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Arizona Unit 22N Bull Elk Hunt

 
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  #1  
Old 04-20-2011, 06:08 PM
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Arizona Unit 22N Bull Elk Hunt

Hey Guys,

Im new to the Long Range Hunting Forum, and I just wanted to see if there are some people out there with a little more knowledge than me on unit 22 north. I drew a bull tag for the Nov. 25th hunt and have never hunted this unit before, my only other success in AZ elk was in 5b north in 2007. I am fairly familiar with the area and have already scouted some spots off of the control road as recently as last weekend, but I know that come opening day these areas will be mobbed with road hunters. I've heard about the mazatzal and hells gate wilderness areas, and just wanted to see if anyones hunted there before and knows a good place to start.
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Old 04-20-2011, 06:54 PM
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Re: Arizona Unit 22N Bull Elk Hunt

Congrats on drawing a tag and welcome to LRH. I have quite a bit of experience in 22 and will offer my thoughts. The good news is you have a bull tag in your pocket and there is no better place to be in the fall than in the mountains chasin critters. The bad news is I will bet on you not applying for this tag again. Sorry to break it to ya but this is one tough hunt. I used to find a dozen bulls a day in that unit back in the mid-late 90's but as of lately it's a different story. Game and Fish destroyed the late hunts by offering what they call ''more opportunity''. Way to many tags at one time. I guided that hunt last year thinking it would be like it used to be having not been in there much in the past few years and was pretty disappointed. I covered a lot of ground in there searching for bulls including heading deep into the canyons where people don't usually go but saw nothing. On the 3rd day I finally glassed up a small bull in an old honey hole but he gave us the slip. That was our last day. I know of many with the same story and only heard one success story so it is possible. That hunter backpacked in and shot his bull opening morning.
If your willing to hunt hard then I guarantee you will have a successful hunt but I can't guarantee you will harvest a bull. Effort = success in my book. I'm not saying you won't have a good time and I hate to sound negetive but I just want you to know what to expect. I believe they cut a few tag numbers this year so maybe that will help. Let us know how it turns out and best of luck.
Jason
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Old 04-21-2011, 11:49 AM
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Re: Arizona Unit 22N Bull Elk Hunt

Quote:
Originally Posted by N.AZHunter88 View Post
I've heard about the mazatzal and hells gate wilderness areas, and just wanted to see if anyones hunted there before and knows a good place to start.
I hate to be the bearer or bad news, but all of the Hellsgate Wilderness is in unit 22S and unit 23. Unit 22S is not part of your hunt. Most of the Mazatzal wildeness area is in 22S as well. A little bit of it is in 22N.

Jason just offered you some good advise. His response was also a typical one for 22N elk. It is hard to come up with a different type of response for this unit and season.

If you want a solid bull you will have to glass hard hunt hard and even think outside the box.

Buckhead mesa use to be good but is very flat and thick. This will make a non bugle hunt tough. Other areas like hardscrabble mesa are good also. The control road between HWY87 and HWY260 is a sure bet for the hunter who isnt picky about how big a bull he will take.

There are 2 things (IMHO) that will hurt you on this hunt.

1: Unit 22 isnt as good as it used to be. Quality is way down from previous years.

2: The locals that live around and in unit 22 go after elk like there is no tomarrow. There are some really good hunters that live in Payson, Pine, Strawberry and other areas. You will have very tough competition for good bulls.

My advice is scout ahead of time. There are lots of flat brushy areas in 22 but there is also some mountainous, hilly and canyonous terrain, rimrock and low valleys. You're best bet is glass, glass and when youre sick of glassing glass somemore. Did I mention glass hard? Oh yeah, glass hard.

With most hunts in AZ, you WILL get out of them what you put into them and sometimes you will get something great on opening morning 100 yards from the truck. Unit 22N IS NOT neccesarily a unit that you will get out of it what you put into it. Albiet, the harder you work the better chances you will have. You may put everything into it and get nothing. Just work hard and put the odds in your favor.

Best of wishes and please let us know how you do!
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Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (how bad your last shot was, how big the group is going to be, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.

Last edited by Michael Eichele; 04-21-2011 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 04-21-2011, 12:39 PM
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Re: Arizona Unit 22N Bull Elk Hunt

Thanks Michael I meant to mention the wilderness in the wrong unit!
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:49 PM
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Re: Arizona Unit 22N Bull Elk Hunt

Jason,
What you say is true, the best part about hunting is being out there, but dont get me wrong im intent on bringing home a bull this year. Why do you say that I wont put in for this unit again? Has the area really gone that far down now? When I was out last weekend I seemed to see quite a bit of sign and what look to me to be good elk country. Granted this is april and im hunting in early december so I understand the patterns will be different.

Michael,
After a little map browsing I realized the hells gate wilderness area is not in 22N (thanks for the note of it). As far as the hardscabble mesa area goes, is it better to spend the time scouting tanks, bedding areas and so on, or should I focus on locations to glass from and higher vantage points.

-Travis

Last edited by N.AZHunter88; 04-21-2011 at 05:07 PM.
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  #6  
Old 04-21-2011, 05:27 PM
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Re: Arizona Unit 22N Bull Elk Hunt

Quote:
Originally Posted by N.AZHunter88 View Post
Michael,
After a little map browsing I realized the hells gate wilderness area is not in 22N (thanks for the note of it). As far as the hardscabble mesa area goes, is it better to spend the time scouting tanks, bedding areas and so on, or should I focus on locations to glass from and higher vantage points.

-Travis
I prefer to glass from vantage points but I also recognize that having other tools in the box can help get it done.

I like to know as much about what and where I am hunting as possible. That includes good glassing areas as well as feed, water and bedding areas even if it is flat and thick. If nothing else, it affords you options and possibilities. Plan A does not always work out. Or plan B, D, E, F or G. The more 'plans' you have the better your chances for success.

If it is hot and dry, tanks near bedding can be productive IF it isnt a zoo due to other hunters. Still hunting these areas or even sitting near water can be productive.

All that said, if I could only use one method, I would glass. 90% of the time, glassing leads to success over other tactics in that region during that season. Anything can happen at any time be it glassing or still hunting.

M
__________________
__________________
Long range shooting is a process that ends with a result. Once you start to focus on the result (how bad your last shot was, how big the group is going to be, what your buck will score, what your match score is, what place you are in...) then you loose the capacity to focus on the process.
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  #7  
Old 04-21-2011, 05:28 PM
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Re: Arizona Unit 22N Bull Elk Hunt

Travis, There are a lot of elk in there. It is awesome elk country. You can go there and see elk this time of year no problem. During Sept. and Oct. you'll hear their bugles and see them in action. But when 2000 vehicles start rolling in from every direction in late Nov. early Dec. they disappear. Not into thin air but it might as well be because you won't see them. They will hold very very tight to thick cover and deep canyons. Harvesting is not impossible but it will be quite a challenge. It took me 3 days to glass up a raghorn! I'm not hear to brag but I'm pretty good at finding bulls. This has never happend to me and I don't want to have it happen again so for me I would not put in again. Perhaps if I lived in the unit and spent a ton of time in there I would be able to have ok odds of harvesting a bull. I am a trophy hunter and enjoy passing on smaller bulls. I believe if you have an opportunity to harvest any bull on that hunt you should not hesitate. TO MANY PEOPLE, NOT ENOUGH BULLS. Like I said that does not mean you can't have an incredible hunt. If your like me your stubborn and enjoy when things don't come easy. Keep doing your research and hunt your ass off and maybe you can prove the odds wrong.
Best of luck,
Jason
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