AZ drought and elk


Active Member
Have been waiting to have enough points to draw a late elk hunt in unit 1 or 27 and now that I have enough I'm hearing that it has been very dry in that area and will likely have a negative impact on the size of bulls and maybe even how broken they will be.

What do you all think? Is it better to wait another year to apply?



Active Member
I have the same points as you for elk and NO way would I use my points on a late hunt. I think a lot depends on your age though. If you're 70+ years it might be a good idea. If you're like me around 45 years old you may want to wait for an early archery tag or see if you can pull a early muzzy or rifle tag in the random pass.

My buddy drew a 13b rifle deer tag last year as a NR with less than max points. So I can confirm the new system works.


Very Active Member
Im not sure why you are scared of the late hunt? I had the late hunt in unit 1 two seasons ago and got and huge bull!

>I have the same points as
>you for elk and NO
>way would I use my
>points on a late hunt.
> I think a lot
>depends on your age though.
>If you're 70+ years it
>might be a good idea.
>If you're like me around
>45 years old you may
>want to wait for an
>early archery tag or see
>if you can pull a
>early muzzy or rifle tag
>in the random pass.
>My buddy drew a 13b rifle
>deer tag last year as
>a NR with less than
>max points. So I can
>confirm the new system works.


Active Member
A lot of guys don't or can't hunt archery. You could be 45 and wait for a early rifle hunt as a NR and be 75 before you draw it. I'd personally avoid 27 but for most NR the late hunts are their only hope of hunting elk with a rifle in their lifetime in az.


Very Active Member
LAST EDITED ON Jan-17-18 AT 06:35PM (MST)[p]In my opinion if you have the desire, time, money, and ability to hunt then hunt. Who knows, maybe they have a wet spring and summer ? Or, what if next year is worse? Someone once asked me when the best time to fish was. I said "whenever I can go".

11 points gets you into almost all of the late hunts. There are some good opportunities there - especially if you use a good outfitter.

The point chase dynamic is interesting. As BC777 said you could wait years for an early tag - or you could hunt several times in the late season. I was in kind of that same boat last year with Deer. I was one point behind max and realized that I didn't want to play lottery odds hoping for a strip tag and I wanted to hunt. So, I drew a tag that I could have drawn with 1/2 my points and I had a great hunt (thanks Blake). I wish that I'd been smart enough to do that about 8 or 9 years ago. I guess it all depends on what you're looking for and how long you're willing to wait. GOOD LUCK and post pics :)


Active Member
There is nothing wrong with the late hunt IMO! Good bulls are taken every year during the late hunts. Bulls are busted up but to me that gives them character & means they are warriors! My dad had the late rifle this year & shot a nice 6x6. His bull is by no means a record book bull, but it is a trophy to my dad & we had an awesome hunt!!
Just my .02 cents.


Active Member
>Im not sure why you are
>scared of the late hunt?
>I had the late hunt
>in unit 1 two seasons
>ago and got and huge

I agree...nothing wrong with the late hunts and some great bulls are taken each year. I (me) like hunting in warmer weather during earlier seasons for animals that are in prime condition and not recovering from the rut with broken headgear. Not to mention the animals are way more active during the earlier seasons and not hiding away in a hole convalescing.


Very Active Member
I don't believe "draught" is as big an issue as most seem to think. I saw more and bigger bulls this year than in the previous "wet" years. There is plenty of feed and water for elk. Mule deer, not so much.

"You can fly a helicopter to the top of Everest and say you've been there. The problem with that is you were an a$$hole when you started and you're still an a$$hole when you get back.
Its the climb that makes you a different person". - Yvon Chouinard


Active Member
My question is really about how severely the drought will affect the animals and the quality of the hunt.

A little more of the backstory is this will be me and my step dad, who is 70, hunting together. Archery and early hunts won't work for us because we don't archery hunt and an pulling and early tag won't happen in the time frame we have. We've hunted AZ on late hunts 3 times already so we know what we're up against.

What I am considering is is it worth spending the points and hunting "stunted" or extra broken up bulls, especially if waiting a year might make a large difference.

I like some of the arguments you've all made about hunting when you can because you never know what tomorrow might bring (maybe hunting "stunted" bulls this year is better than not hunting together all at because of health changes). I probably need to get over the fixation of getting a BIG bull and just enjoy the experience while it is available.

Thanks for your thoughts.


Active Member
It's been an ulta mild winter. The elk are in great shape. A biologist at AZ G&F told me the key month of rain to affect antler growth is May. In my opinion, it's too early to tell.


Active Member
I would wait to apply until early February. If there's no sign of moisture, then the front ends on the bulls will suffer. I agree with above, it still might be too early to know for sure.


11 points gets you pretty much any premium late hunt. I'd say go for it! Personally, I'm kind of hoping more people go for the "wait til next year" approach because of the dryness, so I have a better chance at drawing! Haha. Good luck!

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