Application strategy 2022: Arizona Antelope
Arizona's 2022 antelope application overview
Note: The online application deadline for Arizona antelope is Feb. 8, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. Arizona time. You can apply online here.
New for 2022
- Arizona is offering a new online hunter’s education course. Once completed, one lifetime bonus point for each species will be added to your account. This is a great way to increase the number of bonus points you have and a must if you plan to keep up with other applicants. You must be 18+ to complete the course and the cost is $300 for nonresidents and $150 for residents. It may take two weeks to a month to have the extra point show up in your account. Do not delay in taking the course!
- Hunting licenses will be sold online only. The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) will no longer offer traditional paper licenses sold through license dealers. Many current dealers will continue to sell licenses, but they will do so through AZGFD's online purchase system.
- Starting Jan. 1, 2022, hunters cannot use a trail camera for the purposes of taking or locating wildlife or aiding in the take of wildlife. This is a new rule. Also, be aware that trail cameras cannot be used for the purpose of scouting for hunts.
- New archery antelope hunt in Unit 6A, Aug. 19 to Sept. 1, 2022.
- New rifle hunt in Unit 19A, Sept. 2 to 8, 2022.
Your goHUNT INSIDER account also has the NEW Point Tracker feature. This allows you to enter the number of points you have for each state and species and, as you research through Filtering 2.0 and Draw Odds, your point total will automatically be highlighted.
How to apply
To apply, visit www.azgfd.com/hunting/draw and login to your AZGFD portal account. If you have not created a portal you will need to take the necessary steps to do so. Once inside your portal click on “Apply For A Draw.”
Now is the time to check your portal and review your bonus point totals. Last year, AZGFD transitioned into a new system and, as such, many applicants reported login issues as well as issues with their bonus points not matching their personal records. Check your points to ensure that you have the proper number of points. If something seems amiss, call AZGFD at 602-942-3000 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Do not wait to call if there is an issue. Take care of it well in advance of the application deadline.
Applicants must possess a valid Arizona hunting license to apply for a hunting tag. That license must be valid on the last day of the application period (Feb. 8, 2022). Check your AZGFD portal account.
Below you can find important information and an overview of Arizona’s rules/regulations, the draw system, bonus points, tag and license fees and an interactive boundary line map on our State Profile. Once at the State Profile, you can find even more information on applying in Arizona. You can also view the Arizona Antelope Profile to access historical and statistical data to help you find trophy units.
Important dates and information
- The deadline to apply online is Feb. 8, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. MST.
- The deadline to update credit card information is roughly Feb. 25, 2022 (AZGFD will provide notice on its website when the deadline to update credit cards is finalized).
- Payment must be made by VISA or Mastercard for online applications.
- Applicants must have a valid Arizona hunting license to then apply for a permit.
- There is a $15 nonrefundable application fee per species.
- Permits are awarded through a hybrid draw system, bonus point draw and a subsequent random draw (see draw system details below for more information).
- If you need help looking up your Arizona bonus points, check out this article here.
- The Arizona Big Game Super Raffle drawing will be held in July 2022.
Arizona antelope cost
|Item||Nonresident||Nonresident Youth||Resident||Resident Youth|
Note: The cost of the permit will only be charged if you are successful in the draw. If you are successful, AZGFD will attempt to charge the card used when you applied. If the card is declined, they will not attempt to contact you. They will move past your application to the next applicant in the queue. Make sure the card you use is current and has the room to accommodate the permit(s) you applied for!
The Arizona Draw System
Bonus points: understanding the draw
Arizona has a modified bonus point system where a portion of the permits are allocated to applicants with the most bonus points who apply for any given hunt and the rest are randomly allocated. In Arizona, they refer to stages of the draw as “passes.” Bonus point permits are awarded in the first pass of the draw. The second pass is when random permits are awarded. Within the second pass (aka random draw), bonus points are taken into consideration. This means that your odds of drawing get better in the random draw with every bonus point you acquire. An applicant with no points still has a chance in the random draw.
Here are more details of the bonus point system. The system grants an applicant one random number for each bonus point that has been accumulated going into the drawing for that species. Each bonus point random number is in addition to the application random number entry itself. For example, someone with five bonus points would have six random numbers generated for their application. The lowest generated number becomes the application number. When they begin to allocate permits, they start with the applicant who has the lowest number. This system provides applicants with an added chance of receiving a low random number in the draw; hence, improving draw odds.
Bonus points are species specific. Applicants obtain a bonus point each time they apply and are unsuccessful in the draw. Applicants can apply for “point only” as their first choice, but we only advise that if an applicant cannot afford the time or the cost of the permit if they were to draw it. Remember that Arizona offers a portion of the permits in a random draw and you will automatically get a bonus point if you are unsuccessful in the draw, so it makes sense to apply for hunts and not just a bonus point. Bonus points will be purged if you successfully draw a permit. Bonus points will also be purged if an applicant has failed to apply in the draw for five consecutive years.
There are two other ways an applicant can gain an additional bonus point. If an applicant has applied for five consecutive years and has completed the hunter’s education course, they could go into a draw with two points already even if they drew a permit the previous year. More information below.
- Loyalty bonus point. A loyalty bonus point is an additional bonus point that is awarded after having applied for any given species for five consecutive years. This is a species-specific point and will not be taken away when you draw a tag. It will be purged if you miss a year of applying and would restart the process. Don’t miss a year of applying!
- Arizona hunter’s education course bonus point. Arizona offers a permanent bonus point for each species if you complete their hunter’s education course. In the past, you needed to attend and take this course in person in order to obtain the point. That is no longer the case. Starting in November of 2021, you can take their hunter’s education course online. You’ll need to pay the $300 course fee and complete the instructional and test portion of the class. Approximately two weeks to 30 days after you have completed the course, they will update your account with the extra bonus point. This point is permanent and will never be purged.
Arizona offers a safeguard for applicants who draw a permit and may want to return it in order to have their points restored. This program is called PointGuard. The fee is $5 per species and can be purchased at the same time you apply. If you purchased PointGuard for a permit you drew and decided to return it, it must be done at least one day prior to opening day. You’ll also need to complete the surrender application form. If you use PointGuard, you will have your bonus points restored plus one for that year. You will forfeit the permit and application fees. Also, be aware that PointGuard can only be used one time per species, meaning you cannot draw a permit and return it year after year (retaining your points) until you are ready to hunt.
Permit splits and allocation
Arizona allocates 20% of the elk and antelope permits in the bonus point pass and 80% in the random pass. Within the 80% (random pass), up to 5% of those can be allocated to nonresidents. Within the 20% (bonus pass), up to 5% can be allocated to nonresidents. Thus, up to 10% of the total permits can be allocated to nonresidents; however, it is not guaranteed.
Applicants can apply for up to five hunt choices on their application. Only your first and second choice are considered before moving to the next application. What that means is an applicant's third, fourth and fifth choice will only be considered if there are leftover permits. Be aware that if you draw any of your choices, your points will be purged. For that reason, we advise applicants to only include first and second choices unless they are willing to burn points on the types of hunts that make it to the leftover list.
Arizona will allow up to four individuals to apply on a group application for elk and antelope. The group application is treated as one application where, if selected, all members of the group would receive a permit. If there are not enough permits to meet the number of applicants on a group application, the application has no chance of being successful. Arizona will not over-allocate the permit quota to accommodate a group application. A group application will have their bonus points averaged and rounded to the nearest whole number (.5 and up would round up to the nearest whole number, .4 and down would round down).
Youth and mentoring opportunities
Youth can apply for and hunt big game in Arizona at 10 years old. They must have completed a hunter’s education course and purchased an Arizona hunting license. That license is only $5 for youth (10 to 17). We highly recommend that you begin to apply and build points for your youth beginning at age 10.
Arizona has a unique program that will allow a parent, grandparent or legal guardian to transfer a permit they have drawn to their youth (10 to 17). The youth must have a valid hunting license and completed hunter’s education if they are younger than 14.
Arizona's 2022 antelope breakdown
Historically, Arizona has been “the” destination for world class bucks, but, at this point, Arizona antelope may be the most overhyped and overrated hunt in the West. The outlook for antelope is not great and it’s unfortunate that there are so many applicants in the system with so many points. If you are considering applying for antelope in Arizona and have very few points, it is likely not worth it unless you are already buying the $160 hunting license to apply for other species Arizona has to offer. The cost to apply is only $15 and there are random licenses allocated in the draw. If you are only interested in Arizona for antelope, review the draw odds and the number of applicants at each point level in the table below before you decide to apply. The reality is, for almost every applicant, your application is essentially a $15 raffle ticket and it’s statistically stacked against you that you will ever draw.
Antelope populations and trophy potential have both dipped throughout Arizona and, although there will be a handful of 80”+ bucks killed in the state every year, the chances of finding a trophy buck is much worse than it has been in years past. The drop in populations is correlated with drought conditions and poor habitat that has persisted over the last decade. Horn growth can be decent during a drought year, but dry conditions are not helping fawn production and survival. Add in coyote predation and it spirals even further. Arizona did have a better summer in 2021 with substantial amounts of monsoonal rain in most of the state. Overall, it’s going to take a few years of good moisture to increase herd sizes.
In response to dwindling herds, AZGFD has cut the number of permits throughout the state to the tune of almost 100 permits. The cuts are needed, but it’s not going to help move through the number of applicants backlogged in the system.
For those of us who are buying the $160 hunting license to apply for elk, deer and bighorn sheep, it still makes sense to apply for antelope; however keep your expectations in check. Below we outline the goHUNT hitlist for the best Arizona antelope hunts if you do decide to take a swing for the fence approach.
The current drought status in Arizona
2022 top hitlist for hunts to consider for 80" or better bucks
to draw (2021)
to draw (2021)
|5BS - Archery||80"+||25%||50% with 22 pts||<.01%|
|5BS - Rifle||80"+||95%||100% with 29 pts||.20% with 27 pts|
|5A - Archery||80"+||100%||1 random permit||<.01%|
|5A - Rifle||80"+||71%||100% with 28 pts||<.01%|
|6A - Archery||80"+||New for 2022||New for 2022||New for 2022|
|6A - Rifle||80"+||86%||100% with 27 pts||<.01%|
|4B - Archery||80"+||50%||50% with 17 pts||5.1% with 20 pts|
|4B - Rifle||80"+||84%||100% with 27 pts||100% with 28 pts|
|17B/19B - Archery||80"+||100%||100% with 24 pts||<.01%|
|17B/19B - Archery||80"+||100%||100% with 22 pts||<.01%|
|17B/19B - Muzzleloader||80"+||100%||50% with 27 pts||<.01%|
|18A - Archery||80"+||100%||100% with 18 pts||<.01%|
|18A - Muzzleloader||80"+||100%||100% with 24 pts||<.01%|
|19AN - Archery||80"+||54%||50% with 18 pts||3% with 21 pts|
|19AN - Muzzleloader||80"+||100%||50% with 24 pts||<.01%|
|19AN - Rifle||80"+||New for 2022||New for 2022||New for 2022|
|19AN - Rifle||80"+||100%||100% with 26 pts||100% with 26 pts|
|19B - Rifle||80"+||100%||100% with 27 pts||<.01%|
How to uncover hidden gem antelope units
Typically, within this section of an application article, we have some tips and tricks to find opportunities that may not be on the radar for most applicants. Unfortunately, this is not the case for Arizona antelope. The reality is that there were 55 hunts available for nonresidents in 2021 and, out of those, there were eight that offered a bonus point permit, which required over 19 points to guarantee. The best random odds were about 5% for one hunt (4B archery with 20 points). Most hunts had random odds from one to 29 points in the 1% to 3% range. The best advice we can offer is to review the odds and the table below listing units with the most permits offered and pick one that looks enticing to you and hope for some luck. Someone is going to draw. Two of us in the goHUNT office drew archery permits last year in units where the odds were <.01%. There is hope!
Arizona antelope hunts with 14 plus total permits
|1 - Rifle||75"+||79%||25|
|2A - Rifle||80"+||83%||15|
|4B - Rifle||80"+||84%||15|
|5B - Rifle||80"+||95%||21|
|7 - Rifle||75"+||66%||38|
|9 - Rifle||75"+||92%||20|
|10 - Rifle||80"+||80%||80|
|19A - Rifle||80"+||100%||15|
|19A - Archery||80"+||54%||14|
|1 - Archery||75"+||7%||30|
|10 - Archery||80"+||35%||35|
THE POINTS SYSTEM FOR ANTELOPE
2022 maximum resident bonus points for antelope: 32
2022 maximum nonresident bonus points for antelope: 32
Managing points and expectations
So why apply for Arizona antelope? The only reason that someone should apply for antelope in Arizona is if they are already buying the hunting license to apply for the other species offered. Beyond that, it’s very hard to make a case for applying unless you have 20+ points. For the few lucky applicants who draw a permit, Arizona has historically offered good trophy potential and opportunities to harvest. It makes sense to apply for the extra $15 fee, but you better have your lucky rabbit's foot handy when you do it.