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AZ Archery Big Bull or Bust

 
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vanderb79
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Apr-11-11, 
07:24 AM (MST)
"AZ Archery Big Bull or Bust"

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:

Draw Results

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.

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 RE: AZ Archery...  vanderb79      Jul-27-11   1 

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vanderb79
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Jul-27-11, 
01:11 PM (MST)
1. "RE: AZ Archery Big Bull or Bust"

Well, it's been some time since my initial post to the 2011 HAC and I believe it's time for an update. Though I promised to keep the blog more focused this year, I'm going to spend a little time bringing you up to date on the big picture stuff before getting down to detail.

The second AZ draw (deer & sheep) has come and gone and my family went "O for". That is, we didn't get any tags. There are some leftover tags mostly in Southern AZ and we may put in for one of the Coues Whitetail zones.

We did have better luck with the NM draw. No antelope, but my older son, Cody, and I drew unit 15 Muzzy Bull Elk in mid October so that shoot be a great experience. I will likely do a separate HAC entry for that hunt.

That's enough general stuff so back to my AZ archery tag! The biggest decision I had to make was if I was going DIY or guided. I spoke to some Outfitters and analized the situation from multiple angles. In the end it came down to the shear difficulty in drawing this tag and the corresponding desire to get the very most out of it.

So I decided today to book with Koury Guide Service who is an advertiser here on this site. I spoke several times with Shane and I have a real good feeling that he and his guides are going to provide a memorable hunt experience and give me the most realistic chance at a bull in the caliber I'm looking for.

I know some of you will probably stop reading at this point because I've chosen the guided route. While I won't have all the scouting photos and reports that others may have, I think I can still make this story interesting and I know it's the right decision for me concidering all factors.

So some of the scouting pressure is off, but i still need to get myself in order. I've started in on the stairstepper to buid some conditioning and I've also been shooting the bow some. Will be doubling down on the archery practice from here on out so that I can feel confident and comfortable out to 50 yards although I've already told Shane I want an opportunity at 40 or less!

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