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AZ 7W. Is it worth it?
I'm a non resident who has waited 17 years and my CC was finally hit. I'm assuming I drew my second choice which was 7W since I was on the cusp of having enough points for it. I could have possibly drawn my first choice in the random pass but very doubtful. My questions are to the folks who have either hunted 7W or have intimate knowledge of it. Did you have a quality elk hunting experience? Do you feel it's worth burning 17 points on? Did you feel crowded by other hunters? Can you use boot leather to get away from the crowds? I see there is a wilderness area in the unit. Could a man find some isolation and solitude by hiking back into the wilderness area? I've also read and heard that drought conditions can make or break a hunt in that unit? I did purchase the point guard option as well so I'm just trying to make the best decision after waiting this many years. Thanks in advance for any advice or info you may be willing to share. Tony
If you don’t think it’s worth it why did you put in. So you drew and now don’t want it because you did do your home work . Taking the Tag away from someone who would love to have it. You are exactly why draws are FU. Man up and go hunt cause while you get to go some other poor guy is still waiting.
Whipranger - if you can’t just answer the ops question, why not just ignore? No one on here cares what your thoughts are on the right or wrong of a draw hunt. In case you don’t know, if he uses point guard it gets offered to the next guy in line.
SteveB he's right. And the tag will most likely go to a non profit... not the next guy in line. So there still is a poor guy out there waiting.
Jaeger65... my advice to you is to just go hunt. It's your tag... learn the unit and and have a great hunt. Ed F
I do know It may get offered to the next guy in line but not the guy who would’ve drawn it in the first draw who wanted it.
whipranger, wow man, go back to taking your meds!
Congrats on your tag. I hope you get some solid advice from someone who is familiar with the area. Unfortunately, I'm not.
I can tell you that my experience with a hard to draw "trophy" elk unit in Colorado was different than I expected. There were 14 other tag holders during the archery season, and the unit is huge, so I thought I'd have no problem finding isolation and solitude. What I didn't count on was the number of rifle hunters who were scouting during the archery season. Many of them didn't even have rifle tags. There was also a ton of general recreational activity in the area.
That said, I still had a fantastic hunt, and I have no regrets waiting 22 years for it. It just wasn't the hunt that I had envisioned.
With the possible exception of the option to burn your Pointguard, if you drew the tag go hunt and make the best of it. Asking after the fact is moot. If half a dozen of us say it's an amazing unit you may still have a terrible hunt. Or vice versa. That's hunting: making the best of what's given to you. Good luck. I killed a nice bull there but it was over a decade ago.
Whipranger I sent you a PM. IF you would like to meet up face to face and continue this conversation in person I would love that!!!!!!!!
Go, have fun, report back!
Let me know the meeting spot. I’ll buy beverages!!!!
Dang, that's a lot of points to burn on a tag you're not sure you want. Even with point guard, you still have to pay for the tag and if you draw again next year, you can't use the point guard again when you might really need it for an unforeseen event at the time of your hunt.
I hope you can get some good info and have a great hunt. I didn't get in this year...hopefully 2023!
I appreciate the post from most of you. I have done my research over the years. Thats how I chose the two units I applied for. Ive heard mixed things on 7W over the years but Ive only actually talked with one other person who has hunted it. I'm now 58 years old and ready to start cashing in points. I tried to pick the two units that I may actually have a shot at drawing. Hopefully I drew my primary choice but if I did not, most likely I will go ahead and hunt 7W and hopefully have the hunt of a lifetime!
I don't know if it's true but I read on a previous thread that if you have enough points to draw your second choice they won't even look at your first choice in the random draw.
Jaeger63, I resurrected my registration to reply to you. I'm pretty much in the same boat as you with Az elk points. I am 62 with 18 nonresident points, 19 now. I've hunted and spent a lot of time on 9 and know it well. I know I will never get a 9 sept tag again unless lightning strikes. I have been looking at 7w hard for the last 5 years. I have spent some time on the unit. Its a fairly small unit . Its mostly public national forest land. So it should be easy to locate elk in sept right? Not so easy. I have spent time on the unit the last 3 Septembers. I have seen little sign of a rut around water. On 9 you know where the bulls are even if you don't see or hear them. I have seen a lot of tourists . The unit is near Flagstaff and busy. The wilderness area trailheads always have cars in the parking lots. Popular hiking spot. If you want a good look at the terrain search Kendrick on you tube. Good view of the whole unit from the Kendrick fire tower on Kendrick peak.I have talked to a few Az hunters and guides about the unit, including one well known respected outfitter . Consensus is good numbers of elk. 300 class bull very doable. Occasional monster bull possible. Quiet rut usually due to tag numbers and other recreationists. Unit can feel small. A lot of roads but still plenty of areas to get away from hunters. A pretty good glassing unit. Its considered the top mid tier in Az. I have been waiting for 2023 because the start dates swing back to the 15th. My experience in Az is that's a big deal. All that said I will apply to draw next year probably for 7w. Would love to keep in touch and here about your hunt and help if I can.
Az looks at first two choices in the first round of draw. If you apply to a hunt you can only draw randomly as one choice and put an easier hunt you have enough points to draw in the bonus round as another choice , you will draw the bonus round choice. The random hunt is not considered until after the bonus round.
I would recommend you prioritize your expectations and either make it happen or turn the tag back.
If killing a big (you determine what big is) elk is the main goal you will have to call the local outfitters and see what they can do, and most likely hire one. Be ready to turn the tag back if drought hits or no big bull is found. It may take road hunting and multiple guides to accomplish.
If a DIY hunt with complete isolation is your goal determine if that’s possible. If the size of the elk doesn’t matter or if you even kill then that’s easier.
Most importantly keep your expectations real- be honest with your own abilities, and circumstances. Its always hard for a NR with no experience in a new area to get the most out of a unit. Nothing replaces time.
A word of warning most people with a lot of points over value them. There is no real connection to how many years it takes to draw and the Tag. Point creep, inflation, unit quality all change year to year. People draw with 1 or 2 points. So your 17 points really doesn’t mean anything to anyone but you….
I just watched a 7w hunt. You’ll be fine unless your an “I need a 350” kind of guy.
“I don't know if it's true but I read on a previous thread that if you have enough points to draw your second choice they won't even look at your first choice in the random draw.“
Az looks at every app, both choices, in the bonus pass. If you can’t draw the first choice, they then look at the 2nd. In the OPs case, he probably drew his 2nd choice. He is now out of the draw.
Had he not drawn his 2nd choice he would have moved to the random side where again, both his first and second choices would be looked at. It would then be possible to draw that 1st choice in the random, as noted in the ops comments.
Thanks guys. All great info and what I have come to expect over the years from the great folks here on bowsite. The only occasional exception is jack,,,,, like whipranger! So based on what I've heard is that I probably drew my second choice. I will make the best and most informed decision I can based on the info I have. Thanks much guys
So i'm going to hijack J's thread here and ask you AZ guys a question, I will have 7 points next year in AZ as a non res. I am not a horn hunter, is there a unit in AZ that i can actually have a chance at drawing where there are decent #'s of elk, smaller is good? Thanks
Late archery or rifle, don't get suckered into 11.
I've never hunted 7W but have hunted 6A and 7E (drawn 6-7 archery elk tags in AZ over the years). What I can confidently say is that most hunters will not go more than 1/4 from a road or from water, so it should be pretty easy to get away from other hunters. I've always been shocked by how few other hunters I see given the tag numbers issued.
I've hunted it with an outfitter. It was a very good hunt.
A question for you AZ residents? What is the moisture predictions looking like for the next few months in AZ up around the Flagstaff area? Im guessing April thru June are the important months for antler growth?
I did a thread a few years back and spent a day in 7W for another bowsiter that drew and didn't have the vacation days to come out and scout.
Granted I shared a lot more pix/intel with him than I shared in this thread, even though his Drought decision was his not mine to make.
Go have some fun man!
Good luck, Robb
Thanks Bulelk1. I checked it out and thanks for sharing!. Is the drought still ongoing in the 7W area?
I was in the exact same boat as you with 17. I was applying for 7W for the last several years and switched up this year for a couple of reasons...I thought 5BN was going to have less tags at 144 compared to the 200. I never read correctly and they increased it to 168. Other reason I applied for 5BN -1st choice and 5BS second choice is the outfitters I had on my list prior to the draw also hunted Unit 5 and their hunters did well last year. Third reason is the unit I had been applying for in Utah had one-non-resident tag and they discontinued it a couple of years ago when I thought I had enough points finally to draw....It showed up at auction at the Expo. I thought I was going to hunt Utah prior to Arizona so I decided to switch them up. (I will have 23 points for next year in Utah) I hunted 7E 18 years ago (with 1-2 points) and never flung an arrow. There were two hunters in camp when I was there (guided) that were hunting 7w and they both connected on very nice bulls, 320 and 340 class with nothing broken. They were telling me how many opportunities they were getting when across the road in 7E it was another story. I was told another guided hunter on the first week in 7W also connected. I thought on day 6 of my 7 day hunt I was going to connect on a 320-330 class bull. He was 70 yards out behind trees and coming and I heard a loud clank/crash from a distance behind me and so did the bull! 20 minutes later as it is turning dark out comes a dude dragging a tree stand and smoking like a chimmney. What are you going to do? That happens and it may happen to you or me this year. He was hunting a water source about 300 yards from the small meadow I was at and must have thrown the stand to the ground. On the morning of day 2 as we were driving in well before day light we saw about 15 elk cross the road and the bull was an absolute monster. Guide figured easy over 370-380 more likely 390. I did not know...he was just an incredible looking animal. Of course he was going from 7East to 7West. No 7-day hunt for me this year. I am doing the full season. I think avoiding disaster, you will have opportunities in 7W. Maybe not as many as 18 years ago but I talked to a bunch of outfitters that still like 7W ..of course not as well as the top units but I had 17 points - not 23 plus! Get out and enjoy the Elk Woods...you waited 17 years...A tag in your pocket is a good thing...and the chance you may use it is better!
Theres a reason it only takes 17 points….
Thanks for post Terry. I'm sending you a PM
Beendare, thanks for your very insightful post
Sounds like good potential…
I drew in AZ this year. Not sure which choice yet. Just hoping that I don’t draw any of the glamorous once in a lifetime tags and not have the time.
Arizona has been an extreme drought cycle since 2001. You can scatter 3-4 years over last 21 that have had decent rain but you just never know. Last years winter was terrible but the summer monsoon was one of the better seasons ever recorded in AZ history. Especially for the majority of our elk units. The majority of reports I heard back from hunters on the early hunt said last years rut and bugeling action was very good to excellent. With AZ you just never really know how things are going to work out. AZG&F tells us the most important rain of the year is the rain between October and May for wildlife. So far this year we are well below averages for these months. My own opinion and you can take it for what it is worth, is just go and hunt because there are no guarantees tomorrow will even come. Good Luck on whatever you decide.
7W is a good hunt. It has common boundaries with units 8,9, and 10. All are known to have produced big bulls. I wouldn't be concerned at all about the quality of elk there.
Thanks for your post Creed. My concern is not with the quality of bulls but with the amount of hunters that will be in the field during early archery. When I applied for it as my second choice I did not realize they also give about a bunch of cow tags that coincides with archery bull season. That was a big oversight on my part
It shows 150 Bow Bull tags for 7W this year.
Might be some crowd control and hopefully ya didn't Fat Finger it and hit the 7W Bow Cow tag unit by mistake.
Good luck, Robb
I just threw up in my mouth a little reading that, Robb. I remember reading about guys accidentally doing that and they were screwed.
Yea thats a lot of bull tags for sure. Plus they give out a bunch of cow tags as well. But I just read on GoHunt statistics that there was only a 21% success rate in 2020 in 7W. Thats only 32 bulls harvested. That percentage may account for cow tags as well. Not a very good success rate
Jaeger not picking on you but how/why do you wait until you spent 17 points to start figuring that kind of stuff out?
JohnMC, I did not wait at all. Ive been researching AZ units for years now. I've taIked to lots of guys over the years about various AZ units with 7W being one of them. I do know that units can and do change from year to year based on drought conditions and other factors. 7W has always been a unit on my radar, just not at the top of my radar. Inches of antler is not what's most important to me. Solitude and not running into a lot of other hunters is whats most important to me. I did overlook the fact about the cow tags being given out in 7W during bull season which was a big oversight on my part. BOHNTR, I drew 7W and feel very fortunate to have done so!
Right on, Jaeger! You’ll have a good hunt……just got a little snow yesterday and a little more forecasted for Thursday. Not enough to really affect snowpack, but the timing of the moisture is good.
Right on Tony!
In op’s defense, my applications have changed over the years. AZ applicants are applying so long unit dynamics change. People talk drought. But what about burns, the amount of non hunter traffic that has ballooned I the past decade? Also consider the dynamics and changing tag numbers over the years. Applicants (me) look at this data. And sometimes we adjust.
If I knew something about 7w, I would help you out Tony. (Via PM) But I will publicly wish you good luck! Cannot wait to hear about your experience!
7w has a damn good reputation and if I remember Tony you had a 61 Colorado tag same year as me…2012. You killed a dandy there and I would say you’re gonna crack another in Az. Good luck brother!
Thanks very much to all of you for the encouraging posts and congrats. Ive not been very lucky over the years with drawing premium tags but I guess every dog eventually has its day LOL!!!
I'm no expert but I have hunted a bunch of states for elk. I've been drawn twice in Arizona with both hunts in "lesser" units. They were great elk hunts with numerous encounters and shot opportunities. Aside from Nevada they were the best elk hunts I've been on. Give yourself plenty of time and go have some fun.
I don't think I've seen anyone chime in who has actually hunted elk in this unit. I hunted there 10 years ago and had a fantastic hunt. How does that apply to this year, who knows?
I'm pretty sure this is the unit Dennis Dunn hunted a few years ago and he shot a 370's bull with his recurve. Send me a PM and I'll fill you in on what i know. If you know how to hunt elk, you will have a good hunt. Oh, and I had very little problem with other hunters.
I think I'm the "one other person" who has actually hunted the unit. I killed a decent bull in 2017. No way in heck I would ever turn the tag back in but that's just me.
I mentioned earlier I killed a good bull there a decade ago, but there have been some huge fires in the unit since then. I'm not sure how the unit has recovered after being scorched.
JSW, Great bull and respect for getting it done with a recurve! sent you a PM. Heat, Congrats to you as well on a nice bull and thanks for posting!
Tony------> if ya need me to look into anything for ya while I'm down there in June, feel welcome to reach out.
Good luck, Robb
Thank you Robb. I'd love to know your thoughts, and the local residents thoughts, on what the season might be like this year in that unit. It sounds like decent moisture levels this year so far? I know that can play into antler development and such. I'm not a guy that will be holding out for a 380 class bull. My best bull so far is just a 325 bull in Colorado. I'll be tickled pink just to get an opportunity on something better, maybe close to that 350 mark. I hear thats a realistic possibility in that unit? Your thoughts? My goal is to have a great hunt with a couple of great friends, hear lots of bugleing, and hopefully get an opportunity or two on a good mature bull. That's success in my book and what I hope to accomplish after waiting 17 years to hunt this state.
Tony, I dug out my maps and responded to your PM. Let me know when you want to talk about the unit.
JSW, I responded to your PM regarding the big time difference between us right now. Id love to chat with you when it's convenient for you. Thanks
I have hunted it a couple of times, there are a lot of elk in there and after the first week half the people will be gone just hope that there is a monsoon rain and you will be fine. In 2020 the last time I was in there it was record dry that is why the success was so low