AZ Unit 1 archery elk for my son's graduation (2014)
It's hard to believe, but my oldest son will soon be graduating from college. He has never been on a high quality elk hunt. I've been looking forward to this for a long time and have been building points for him in both Arizona and Wyoming. Next year (2014) we can draw in one of these states, we just need to pick which one to apply for since we need to apply for both about the same time.
For Arizona I have 15 elk points, and he has 10 points, so we will average at 13 points. I think we would have an excellent chance to draw Unit 1 archery elk if we apply together. My son is an accomplished bowhunter and has taken several blacktail deer and whitetails spot and stalk. He has never had a quality elk tag before. I think Unit 1 should be just about perfect being 3 years after the Wallow fire. I have taken several nice bulls and would like to hunt for a 340+ bull. My son would be absolutely thrilled with a 310+ bull! The only concern I have is the tag increase they have for this year's archery season and what the tag numbers will be in 2014. I would appreciate any input on how Unit 1 is looking and the affect of the larger numbers of tags will have on a unit of that size. Is a 340+ bull a reasonable goal? Personally I would hunt the whole season, my son would come down for a week.
For Wyoming, we both have max points. I have identified a unit both of us would likely draw. We could bowhunt early and go back and rifle hunt later.
Two great options. Arizona is our first choice if it looks like the right year to draw in Unit 1. We are really looking forward to a great elk hunt together.
Thanks for your input.
UH I've spent a lot time in unit 1 in AZ and there are a lot of big bulls in there. Unit 1 would be my top choice for AZ with Unit 9 a close second. Unit 1 just has a lot of elk and trophy size bulls. The terrain is good with open areas, high spots for glassing, access to areas and camping. Unit 9 has good trophy potential, but is much thicker and harder to glass. Most of the unit is public land and has elk throughout which disperses the hunters fairly well. I've hunted elk in AZ for 20 years and Unit 1 would be my top choice, next to the White Mountain Apache res, which isn't affordable. Go for it and good luck! It should be the right year for regrowth, big elk and usually best time is end of Sept & 1st week of Oct.
Thanks Meathunter. That is pretty much what I had it narrowed down to Unit 1 or Unit 9. It looks like there are still 30 or so nonresidents ahead of me in Unit 9 so I would likely be chasing it for another 4 to 5 years. The last Arizona elk tag I had was in Unit 9 and it was a drought year and it was PAINFUL. Only got on one bull, sitting water on my entire hunt. I don't think Unit 1 has the drought concerns as much.
Yeah Unit 9 can be tough on a dry year. RMEF has done a lot to build catchments and run water lines in 9. Seems like during a hunt there, it's hard to find a water hole to sit on. Unit 1 has year round streams, lakes, water holes so drought isn't as much of an issue. I hunted unit 9, 3 years ago when I was resident there and it took a lot of effort to get into them. For sure, quality elk hunt in either but if you can draw 1 go for it!
Umpqua Hunter, We were in about your exact position this year and opted to try to draw Wyoming first since the results are posted so early. If we didn't draw we tried for same thing AZ unit 1 archery but our points are one less than you. Well we drew WY this year so then just put in for AZ points. However, it only took 11 points to get a NR tag this year so we are both highly likely to be hunting unit 1 next season. A shame they pushed the seasons up a week. Hot enough up there. My hunting partner is from Oregon. We drew it last in 2002.
Hey Zim, that would be cool if we all got tags. If we draw we ought to exchange numbers.
For Unit 1, my estimates are that it was a 45% draw for non-residents with 12 points this year (2013). That is based on an assumption that the 10% who drew with the highest level of points were all non-residents (which is no necessarily true). If there is something that breaks it down better by actual non-resident applicants I haven't found that resource yet.
I do think I need to pick Arizona or Wyoming for next year. This year Arizona applications were due February 12. For the past 3 years Wyoming's elk results were posted between February 18 and the 21st.
Like you I'm inclined to go for Arizona next year because I'd like to start rebuilding points, rather than continue the chase of Unit 9. For Unit 9 there are 30 or so applicants ahead of me (3 years I won't draw), but there are also those ahead of me who are just buying points or are applying for ultra long shot early firearm hunts (like I do) until they are in position to draw. I hunted Unit 9 on one of the worst years in the past two decades, so it's got me a bit gun shy too.
In Wyoming we have max points, so our options just get better as the years pass.
It is a bummer AZ bumped the season earlier, but I think this fall (2013) is the latest dates it has been in years. Next year should only be a day earlier.
I hunted 1 this year, Internet friends hunted 27. I would seriously look at 27 as a viable alternative to 1. Lots of people in 1 and the fire really opened up the country. 27 is rougher and therefor creates more spots where you can be out of sight till they are in bow range. The western area of 1 was way too open for my tastes. More Elk, more residents hunting there because it's flat, but you can see for 1/4 mile. The northern area of 1, where it didn't burn might be a good location too. I tagged out before I got up there but it was on my list.
I did see that residents don't like to hike either up or down hill much at all.