Arizona Elk Scouting

Danson In The Desert

Active member
Joined
Apr 16, 2019
Messages
69
Location
Tucson, Arizona
A friend and I were blessed to draw Az late rifle elk tags this year. As Az residents, but from the other side of the state we think we'll only have time for four 1-2 day scouting trips.
Saturday was our first foray into the unit and it is beautiful country. We focused on familiarizing ourselves with the topography, roads, trailheads, and burns throughout the unit and at various elevations so we have options depending on snow, road closures, and hunter pressure.
We saw a couple dozen elk, about 75 deer, a bighorn, a few turkeys, and lots of small game. Even though we prioritized scouting the area and not looking for elk we were a little concerned that we didn't glass more elk. The elk we did see were not where we expected. Almost all of them were down around 6000' instead of being up in what we expected to be normal summer range. We did see sign up high, but it was not as fresh as we were hoping for.
We are thinking that maybe they were staying low for water or that we just happened to see a couple resident herds low and missed the rest up high.
We are both fairly inexperienced elk hunters and are worried that we are missing something.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
In the mean time, here are pictures as a thank you for reading this far.
*I didn't take them, the guy I drew with did.
95MG959643.jpg 95MG959631.jpg _MG_9545.jpg 95MG959489.jpg _MG_9518.jpg _MG_9512.jpg _MG_9508.JPG
 

Valgrego

Active member
Joined
Oct 28, 2020
Messages
111
A friend and I were blessed to draw Az late rifle elk tags this year. As Az residents, but from the other side of the state we think we'll only have time for four 1-2 day scouting trips.
Saturday was our first foray into the unit and it is beautiful country. We focused on familiarizing ourselves with the topography, roads, trailheads, and burns throughout the unit and at various elevations so we have options depending on snow, road closures, and hunter pressure.
We saw a couple dozen elk, about 75 deer, a bighorn, a few turkeys, and lots of small game. Even though we prioritized scouting the area and not looking for elk we were a little concerned that we didn't glass more elk. The elk we did see were not where we expected. Almost all of them were down around 6000' instead of being up in what we expected to be normal summer range. We did see sign up high, but it was not as fresh as we were hoping for.
We are thinking that maybe they were staying low for water or that we just happened to see a couple resident herds low and missed the rest up high.
We are both fairly inexperienced elk hunters and are worried that we are missing something.
Any advice would be much appreciated.
In the mean time, here are pictures as a thank you for reading this far.
*I didn't take them, the guy I drew with did.
View attachment 182350 View attachment 182351 View attachment 182352 View attachment 182353 View attachment 182354 View attachment 182355 View attachment 182357
I drew a November muzzleloader bull tag in 3B. What area are you hunting? Great pix, it's beautiful country in N AZ
 

ImBillT

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 29, 2018
Messages
2,308
Why would they be in summer range? it’s almost 50 days until summer.
 

Danson In The Desert

Active member
Joined
Apr 16, 2019
Messages
69
Location
Tucson, Arizona
@Valgrego we'll be over in eastern Az.
@ImBillT The best grass we saw was up high and it's been up in the 80s. I figured that was enough to get them moving.
But, I should have worded my summer range statement differently. We were hiking in summer range and glassing into sanctuaries and transition. That's where I was primarily expecting to see bulls.
 

coleslaw

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
242
Location
Wisconsin
How's the drought factor? Is it as bad as they are saying? Drew a tag for 6A and I've been keeping an eye on the drought monitor ever since.
 

Danson In The Desert

Active member
Joined
Apr 16, 2019
Messages
69
Location
Tucson, Arizona
@coleslaw I had never set for in the unit before Saturday, so I can't speak to what it normally is like. That being said, many areas up high had so much grass it looked like an overgrown lawn. Some tanks were dry, some tanks were full, and there were multiple streams were running. There was a small rain/snow storm the week before, but I don't think that caused all the greenery we saw.
 

HalfAce

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 6, 2013
Messages
530
It’s not Arizona, but southern Utah was stupid dry this weekend. Both low and high elevation.
 

Danson In The Desert

Active member
Joined
Apr 16, 2019
Messages
69
Location
Tucson, Arizona
@The_Hunter_Dave Nice picture, I love when their racks are almost flat like that. The one confirmed bull we saw had 6"-8" browtines already. At first I saw him head on and thought he was a spike, but when he turned his head I got excited quick.
 

dirtclod Az.

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 24, 2018
Messages
2,400
The Elk are going to be where the the water is...
Monsoons this year? I think not.
Areas 6a - 6b look in the creekbeds and springs.
By season start I predict all the water holes will be dry.
Good luck to all who drew tags this year, it's getting harder to draw
every year. 💥
 
AMK Sportsman

Forum statistics

Threads
95,375
Messages
1,433,638
Members
29,931
Latest member
Mx522xtreme
Top