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Arizona Coues White-tailed Deer and Mule Deer offer fantastic opportunities for those willing to put in some effort and research.

 

2017 Arizona  Mule Deer Hunting Forecast

Well, it's almost time to apply for deer tags again in Arizona. The 2017 deer hunts should be really good again this year. the last few years have been really good for fawn survival. We have seen a lot of does with twin fawns the last 3 years. It has been a dry spring but we had timely snow and rain early in the winter and the were fat and healthy entering the late winter and early spring.

For mule deer, the standards still apply. Units 3C, 13A and 13B, 12A West and East and 12B will produce a lot of quality deer. If you have built up a lot of points, these should be your units of choice if you are looking for a really nice mule deer.

Another good option is the late hunts in units 27 and 7. Few tags and the chance to hunt mule deer as they enter the rut. Draw odds are steep, just like the units mentioned above, someone will draw these tags.

Unit 3C continues to produce good mule deer. The burn is past it's prime for producing huge bucks but it is still a quality hunt. Even though it forest, the burn has made it possible to glass the area effectively, although that is diminishing more and more each year do to vast amounts of brush and small trees now growing in the burned areas. It's still glass able and still a great hunt but like most, will require you to locate bucks after they rub off the velvet and relocate to thicker and more secluded spots.

The late muzzleloader hunts are often overlooked. Units 35A and 35B and unit 42 produce some really nice desert mule deer during this hunt and the draw odds are better.

If you have time to do a lot of scouting and locate bucks before the hunt, desert units 37A and 37B, 42 and 44 can be good hunts with the chance to harvest a truly large desert mule deer. These are tough hunts as there are usually a lot hunters and fewer deer per square mile. Add in the fact that the deer are often nocturnal makes it even harder. If you are skilled at glassing and can spend time scouting water holes, remote canyons and bear the summer heat, it can be really rewarding without having to wait years and years for "strip" or Kaibab tag.

Units 8&9, 18A and 18B, 7 West and East and 10 also offer the chance at a quality deer with some effort.

Unit 1 and 27 rifle hunts are up and coming due to recent fires. Like 3C, vast amounts of area that was once un-glassable due to forest is now able to be glassed effectively and the burns have added great deer habitat and browse. It should be a really good year in these units as plants growth is fantastic and deer are not only healthy but fawn recruitment has been very good and will be good again this year.

2017 Arizona  Coues Deer Hunting Forecast

Whitetail hunting is always good, but is getting even better for the same reasons listed above for mule deer. The difference being that you can almost any unit in the state if you are willing to take a October of early November tag. The October tag is actually the preferred tag for SERIOUS Coues Deer hunters in Arizona.

The deer are still in their summer bachelor groups for the most part and still patternable. Plus, with the October tag you get first crack and the buck you have scouted all summer for.

The December tags are hard to draw but can offer a really great hunt for a couple of reasons. Bucks will start their pre-rut activities in mid to late December. They will be more active during daylight hours if the temperatures are normal or cooler than normal. Late December they will start wandering the high desert and mountains looking for does. This can make it difficult to locate a buck that you might of scouting during the summer because they move alot, but you should see more bucks out and moving around.

Units 33, 27, 23, 22, 31 and 32 all offer the chance at a great Coues Deer during any of the hunts. A lot of these areas are really great for planning a back pack style hunt in either wilderness areas or remote canyons away from roads. Look for drainages that have pine at the top and transition to oak, Manzanita and juniper in the mid regions and down to mesquite and even Palo Verde and Saguaro at the lower elevations.

Water, either close or nearby is key but it does not have to be a large pond or cattle tank. Deer and especially bucks often prefer small seeps in the bottom of canyons or remote springs.

A good strategy for getting tags is to apply for the hunt you really want with your first two choices. If you want to build up points to increase your chances of drawing the tag of your choice in future years, don't put any hunts on choices 3-5. Just take your chance of drawing your preferred tag and if you don't draw you get point for next years draw. Don't despair if you are not drawn. Their are usually leftover tags in many units after the initial draw and you apply for one of these after the main draw is complete. Units 30A and 30B 35A and 35B and 36A, 36B and 36C usually make up the majority of these leftover tags and there are a lot of deer and good bucks in all of these units. The reason they under subscribed during the draw is because they are close to the border. I have hunted these units many times and with common sense you really have little to worry about. I have never had any sort of trouble in the border units, but some people have. There is a heavy Border Patrol presence in most areas and sticking to the main roads for camp spots, locking up your gear, being smart makes this hunt as safe and enjoyable as any other hunt.

So, go ahead apply for that Strip Mule Deer tag or unit 33 Late Coues Deer hunt and if not drawn, there is still a really good chance to get a left over tag and go deer hunting....every year.

 

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