - Arizona 2018

Arizona's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for nontypical Coues deer

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Gila 11 22, 23, 24A, 24B
Pima 5 32, 33, 34A, 34B, 36A, 36B, 36C
Cochise 2 282930A30B31323334B35A
Greenlee 2 27, 28
Santa Cruz 2 34A, 35A, 35B, 36B

Map of Arizona's top producing B&C nontypical Coues deer counties all time 2018

Total number of Nontypical B&C Coues deer entries since 2000 - Arizona 2018



The point system

The bonus points race

Coues deer and mule deer use the same bonus points pool.

2018 maximum bonus points for deer: 21

Find your draw odds

Managing points and expectations

I have 0 Coues deer bonus points. What can I expect?

The truth of the matter is that you have a lot of options! There are several choices for hunts that have over a 75% draw rate; some of these hunts even have leftover tags. December rut hunts are certainly more scarce, but October hunts can be excellent options for those willing to put in the work of scouting and finding the bucks. Good units to take a respectable Coues buck (which also have good draw odds) include Unit 29, Unit 31, Unit 32, Unit 33 and Unit 36A/B/C. With no points, it will be tough to draw the coveted units; however, there is always the OTC option if you are willing to leave your rifle and bring a bow instead.

Find your resident Coues deer draw odds with 0 points here

Find your nonresident Coues deer draw odds with 0 points here

What can I do with 4 to 10 Coues deer bonus points?

With this many points, you've got a chance of drawing a really great hunt. Residents looking for a rut hunt have decent odds in the high country units, including Unit 6A, Unit 6B, Unit 8 and Unit 27. Nonresident chances are high for units south of I-10, including Unit 29, Unit 30A and Unit 36A/B/C. You can also look at earlier hunts in the more coveted units like Unit 22, Unit 23, Unit 32 and Unit 33.

Draw odds details page links with 4 points

Find your resident Coues deer draw odds with 4 points here

Find your nonresident Coues deer draw odds with 4 points here

Draw odds details page links with 10 points

Find your resident Coues deer draw odds with 10 points here

Find your nonresident Coues deer draw odds with 10 points here

What can I expect with 11 or more Coues deer bonus points?

Residents and nonresidents alike have high odds for coveted December Coues whitetail tags in this point range (and you could draw pretty much any Coues deer tag in the state). In this case, the Mogollon Rim, Unit 22 and Unit 23 are hard to beat along with Unit 32 and Unit 33 in the south.

Find your resident Coues deer draw odds with 15 points here

Find your nonresident Coues deer draw odds with 15 points here


Leftover and OTC deer tags

Arizona has leftover deer tags every year. Most of these tags are for Coues whitetail in areas south of Tucson. These tags are leftover because they occur in remote regions of the state with a higher frequency of border issues from illegal crossing; however, these hunts can produce quality bucks. Leftover tags are acquired by a first come, first served process — first by mail beginning on July 23, 2018, and then at any AZGFD office. Proceed with caution, but enjoy the hunt.

The following warning is from the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Unit 36B is a corridor for the trafficking of undocumented aliens (UDAs) and drugs. Hunters will see the trails and trash left by these people. Hunters are urged to use caution when hunting and camping in Unit 36B or any of the other border units. It is advisable to use some sort of visible anti-theft device on your vehicle, for vehicle thefts have increased the past two years. Having a group of UDAs walk through a hunting area may negatively affect your hunt. The key to hunting in the border units is the ability to flex and adapt. To report UDAs, call the Border Patrol at 1-877-872-7435, or in the case of an emergency, dial 911.”

There are also lots of OTC Coues deer hunting opportunities in Arizona. You can utilize Filtering 2.0 to unlock some hidden gem OTC hunts.



Arizona's 2018 desert bighorn sheep breakdown

Arizona is one of the few states to have huntable populations of both desert bighorn and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Arizona also has great trophy potential. For 2018, there will be a total of 111 sheep tags available: 95 for desert bighorn sheep and 16 for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Nonresidents can only apply for units with two or more tags.

Current desert bighorn sheep herd condition

Most sheep herds are doing well. Unfortunately, Arizona has had a disease problem in Unit 15 (BW, C, D) in the western portion of the state that may affect older ram sightings and harvests in 2018. Any hunter who draws a tag in these units should expect to see some impacts and maybe even diminished herd quality.


Nonresident units for Desert bighorn sheep in 2018

Unit Trophy
Potential
Number of potential
nonresident tags
12BE
(early)
155"+ 1
12BE
(late)
155"+ 1
13BN 165"+ 1
15DN 175"+ 2
15DS 175"+ 1
16A 160"+ 1
16AS 160"+ 1
22S 180"+ 1
28 170"+ 1
31, 32 175"+ 1
37A
(early)
170"+ 1
37A
(late)
170"+ 1
37B 160"+ 1
39W 170"+ 1
40A 170"+ 1
40B
(Gila Mtns)
160"+ 2
40B
(Mohawk)
160"+ 1
40B
(Tinajas)
160"+ 1
41E 160"+ 1
41W 160"+ 1
43B 165"+ 2
44AE 170"+ 1
44BN 165"+ 1
44BS 165"+ 1
45A 155"+ 2
45B 155"+ 1
45C 155"+ 2
46A 160"+ 1
46BW 160"+ 2
 

Top units for ram:ewe ratios

Unit Ram:ewe
ratio
Trophy
potentia
l
46A 105:100 160"+
13A 100:100 155"+
45B 89:100 155"+
46B 86:100 160"+
15D 82:100 175"+
39 82:100 170"+
31 70:100 175"+
32 70:100 175"+
40B 69:100 160"+
37A 65:100 170"+

 

Biggest Desert bighorn ram taken in each unit

Unit 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
9, 10 155 3/8" 152 0/8" 154 2/8" 160 5/8" 143 1/8"
12A, 12BW 144 5/8" 136 1/8" 161 2/8" 128 2/8" 154 4/8"
12BE 164 7/8" 149 5/8" 169 0/8" 162 6/8" 144 6/8"
13A 163 6/8" 164 3/8" 174 2/8" 165 3/8" NA
13BN 171 6/8" 172 7/8" 168 7/8" 172 7/8" 163 7/8"
15A, 15BE NA NA NA NA NA
15B 141 4/8" NA NA NA NA
15BW NA 152 6/8" 150 1/8" 161 0/8" 157 3/8"
15CN 109 7/8" 163 5/8" 154 3/8" 154 5/8" 171 2/8"
15CS 166 4/8" 162 6/8" 150 4/8" 166 6/8" 168 3/8"
15DN 172 3/8" 167 1/8" 176 0/8" 172 7/8" 173 1/8"
15DS NA NA 170 2/8" 169 7/8" 179 3/8"
16A 166 3/8" 167 6/8" 151 7/8" 171 2/8" 169 1/8"
16AS, 18B 170 2/8" 171 3/8" 156 4/8" 148 2/8" 161 5/8"
16B 156 4/8" 156 0/8" 157 7/8" 163 1/8" 165 2/8"
22S 184 3/8" 181 0/8" 179 4/8" 184 2/8" 180 3/8"
24B Sup. Wild. 177 6/8" 178 7/8" 178 1/8" 173 7/8" 179 5/8"
24BN 177 4/8" NA 174 2/8" 170 1/8" 179 0/8"
24BS 177 4/8" 185 1/8" 181 0/8" 185 5/8" 186 1/8"
28 186 6/8" NA 171 2/8" 173 4/8" 159 6/8"
31, 32 156 6/8" 173 7/8" 171 1/8" 158 7/8" 170 5/8"
37A
(early)
182 4/8" 170 4/8" 167 0/8" 174 6/8" 164 3/8"
37A
(late)
177 4/8" 170 4/8" 167 0/8" 174 6/8" 164 3/8"
37B 175 3/8" 167 6/8" 170 3/8" 171 6/8" 162 5/8"
39E 163 3/8" 171 1/8" 156 5/8" 159 3/8" 164 6/8"
39W 163 6/8" 161 2/8" 162 0/8" 165 3/8" 164 6/8"
40A 160 6/8" 166 3/8" 179 6/8" 170 6/8" 170 1/8"
40B Gila 172 6/8" 169 6/8" 161 4/8" 158 4/8" 151 0/8"
40B Mohawk 163 7/8" 168 3/8" 155 3/8" 172 0/8" 162 3/8"
40B Tinajas 177 2/8" 176 4/8" 173 1/8" 159 1/8" 162 4/8"
41E 160 1/8" 164 2/8" 148 2/8" 155 6/8" 171 5/8"
41W 161 0/8" 178 4/8" 164 7/8" 148 4/8" 169 3/8"
42/44AE 167 3/8" 165 2/8" 168 2/8"  173 5/8" 168 5/8"
43A 149 1/8" 164 5/8" 171 6/8" 165 0/8" 181 5/8"
43B 167 3/8" 169 3/8" 179 7/8" 164 3/8" 167 3/8"
44AE 172 0/8" 161 7/8" 149 2/8" 156 1/8" 159 2/8"
44BN 173 7/8" 169 3/8" 169 0/8" 180 2/8" 174 6/8"
45BS 169 2/8" 178 3/8" 174 5/8" 175 4/8" 157 0/8"
45A 167 0/8" 174 3/8" 161 4/8" 164 5/8" 146 7/8"
45B 159 1/8" 165 1/8" 155 3/8" 138 6/8" 157 0/8"
45C 160 5/8" 171 0/8" 154 2/8" 157 3/8" 155 6/8"
46AE 167 5/8" 173 7/8" 168 4/8" 171 0/8" 171 3/8"
46BE 157 1/8" 165 5/8" 165 5/8" 176 0/8" 165 0/8"
46BW 170 3/8" 164 4/8" 172 2/8" 176 0/8" 165 0/8"

 


 

The goHUNT hit list units for Arizona desert bighorn sheep
 

Top units to consider for 165” or better desert bighorn sheep
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
Potential
Ram:ewe
ratio
22 180"+ 50:100
15D 175"+ 82:100
24B 175"+ 49:100
31 175"+ 70:100
32 175"+ 70:100
28 170"+ 22:100
37A 170"+ 65:100
39 170"+ 82:100
40A 170"+ 56:100
44A 170"+ 30:100
13B 165"+ 35:100
18B 165"+ 37:100
42 165"+ 27:100
43A 165"+ 48:100
43B 165"+ 38:100
44B 165"+ 54:100


B&C entry trends for Arizona desert bighorn sheep


Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are included if any part of the unit is found within the county. Data provided below courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club.

Arizona's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for desert bighorn sheep

County No. of
entries
Units found within county
Mohave 13 13A13B15B West15C15D16A16B18B
Pinai 12 24B313237A37B39
Maricopa 11 22, 24B, 31, 32
Pima 9 3237A40A40B46A
La Paz 8 43A, 44B, 45A, 45B

Map of Arizona's top producing B&C Desert bighorn sheep counties all time 2018

TOP B&C DESERT BIGHORN SHEEP LOCATIONS SINCE 2010 - Arizona 2018



Arizona's 2018 Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep breakdown

With only seven units to choose from, draw odds for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep are slim at best. Over the last few years, Arizona has provided hunters with several rams that have surpassed the 175” mark. With only a few unit options available—and nearly all of the tags drawn by resident applicants—nonresidents hoping to pull an Arizona tag will have a long wait.

Current Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep herd condition

The herd is small in Arizona, but conditions are stable with big rams harvested within the state over the past several years.

Nonresident units for Rocky bighorn sheep in 2018

Unit Trophy
Potential
Number of potential
nonresident tags
1, 27 170"+
180"+
1
6A, 22N
(early)
180"+
175"+
1
6A, 22N
(late)
180"+
175"+
1
27
(early)
170"+ 1
27
(late)
170"+ 1
27S, 28
(early)
180"+
170"+
1
27S, 28
(late)
180"+
170"+
1

 

The goHUNT hit list units for Arizona Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep

Top units to consider for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep
(not in order of quality)

Unit Trophy
Potential
Ram:ewe
ratio
Public land
%
27 180"+ 81:100 94.6%
6A 180"+ 95:100 94.7%
22 175"+ 95:100 95.6%
1 170"+ 17:100 91.1%
24A 170"+ NA 86.8%
28 170"+ 200:100 86.5%
23 165"+ 33:100 98.1%

 

Biggest rocky bighorn ram taken in each unit

Unit 2017 2016 2015 2014
27
(early)
178 4/8" 187 4/8" 179 4/8" 170 4/8"
27
(late)
180 6/8" 187 4/8" 179 4/8" 170 4/8"
6A, 22N
(early)
171 1/8" 183 2/8" 185 4/8" 181 2/8"
6A, 22N 181 1/8" 183 2/8" 185 4/8" 181 2/8"
1, 27 164 1/8" 190 4/8" 175 7/8" NA
27S28N
(early)
185 7/8" 174 5/8" 178 3/8" 178 1/8"
27S, 28N
(late)
174 2/8" 174 5/8" 178 3/8" 178 1/8"
23, 24A 181 1/8" 138 1/8" 170 6/8" NA

Map of Arizona's top producing B&C Rocky bighorn sheep counties all time 2018

TOP 10 B&C ROCKY BIGHORN SHEEP LOCATIONS SINCE 2010 - Arizona 2018


 

B&C entry trends for Arizona Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep units


Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are included if any part of the unit is found within the county. Data provided below courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club.

Arizona's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep

County

No. of
entries
Units found
within county
Yavapai 4 6A
Apache 3 1, 2A, 2C, 3A, 3B, 27
Coconino 1 6A
Gila 1 22, 23, 24A
Graham 1 27
Greenlee 1 27

 



The bighorn sheep point system

The bonus points race

Arizona desert bighorns and Rocky Mountain bighorns use the same bonus points pool.

2018 maximum bonus points for desert bighorn sheep: 29

Arizona sheep bonus points going into 2018

Arizona resident sheep bonus point totals going into the 2018 draw

Arizona nonresident sheep bonus point totals going into the 2018 draw

Find your draw odds

Managing bighorn sheep points and expectations

I have less than 25 bonus points. What can I expect?

Because of the random draw, there is always a chance for nonresidents, though a slim one. If you want the best shot at drawing a tag without maximum points, follow a few rules: First, always apply for hunts with multiple tags. Second, avoid the premium hunts; those tags will be taken by residents in the bonus pass. For desert bighorns, these units include Unit 22, Unit 24B, Unit 31 and Unit 32. All other units offer a valid chance. All of the Unit 15 sub-units have suffered a disease outbreak, making older rams less plentiful; it would be wise to avoid these units in 2018. Residents should follow the same path. Always apply for the hunt you want and do not settle for purchasing a bonus point instead. You only have as many chances as years you apply, so apply and hope for the best.

Find your resident Rocky bighorn sheep draw odds with 0 points here

Find your nonresident Rocky bighorn sheep draw odds with 0 points here

Find your resident Desert bighorn sheep draw odds with 0 points here

Find your nonresident Desert bighorn sheep draw odds with 0 points here

I have 25 or more sheep bonus points. What can I expect?

You’ve waited this long—you will be drawing the tag you've been waiting for very shortly. The leading desert bighorn units are still Unit 22, Unit 24B, Unit 31, Unit 32 and Unit 44B North. If you are interested in Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, the best units remain Unit 6A, Unit 22 and Unit 27 in 2018.

Find your resident Rocky bighorn sheep draw odds with 25 points here

Find your nonresident Rocky bighorn sheep draw odds with 25 points here

Find your resident Desert bighorn sheep draw odds with 25 points here

Find your nonresident Desert bighorn sheep draw odds with 25 points here



Arizona's 2018 bison breakdown

Arizona offers the unique opportunity to harvest a trophy bison although these opportunities are limited. The general bison hunts occur in Unit 5AUnit 5BN and Unit 5BS on the Raymond Ranch and these hunts are for cow or yearling only. These hunts require the hunter be accompanied by an AZGFD employee who designates which animal can be taken. Bison hunts on the Kaibab and Arizona Strip are more challenging, but also more rewarding. All of these hunts occur in the same three units (12AW, 12B and 13A) and are limited opportunity hunts. There are separate seasons for rifle, muzzleloader and archery that run from August through the end of December.

Current bison herd condition

Because bison do not succumb to predation like other big game species in Arizona and because they are quite nomadic—always moving to an optimal range—bison are thriving on the Kaibab and Arizona Strip.

Top units to consider for Arizona bison
(not in order of quality)

Unit Harvest
success
Bull:cow
ratio
Public land
%
12AW 48% 51:100 100%
12B 48% 51:100 97.9%
13A 48% NA 85.4%
5A 95% NA 83.2%
5BN 95% NA 87%
5BS NA NA 98.2%
 

B&C entry trends for Arizona bison units


Units listed below may not have a current hunt for this species. Units in this table are included if any part of the unit is found within the county. Data provided below courtesy of Boone and Crockett Club.

Arizona's top B&C producing counties since 2010 for bison

County

No. of
entries
Units found
within county
Coconino 7 5A, 5B North, 5B South, 12A East, 12A West, 12B, 13A

Map of Arizona's top producing B&C bison counties all time 2018

TOP B&C BISON LOCATION ENTRIES SINCE 2010 - 2018 Arizona



The point system

2018 maximum bonus points for bison: 47

Arizona bison bonus points going into 2018

Arizona resident bison bonus point totals going into the 2018 draw

Arizona nonresident bison bonus point totals going into the 2018 draw

Managing points and expectations

Tags are generally drawn by residents with over 25 points due to most tags being gone in the bonus point pass. All trophy bison hunts occur in the same unit group: 12AW, 12B and 13A, which means that there are really only two decisions to make: when can you hunt and what type of hunt are you looking for? Select a hunt that fits both your calendar and your preferred hunting method. If you are willing to hunt bison without the possibility of a trophy, the hunts in Unit 5A, Unit 5BN and Unit 5BS could be a great option. You can't draw if you don't apply.

Find your resident bison draw odds with 0 points here

Find your nonresident bison draw odds with 0 points here

Find your resident bison draw odds with 25 points here

Find your nonresident bison draw odds with 25 points here

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