If your heart was set on going elk hunting this fall, but you didn’t receive a hunt permit-tag through the random draw, there’s good news.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is offering “over the counter” nonpermit-tags to hunt elk in limited population management zones, which are areas where the department does not want resident elk herds, such as the North Kaibab (Game Management Units 12A and 12B) and Arizona Strip (Units 13A and 13B). The elk nonpermit-tags are not valid in all units statewide.
There’s nothing like autumn on the North Kaibab and Arizona Strip. The nonpermit-tag hunts in Units 12A and 12B are open through Dec. 31, while the nonpermit-tag hunts in Units 13A and 13B are open through Sept. 11, then again from Nov. 4 through Dec. 31. All three hunts are for any elk.
There are several advantages to this unique, but limited, hunting opportunity: It’s a great way to hunt with family and friends, which isn’t always possible given the odds of being drawn for hunt permit-tags. It’s also an opportunity to spend time in some of the most spectacular backcountry that Arizona has to offer, particularly in those units north of the Colorado River.
Of course, elk numbers in these specific and limited hunt areas are low, which is expected to correlate to a low hunter success rate. Many of these hunting opportunities also occur at lower elevations where seasonal temperatures can be uncomfortable, making it crucial for hunters to quickly field-dress harvested game, including removing the hide before transporting. Plenty of coolers and ice are recommended to preserve the harvested game before leaving for the hunt.
Elk nonpermit-tags can be purchased ($135 resident, $650 non-resident) at department offices and license dealers statewide. An Arizona hunting license and an elk nonpermit-tag, both valid for 2016, are required. An elk nonpermit-tag may be used for either the general or archery-only elk nonpermit-tag hunts. A hunter does not lose or accrue bonus points when purchasing an elk nonpermit-tag.
NOTE: The department recommends that hunters thoroughly review the nonpermit-tag portion, including the associated notes, of the 2016 Pronghorn Antelope and Elk Hunt Draw Information booklet.
For more information about boundary descriptions, maps of hunting areas, season dates and FAQs, visit https://www.azgfd.com/hunting/nonpermitotctags/ and click on “2016 Elk Informational Handout for over-the-counter nonpermit-tag hunts.”