Desert Bull Scouting and Map Services
Archery Mule Deer
If you are an archery hunter, you can still buy deer tags over the counter, even for the Kaibab and "Strip". This won't last forever though. Every year there is more pressure to put the archery tags on a draw system, just all other deer tags in Arizona.
Most of the northern hunt units have only one archery deer season every year. This is the early hunt and it usually takes place in mid to late August and it last about three weeks. These hunts are very popular for a couple of reasons. First, the northern units are generally a lot higher in elevation than the southern and central units, therefore they have much cooler temperatures. Second, this season marks the first big game season of the fall and after a long, hot summer, most hunters are ready to get out the house try their luck. The Kaibab and the "Strip", units 12 and 13, have their own season and it only last two weeks.
The southern and central areas of the state have an early season also. It starts on the same day as the northern hunts but this season last almost a month. Although these units can be brutally hot, there is a lot less pressure from other hunters and the deer will be concentrated around water sources.
A word of warning for those wishing to hunt the early archery deer seasons. The monsoon season is typically in full swing during these hunts. Heavy afternoon and evening rains should be expected. These storms can be very intense and produce a lot of precipitation in a very short time. High winds and ground striking lightning are almost always present during these storms. If you are hunting off of the back roads during one of these storms, do not try and cross a flooded wash, no matter what kind of vehicle you are driving. If you wait it out, it will dry up pretty quick. If you have to be rescued from a flooded wash, you will be charged a very hefty fee for emergency services, and most likely you will be featured on the local newscast as another "stupid motorist" incident!
The second Archery deer hunt occurs during the middle of December. This more often than not is the very beginning of the rut for deer in Arizona. The northern deer herds will generally go into the rut a few days or weeks before the southern deer herds.
Most of the northern units are not open for the archery season in December. The exceptions would be units 10, 15, 16, and 18. All of the desert units will be open during this time.
Just as the northern units are popular during the early hunts, the desert units are just as popular during the late hunt. Mild temperatures and rutting deer are what attract hunters to this part of the state.
The late season last the entire month of January. The rut is typically in full swing by now and the bigger bucks have collected their harems of does and are trying to keep the other bucks away. A great time to bag a wall hanger!
If you plan on hunting the January season, you must have a current years hunting license and tag. The ones you used on December 31st are no good on January 1st. Many hunters have found this out the hard way!
A bonus to hunting the January archery deer season is that hunters may also pursue Javelina during this time. This makes for a great combo bow hunt. Javelina tags must be obtained through the draw system but there are usually some leftover tags available.