Originally Posted by N.AZHunter88
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!