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Location: Denver, CO
Joined: 04/01/2009
Posts: 109
Relocating to AZ

Hi all,

Wife and I may be relocating to AZ this fall (after elk archery in CO).  I'm a Colorado native, so I'm only used to the way things are up here.  No complaints either, OTC elk tags always available with a decent shot at getting into screaming bulls, big mule deer, pheasants, turkeys etc...

An employer down there is making an offer I can't refuse though (Phx metro area).  I just had a few questions about annual hunting opportunities.

I see the monster elk on TV all of the time, but can you get a quality elk hunt in every year?  Or will I have to come back to CO on years I don't draw?

What about deer, antelope, and turkey?  I know there's no shortage of animals...I guess my question is can you get big game opportunities every year?

ps-I have a shorthair trained on pheasant and quail, how's the quail hunting?  I'm assuming there aren't many/any pheasants...

Critter's picture
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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 3921
Get ready for hunting shock. 

Get ready for hunting shock.  You are not going to be able to hunt the real quality elk hunts every year or quite possibly every 5 years it takes bonus points to draw these units and unless you are one of the lucky ones it takes time.  I have a friend in Globe that is a full blooded Apache and even he can not hunt on the reservation for the big elk.  He was told that those elk are reserved for the stupid white man that is willing to pay big money for them.  For deer hunting it all depends on where you want to go and what you want to use a rifle or a bow.  Bow hunters may have a little bit easier time getting a tag.  So if you want to hunt a lot take up bow hunting.  Another friend of mine lives just north of Tucson and he gets to hunt about every other year but has hunted the last 3 in a row, but last year during the whole season he saw 128 deer and not one buck.  Now for quail that is one hunt that you can do as often as you want down there.  There are a lot of them out in the desert foot hills.  So about the only big game animal that Arizona has that you can almost guarantee a tag for every year is the javelina, and in a lot of areas you can buy left over tags for them.  I hunt them every year as a non-resident and they are a real fun hunt.  One thing that you may want to do once you are down there is to do the Arizona hunter safety class.  It will give you a extra bonus point on all of your draws automatically.   

Offline
Location: Arizona
Joined: 04/15/2009
Posts: 56
The nice thing is those otc

The nice thing is those otc co units are only a days drive away. I expect to get blanked in the az draw this year and will head north.

For az elk, you could hunt archery cow every year. Some of the early bull hunts in premium units are practically once in a lifetime. There's plenty in between those extremes. The unit I like should yield archery bull tags every 4-6 years. It's not known as a trophy unit, but i know it well. Some of the late rifle bull units have similar odds.

Archery deer is otc in most of the state. Rifle draws are tough in some hunts, but there's plenty of good hunting with good draw odds.

I've still never drawn an antelope tag...

AlpineClimber's picture
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Grand Slam Challenge Winner!
Location: North America
Joined: 02/08/2011
Posts: 184
Get your Lifetime Colorado Hunting License before you move.

My family has Lifetime Licenses in New York and Arizona.  I am not sure if Colorado works the same way, but it could protect you with your concerns.

Most hunters hunters in Arizona look at New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Arizona as one big package.  If you hit a premium hunt in 1 of the 4, you are doing very well.  If you don't get drawn, your personal budget is what determines if your going to pursue a landowner tag or guided hunt somewhere.

Genetics will through some Monster Arizona Bulls in the mix every year.  The highest concentration is undoubtedly on the White Mountain Apache Reservation.  If we have a very wet spring and decent monsoon season in the summer, you will see a much greater number of them in the State Hunting Units.  New Mexico typically mimics this pattern as well.

Join the Arizona Elk Society and Arizona Deer Association and you will make some great freinds build a nice network of great people.  Their conservation projects give you a totally different perspective of scouting.

We frequent a game farm in Coolidge for Phaesant and their is a fun 24 Hour Grand Slam of trying to shoot each subspecies of Quail in the state in 1 day.  Once you network and meet the right people, you'll see lots of great opportunities.

Good luck with the move.  Shoot me a private email if you have any other questions about the area.

 

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Location: Denver, CO
Joined: 04/01/2009
Posts: 109
I was/am seriously

I was/am seriously considering taking the job down there because I like the warm day to day weather, lower cost of living, and a nice salary increase.  I hate the snow, unless I'm hunting in it.

 I'm a little bit disappointed to hear about the lack of annual OTC opportunities.  In my visits to AZ so far, it strikes me as a big hunting state, so I'm suprised.

What do the hardcore hunters do if you can only draw big game tags every few years?  Sounds like they go to other states.  I like to hunt EVERY year, it's my annual vacation...it's the reason I go to work everyday.

Maybe I'm spoiled to live in CO, and should just stay here!!!

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Location: Arizona
Joined: 04/15/2009
Posts: 56
You just need to weigh all

You just need to weigh all the factors that are important to you...

If you want to buy a $50 resident tag every year to chase raghorns <2hours from home, then the edge is clearly to Denver.  If you want to pay resident prices to draw a pretty good 2nd choice deer tag every year and a premium tag every 5+, edge Denver. 

In AZ you won't hunt bulls every year.  When you do hunt bulls it will be a quality hunt with limited numbers of people in the field.  It's not just the limited number of bull tags, but here they don't run the deer and elk seasons at the same time.  Less pressure is more fun in my mind, edge Arizona.  Our elk/antelope draw results come out before Colorado apps are due, and the Durango area in only 6 hours from downtown Phoenix.  It's more expensive hunting out of state, and the crowds in Co are a challenge, but it's how I expect to get my time in the field this year.

Deer here has a lot of variety, you can choose to hunt every year or hold out for a unit North of the Canyon.  Archery is OTC, and the weather in the desert is nice in the December season.  Add in easy to draw javelina, bear, turkey...

I could be happy in either state. 

ndemiter's picture
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Location: lawrence, KS
Joined: 05/17/2007
Posts: 647
hunting oppertunity

lack of hunting oppertunities is why i turned down a respectable job offer in that area myself. being an entire years wiser now. i now know that what i did was a mistake. since my current job sucks, i should have considered that my responsibility to provide a stable and respectable lifestyle for my family, i may have to make sacrifices.

and gosh darnit! if i have to travel to 2-3 states a year just to get my hunting fix, then those were just the cards that were dealt me! Thumbs up

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Location: Colorado western slope
Joined: 11/13/2009
Posts: 3021
For the reasons you mentioned

For the reasons you mentioned I would probably make the move. The biggest thing you are looking at is the elk hunting. Sounds like you can get some kind of deer tag every year and javelina hunting is a blast. Even in Colorado it's taking longer and longer to draw antelope so that's no big deal.

I admit that I'm not a big elk hunter so waiting wouldn't hurt that bad for me.

Take your vacation for the Colorado elk and deer and hunt what you have down there also. Once you live there you will learn more about the opportunities available. Plus you get a different deer with the Coues whitetail.

On the income side I don't think Arizona has a state tax like we do either. Not sure though.

Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 3921
If it is a job that you want

If it is a job that you want and has a good future in it I would go for it and worry about the hunting later.  So if you want to hunt every year then there are hunts down there and if you don't archery hunt it may be time that you started.  The funnest hunt that I do anymore is the Arizona javelina hunt that I have been going on for 16 years now.  They well hone your glassing skills for deer and elk and get out out of the house in the spring time.  My only problem would be going to the Phoenix area with it high crime rate and it is down right hot in the summer time if you have a outside job.   

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Location: Denver, CO
Joined: 04/01/2009
Posts: 109
I'm a police officer, so the

I'm a police officer, so the heat would be....a unique thing to deal with in the summerDancing .  90% of my hunting is bow hunting.  I'm not above whacking things with a rifle though.  I primarily love spending time in the woods, although NOTHING is as magical as being in the middle of elk in September.

I appreciate the tips from those in the know about AZ, driving back here in between AZ elk hunts won't be so bad.  I think I'm going to pull the trigger, I love CO, but am starting to grow sour living in Denver.  I think my german shorthair may kill me though, I'll have to convert her into a quail dog.

If anybody in AZ is willing to show me around this winter/next spring, I'll trade for decent elk, turkey, and deer up here that you can hunt every year:D  .

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Location: Arizona
Joined: 04/15/2009
Posts: 56
You missed the elk/antelope

You missed the elk/antelope draw, but be sure to get your application in for deer, even if it's just to get you first bonus point.

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