Mathews Inc.
Arizona Bowhunting Restrictions
Arizona
Contributors to this thread:
RDHunts 30-Jun-22
BOHNTR 30-Jun-22
StickFlicker 02-Jul-22
RDHunts 03-Jul-22
GnM 10-Jul-22
creed 11-Jul-22
StickFlicker 11-Jul-22
Coyote 65 11-Jul-22
creed 11-Jul-22
StickFlicker 12-Jul-22
creed 12-Jul-22
AZBUGLER 13-Jul-22
RDHunts 13-Jul-22
StickFlicker 14-Jul-22
creed 14-Jul-22
creed 14-Jul-22
From: RDHunts
30-Jun-22
Why is Arizona Game & Fish putting on restriction for bowhunters. Limited harvest, reporting harvest and shutting down the season when the harvest is met. Then closing down the season until the following year. Rifle hunters have 10 times the allowable harvest quota, no requirements on reporting harvest data, or shutting down the season when quota is met. This doesn't just seem right, This should be the same rules and regulations for both parties, rifle and bowhunters. Can somebody please give me a clearer understanding of the new rules and regulations. Thank You

From: BOHNTR
30-Jun-22
Simply put; the resource can no longer sustain the amount of unrestricted bowhunters. Now the units can be properly managed by biologists.

For NR’s, yeah they are now limiting them for the OTC deer tags….like most other states. Hard to compare to rifle hunts, as those are draw tags and not OTC. This option is a heck of a lot better than making all archery deer hunts a draw!

For those NR’s that want to increase their hunting opportunities in AZ, you’ll have to move here and become a resident. That’s what I did.

From: StickFlicker
02-Jul-22
This change was actually requested by bowhunters in response to what certainly was the eventual complete removal of OTC bowhunting seasons from the state within the next few years. For some reason that I still have never been able to understand, the Game & Fish Dept. will not allow bowhunters to harvest more than 20% of the total deer harvested in any particular hunt unit. This makes zero sense to me because if every hunter in the state decided they wanted to hunt with only a bow, I guess we would be allowed zero percent of the deer harvest. It's a model that has become seriously obsolete, but the G&F will not abandon it. So, as the state's population grew, and more and more NRs came to AZ to hunt the unlimited OTC bow hunt, the bowhunting harvest exceeded 20% of the total (bow, muzzy & rifle) deer taken in more and more units each year. Then, the following year those units were placed into a limited draw. The next year after that, with far fewer units available for the unlimited numbers of OTC bowhunters to hunt, the 20% was exceeded in many of the remaining units, etc. etc. Within just the next couple of years, virtually every OTC unit would have been moved to the limited draw format. There are a LOT of disadvantages to hunts being moved to the draw system, but it's too much to go into here. In an attempt to at least postpone that for as many years as possible, we came up with this concept which should allow the majority of the state to remain open to OTC bowhunting opportunities for at least several more years.

From: RDHunts
03-Jul-22
Thank you for the explanations. This helps to have a better understanding of the system.

From: GnM
10-Jul-22
I grew up in Alpine in the mid 80 to early 90's and remember when archery hunting wasn't as popular. I did not see many hunter down on the Blue River or under the rim by Hannigan Meadow. The deer hunting used to be fantastic back then. As the sport grew in popularity so did the hunters. I think a lot of those hunters would of preferred rifle but they didn't get drawn. I moved to New Mexico 16 years ago where everything is a draw, except private land. Its not to the archery hunt being a draw.

I am not sure how this mandatory harvesting idea will work, I guess it will depend on honest hunters willing to report. As stick flicker mentions it looks like you all are headed to ultimately archery deer becoming a draw. Which I have mixed feelings about but it will damn sure keep the number of hunters down especially in the area I grew up. I took my son back there a few years ago, and was amazed to the amount of hunters I ran into. A lot of out of state hunters as well.

So coming from someone who is in a state, which used to sell almost all deer tags OTC, If AZ does move to a draw for archery deer; it really isn't that bad. It may actually increase the amount of game seen during the season.

From: creed
11-Jul-22
I am in the minority but I was disappointed it did not go to a draw. I think all this latest move did was delay the inevitable.

From: StickFlicker
11-Jul-22
Bruce, we expect you are probably right. But when is delaying a bad thing from happening not a good idea? I'm not trying to offend, but I think those that prefer a drawing are mostly only looking at how draw v. OTC affects them rather than the big picture (and I can certainly understand that). And I can see a few possible advantages to the draw option. I just think that the current solution is more likely to benefit the majority of bowhunters as well as revenue for the Department (the latter being MUCH lower on my list of desired benefits) until of course it no longer works as you have said.

From: Coyote 65
11-Jul-22
Deer hunting in AZ used to be over the counter for the whole state and the last day of the season was "any deer". Of course there wasn't as many hunters as there is now.

Terry

From: creed
11-Jul-22
You might be right Marvin but I look at the quality of the hunt and it is anything but quality in many areas that I used to hunt. Also can't see how a draw is detrimental to the deer herd. It does restrict opportunity but that is only bad for the bowhunter. I am curious to see how these latest changes affect the OTC hunts. It may be the answer but I have reservations. One thing is certain......changes are coming for better or worse. The population explosion is going to make that a certainty.

From: StickFlicker
12-Jul-22
I agree a draw is not detrimental to the deer herd, and I don't believe I indicated that it would be. Under either method, the target harvest number is the same and the deer doesn't care. A major problem with going from OTC to a draw is that success is MUCH higher once it is moved to a draw because hunters get much more serious about making sure they kill something when their draw hunt is a specific 2-3 week hunt versus an on and off hunt throughout the year, and now that is their ONLY permit tag for the year. I think that many hunters that can get a rifle tag in the drawing and still hunt OTC are much less likely to harvest in the early seasons because they are hoping for a draw tag and don't want to end their season by shooting a spike or fork horn in the early season. OTC success is closer to 5% statewide on OTC hunts, but success in most units will likely quickly move to triple, quadruple, or even more once there are limited permits in a draw hunt in that same unit. They will no longer have a rifle tag to fall back on, so they are more likely to make sure they kill a deer by either hunting more days, working harder, or taking a smaller deer that they would have passed previously so as not to ruin their chance to draw a rifle or premium archery tag. And the higher the success percentage goes in a unit, the fewer and fewer tags will be available in the drawing, and those hunters that waited several years to draw will work even harder to make sure they get a deer, and then permits will be reduced further, and so on and so on. The Kaibab and the AZ Strip used to have lower success rates when they were part of the OTC hunt. Within just a few years of being moved to a drawing, the success rates shot up and have continued to increase steadily over the years. People work harder when they finally draw one of those tags and a high percentage of them hire a guide. That has caused the tag numbers to be reduced every few years (like they were again this year). Opportunity is destroyed for many different reasons once a unit is moved from OTC to a drawing. Maybe the quality of the hunt would be better with fewer people, but that has NOT been my experience. Once a unit goes to a drawing, those people that drew tend to hunt more days during the hunt, the number of people that hire a guide to make sure they are successful increases, and more guides always means more conflicts between hunters.

From: creed
12-Jul-22
Ok Marvin. The areas you hunt are not the same ones I must hunt because there has been a drop in hunt quality. We can agree to disagree.

Can you answer this question, has anyone compared wounding rates between draw and OTC hunts? If a unit is a draw the more serious hunters would be applying according to you. I would not be surprised to find that the hunter numbers being the same deer mortality is higher among the OTC than draw. I see guys that pick up a bow once a year flinging arrows. Many of them can’t hit a pie plate consistently at 40 yds under ideal conditions yet are shooting at deer at distances twice that. If I concede you are right I still would prefer a draw regardless. And I still think somewhere not to far off it will happen.

From: AZBUGLER
13-Jul-22
I’m with you on this one Bruce. I would’ve much preferred going straight to the draw for all tags. The OTC hunts have become a virtual S- Show. The population is down, quality is generally down, and the hunt experience is WAY down. I can’t stand these harvest objective hunts. Sorry but I don’t want to call a number or search up info on a website to know if a unit is still open. I’ve despised these hunts since they started with bear and mountain lion. Just seems like it over complicated things.

From: RDHunts
13-Jul-22
Does Game and Fish have good sound statics on harvest rates for Rifle, Muzzleloader, Archery, with all the equipment changes for all these types of hunts and success rates increasing with improved equipment, shouldn't Game and Fish be looking at making the harvest rate equal for all these hunts. 33% Rifle 33% Muzzleloader, 33% Archery. Seems to me it should be equal for all types of harvest success.

From: StickFlicker
14-Jul-22
Bruce, I don't believe I claimed that there hasn't been a drop in hunt quality (I assume you're speaking of the OTC hunts). I agree there has been. I also didn't say that more serious hunters apply for draw hunts. I said that I believe that hunters that draw a tag (for a short hunt season in one particular unit) hunt more seriously than that same hunter might have with an OTC tag whose season opens and closes several times throughout the year in a large number of hunt units. So, I'm not saying that draw hunts attract different more serious hunters. I'm saying that I believe a person that has a tag that says he can hunt in only one hunt unit, on specific dates, for a short couple of weeks will likely work harder to take a deer than a person occasionally hunting a day or two here and there throughout the year as different units open and close for months at a time.

From: creed
14-Jul-22
Sorry Marvin. I took a couple of your statements as implications. Anyway it doesn’t matter. The quota system is in place. I just hope it works out

From: creed
14-Jul-22

  • Sitka Gear