Excellent point! I was stationed in Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson from from 1992-1996. Hunted muleys, javelina, gamble quail by the Biosphere area, elk in the Hannagan Meadows, and javelina in Sierra Vista area. I enjoyed it then but on our last visit 2014, the population have grown significantly. If the OP can put up with the crowd, not a bad place if he's looking for a more conducive weather for his condition. I've always like the Prescott area too.I've lived in Az. my entire life except for college in Montana. I'm retired like you and would think infrastructure would be most important in selecting an area to live. The Prescott area appeals to me due to the availability of hospitals, healthcare, shopping, year around climate and small town feel. The elevation is around 5000+ which means an occasional small dusting of snow in the winter, usually around an inch. Tons of elk within 1-2 hrs and mule deer and antelope can be seen right in town. Lots of javelina close by also. A growing area about an hour southeast of Coues deer too. Hunts are had via the draw with a cow elk tag the easiest followed by a decent mule deer tag with just a few bonus points. I've seen Antelope tags drawn from 5-15 points for good areas. You can take the Az hunters ed class which earns you a permanent annual bonus point for all species. There is a species loyalty point also. Good luck and hope you're happy with your selection.
I live in AZ, 62 years. So, forget about antelope tags. The draw odds are 1%-2%. Im not sure how many hunting years you have left. Elk, you could expect every other year for a cow tag, bull rifle tags every 5-10 years. Mulies, every year depending on hunt unit is 100% draw and Kaibab in unit 12 and 13 is extremely low percentage <1% because of trophy potential. Muzzle loader for all species is a difficult draw. Archery has a lot of opportunity depending on unit/species.Dont care about casinos, looking at good medical care. Elk mulies and antelope I would like to hunt
I just purchased 5 acres in Ramah for $13k total. Land is cheap there. I live near Phoenix and the plan is to build a retirement home for the summers in NM and keep the Az house for the winter. There are areas east of Phoenix that you can still buy a house for under $200k, some areas are under $125k. I would recommend that you consider the snowbird lifestyle.Unit 12 rifle, Ramah NM Landowner tag with Outfitter Keith Williams. The bull in my avatar was shot there three years ago.