Arizona Archery Mule Deer

Kwandog

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I've got an otc archery mule deer tag in Arizona this year and will be planning on hunting the week it opens back up in December. I’ve solo hunted free range audad in west Texas and fell in love with that type of hunting (I live in Georgia). I wanted to see if I could gather some information as I’m starting to plan the hunt and new to western hunting.

My main goal is to get way from pressure so is there a part of the state with less hunting pressure than others or less access points in to the units? I’m wanting to pack in and camp in order to get away from pressure, is this safe to do closer to the border or would that be advised against? What is the best source for hunt unit and trail maps for the Arizona units when trying to map out access, roads etc? Any advice is greatly appreciated.
 

Blackcats06

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As for maps, any app will work (onx, gohunt, etc)

Pressure will be determined on day of the week, what unit you are in, ect. As for backpacking in near the border, you can do it safely.

Do some research on what mule deer units were open in december last year because not all units will open back up in december.
 

Steve O

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If someone tells you here where the less crowded areas are, they will not be that way when you pull in there in December…

The AZGFD unit descriptions are full of great information. Make sure you check which units still have quota left after early archery finishes in September.
 
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Kwandog

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@Steve O I meant more of non-crowded part of the state rather than unit but I definitely get what you're saying. I spoke with some one at AZGFD and they helped me find info on what units were closed when last year so that is a big help @Blackcats06 .
 
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Crowded is relative. I hunted what some would consider a “crowded” unit a few years ago. Mostly it was guys road hunting and glassing off the road.

I’d not put too much thought into that aspect. Look for a unit with decent deer populations, terrain you want to hunt, camping logistics, and then just go for it. You should also have a backup unit or two that you e-scout in case your quota fills, the roads are impassable when you get there, etc.
 
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Kwandog

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@willfrye027 awesome that is good to hear. I've just heard how it can be somewhat difficult to get away from others with so much road access throughout the units so that makes me feel better.
 
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@willfrye027 awesome that is good to hear. I've just heard how it can be somewhat difficult to get away from others with so much road access throughout the units so that makes me feel better.
The buck I killed in AZ, was about 500 yards from the road but not easily seen from said road. Guys drove by him all morning while I was waiting for it to bed..once while he was trying to mount a doe! It was nerve wracking hoping nobody else saw him..but they didn’t. I went on a lot of unmolested stalks that week before that deer..Again almost nobody was getting out of their vehicle except to stalk deer they spotted from the road. May not be the case everywhere..but I do not worry too much about pressure. Units with lots of deer, will have lots of guys. No secrets these days.
 
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Kwandog

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Wow I bet that was causing some anxiety. @willfrye027 Due to lack of water sources it looks like backpacking may not be an option. Good to know that I can put some distance between myself and others without packing in. @S.Clancy
 

Weldor

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The unit I live in usually shuts down within a day or 2. I have seen nice bucks taken within 1/4-1/2 mile of my place. Those deer are habitualized to seeing people all the time. There are hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians pretty much everywhere. Just find a place and hunt it , you'll know within a day if there are any Mulies around. Enjoy .
 

mavinwa2

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For units still open in December, these can become crowded due to new regulations put in place 2 years ago.
Many units (mule deer) close for the 2024 season by end of Aug-early Sept archery deer season if established harvest quotas are achieved.
Then archery hunters with OTC archery tags will move to those units open in December. Thus, congregating more hunter pressure into less units.
 

Kehunt

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My experience in Arizona has been that it offers offers ample opportunities to venture into vast, crowd-free expanses, making it simple to find peace and seclusion.
 
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Kwandog

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@mxgsfmdpx yeah i was able to find the dates last year for when units met their quotas. So that is definitely a factor as I won’t be hunting until December.
 

fmyth

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I've got an otc archery mule deer tag in Arizona this year and will be planning on hunting the week it opens back up in December. I’ve solo hunted free range audad in west Texas and fell in love with that type of hunting (I live in Georgia). I wanted to see if I could gather some information as I’m starting to plan the hunt and new to western hunting.

My main goal is to get way from pressure so is there a part of the state with less hunting pressure than others or less access points in to the units? I’m wanting to pack in and camp in order to get away from pressure, is this safe to do closer to the border or would that be advised against? What is the best source for hunt unit and trail maps for the Arizona units when trying to map out access, roads etc? Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Flatline Maps are excellent. I wish they would publish them for the other states that I hunt. I do use Onx but I love a good quality paper map of my hunting unit.
 

WillyP-AZ

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Like has been said, it’s pretty easy to get away from people, just target quiet areas and wilderness areas with good water. And have a backup plan in case your areas quota closes earlier than you expect.
 
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In December you can definitely get away from other hunters. With that being said most of the more preferred units close in the August season. An ATV or UTV can be helpful to get in farther before the packing in.
 
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