Arizona late archery

Harold

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Feb 3, 2019
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5
I drew a late season Arizona elk tag for November 2019. (Archery unit 8).
I’ve never hunted elk and this was my first time applying. Could use any advice y’all are willing to give. My experience has been limited to Texas whitetail, mule deer and hogs. Never hunted in the mountains either.
 

Mtolliver

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Jun 19, 2018
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39
Location
Buckeye, AZ
You really won't be in the mountains really in unit 8, mostly hills and canyons. Late archery is going to be a spot and stalk hunt, they aren't bugling that time of year, so just make sure you have good optics and really tone up on you're wind playing skills. Best of luck!!
 

ntodwild

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Dec 21, 2018
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210
Location
Washington
really tone up on you're wind playing skills. Best of luck!!
I 2nd that! Late season is not nearly the same as early, specially archery. Early season has many distraction for the elk (cows, spike and bulls). You won't have the distractions of early season to help you out. Hopefully you have the ability to have a dedicated changing area that you can keep fresh scent free clothing that you can change into on a regular. Use scent blocker and definitely work the wind. I typically set up trailer camp with a 10x10 enclosed pop up as a scent/clothing/gear room that I keep all my gear. Some people call it voodoo but it's worked for me in 18 years of archery elk hunting.

Bring good glass and be willing to spot/hike/stock. If you have a few friends it would be a world of help. Spotting Elk is one thing, getting to them in stealth mode is another and a friend on a scope and radio/phone can be a huge help in many cases. If you hunt white tails you know the ramifications of their hyper sensitive noses and ears. If you can put those concepts to work while on the ground in a spot and stock situation it will help.

Unfortunately it can be hard to pattern elk in late season as their primary concern is sanctuary and preparing for winter. They can wonder randomly where food sources take them but if you can scout early and have the opportunity you may be able to pattern an animal, setting you up for an ambush style hunt if you play your cards right. Late season archery is tuff but not impossible. Ive taken a few late season bulls in Washington state but it required some help and work. I would say having a friend or two along with some pre scouting should be your priority. Both late season bulls I have taken have been through the eyes and radio contact with a friend who has guided my stock so it's what I know and what has worked out for me.

Try and get in touch with the local game biologist for the area (fish and wildlife). They can be a huge help in giving you ideas on areas, animal habitats, road conditions for time of year, places to camp and so on. I have never had one not talk my ear off. Great resources.
 
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danr55

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Dec 18, 2000
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4,327
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Mesa, AZ
Get a good topo of the area and find ridges with tanks nearby. Find a good vantage point and watch the south and west facing slopes in the morning and late evenings for bulls coming out to feed. Do some reading and find out what elk eat and learn to recognize it at a glance. Always try to be aware of the presence or absence of good feed. Good binoculars and a good spotting scope are essential. Spend as much time scouting as you can. If you can't scout before the hunt, spend the first couple of days scouting. It's easier and more productive than wandering around and looking for elk who will generally hear or smell you long before you get close enough to do any good.

Some areas to keep an eye on are Dutch Kid Knole/Elk Ridge area, Devils Pocket and Hells Pocket in the western side of the unit and White Horse Lake and the area south and east of there in the east part of the unit.
 
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MTGomer

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Sep 25, 2015
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MT —> AZ
You’ve got your hands full. My plan is to spend a few years trying to draw a premium tag and in the mean time scout and learn an area. If I don’t draw, switch my apps to late archery so I can hunt after I’ve figured things out a bit.
I think going to an area you’ve never been for a post rut bow hunt, with zero elk hunting experience is a tall order, but it will sure as hell beat not going. The fastest learning curve is trial by fire. Best of luck!
 

ab.southpawoutdoors

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May 2, 2019
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Arizona
I drew a late season archery tag also, my very first big game draw tag. The thing I've learned from research I've done is scout, scout, scout, glass, glass, glass, spend as much time out in that unit. E scout when possible, find water holes, glassing knobs, areas of interest for where the elk might want to be during that time of year. If you can't spend time on the ground, trade in one day of hunting for a full day of scouting day before season opener.
 

recurveman

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Jun 27, 2018
Messages
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Location
Gilbert, Arizona
pray for it to be dry and sit water. The bulls will come to water this time of the year but it needs to be dry. Randy has a video or two out about where to find elk during different times of year. Might be a good idea to look at those. I would look for country that you really don't want to be in that has a food and water source. Then hunt that area. It will probably be colder than you think too.
 

Harold

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Feb 3, 2019
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Get a good topo of the area and find ridges with tanks nearby. Find a good vantage point and watch the south and west facing slopes in the morning and late evenings for bulls coming out to feed. Do some reading and find out what elk eat and learn to recognize it at a glance. Always try to be aware of the presence or absence of good feed. Good binoculars and a good spotting scope are essential. Spend as much time scouting as you can. If you can't scout before the hunt, spend the first couple of days scouting. It's easier and more productive than wandering around and looking for elk who will generally hear or smell you long before you get close enough to do any good.

Some areas to keep an eye on are Dutch Kid Knole/Elk Ridge area, Devils Pocket and Hells Pocket in the western side of the unit and White Horse Lake and the area south and east of there in the east part of the unit.
Thanks! This is great info.
 

Harold

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Feb 3, 2019
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I drew a late season archery tag also, my very first big game draw tag. The thing I've learned from research I've done is scout, scout, scout, glass, glass, glass, spend as much time out in that unit. E scout when possible, find water holes, glassing knobs, areas of interest for where the elk might want to be during that time of year. If you can't spend time on the ground, trade in one day of hunting for a full day of scouting day before season opener.
Are you hunting unit 8 late season also?
 

Moondoondude

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Aug 25, 2017
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Well Harold, you're in for quite the trip.

Get some good glass and break in a pair of boots. Be comfortable with your bow at long distances. A lot of that hunting will require you to do some serious dropping into nasty canyons. You will have to be in stellar physical shape to hunt down into those canyons, which i would suggest. Getting in and out of those canyons can be borderline impossible, so time your stalks accordingly to know what time you will be getting to your animal and then if you are unsuccessful, how you can navigate / scratch / crawl out of that canyon in the dark. Obviously if you get your bull, figure that out as you may. Unit 8 is a great unit but in past years the tag allocations have led to a bit of a slip in trophy potential - not saying there aren't still some great bulls around. Definitely get there early as others have said to get familiar with the country and don't run away. It is big, big country and those canyons the bulls want to be in are deep and steep. Depending on weather, that can be right about the time that you see bulls transition from the north-facing slopes so use your best judgment while weighing the weather and temps to predetermine the types of areas you will focus on.
 
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