OK, here we go...looks like I will be one of the first if not the best to post a 2011 HAC thread! I know how some of you dreaded the "meaningless" background info in some of last year's posts (including mine) and am going to strive to keep my thread more focused this year.
For me, the hunts are still somewhat unknown and seemingly far away. Like most, I put in for my own state's draw and also stepped out-of-state to apply again in New Mexico. AZ divides it's draw into two sections - elk & antelope first with results out a week or so ago and deer & sheep a couple months away.
When I checked on-line for my elk and antelope results, I found the following:
Species Hunt Number Permit No Result Reject Description
Antelope NT DRN Not Drawn
Elk 03130 000020 Draw Successful
Woohoo!!! Drawn for elk - now I needed to double check that hunt number - could it be that my 11 bonus points got me my 1st choice? Alas, not to be - an early rifle bull tag is not in the cards. But, I only listed two choices and I'm ecstatic to have drawn an early archery tag in unit 3A / 3C!
Those that followed my 2010 HAC can recollect that this unit is near the towns of Heber and Overgaard and that I have a cabin there. My wife had both a cow elk and mule deer tag in that unit last year and with a few other hunts in past years, I'm fairly familiar with the unit already. But, I've never hunted this early in the year (Sept. 9-22) or with archery gear, so I've got a lot of work to do to prepare.
I can also archery hunt mule deer in this unit with an over-the-counter tag immediately preceeding the elk hunt, so I'll have at least two hunts to chronicle this year. My goal with the deer tag is to spend as much time as possible in the area to better my preparation for the elk hunt. I will be happy with any legal buck to get some venison in the freezer.
The elk tag is another story. Those 11 bonus points took me about 9 years to aquire so it's been some time since I've had a chance at a bull in AZ and who knows when or if I'll get another opportunity. So as my title states, it's going to be a big bull or tag soup (at least until very late in the season). I'm setting my sights on a 350" bull or larger! Is that realistic? The unit definately supports that type of animal - we'll have to see what shows up once I start scouting in earnest.
I'm not positive at this point if I will go DIY or guided since this is such an infrequent tag. That decision and many, many more will need to be made in the coming weeks and months. My posts will likely be sporadic until we get a little closer to show time, but please stay tuned and join me on my 2011 HAC.