Jan 19, 2009
AZ: Unit Review 2009
In 2008 we had listed the 5 best units in Arizona as Unit 10, 5A, 18A, 19AN, and 4 A/B.
The only difference this year is the removal of 19A from the list.
We guided 3 hunters in 19A last year and had good success, but it wasn't without headaches. The private ranches are sometimes difficult to work with, but there are a couple main factors in our decision to remove 19A from our list for 2009:
1. G&F allowed 80 archery hunters into the north side of the unit - something that hadn't been done in years and by doing so a lot of extra bucks got taken.
2. Word on the street is that there will be another transplant where G&F will remove a large portion of the population and place them elsewhere in the state. I'll double check this when I can to make sure I have my facts straight.
3. This is one that 19A's historic genetics may be able to overcome, but, then again, maybe not - In 2007 after the seasons were all done there were probably 20 bucks left standing that were over 84 inches. In 2008 after the seasons were over there were maybe 2.
As for the other units:
Unit 10 definitely stands alone at the top! We guided 3 hunters in that unit last year and they all took bucks that gross scored over 90 inches. The year before we were 2 for 4 on 90 inchers with the other 2 bucks scoring about 88 and 85. It would be almost impossible to do that in any other unit. The only caveat is that it's a very difficult unit to hunt and scout for some people, especially out of state hunters. Mostly because the antelope are few and far between and the amount of country to cover is enormous. Prepare to spend a couple full weeks if you want a giant. And then don't be surprised if 10 other hunters are camped on your buck opening day! Ugh...
Unit 5A is great for a few reasons. One is that the country is beautiful and fun to hunt with almost unrestricted access. Another is that there always seems to be a bruiser hiding somewhere. Finding the big bucks is another matter altogether.
Unit 4A/B is similar to 5A.
Unit 18A is one of those units that is tough to put on this list, but also tough to keep off the list. It's riddled with private land in much of the prime antelope country, but also home to some of the most beautiful antelope country. The trophy bucks seem to be alternating the years they show themselves, but with the 4 distinct hunt areas within the 18A boundary there is usually at least one boomer to go after. Planning and scouting are major tasks for an 18A tag if you want to cover all 4 areas with any type of thoroughness. Unfortunately you can't narrow down the 4 areas without actually scouting them because all 4 have produced 90 inch bucks in the past - which is also a good thing!
A unit that could take 19A's place...how about 19B? Huge bucks are showing up there once again, but access is possibly even more difficult than 19A. Maybe 17A? Great access, but a very small area to hunt. You will run into the few other hunters in the unit. Good bucks, but not usually the top end. Maybe 18B? A 90 came out of there last season and the unit could definitely be hunted by 1000 people and still there could be a 90 incher that remains hidden. Unit 9? Always a great unit with tons of country, but perhaps one of the more difficult units to dissect. For some reason very few 90's have been taken from this unit - probably due to the difficulty of finding and then relocating bucks. Dylan Woods 95 incher came from here though. Unit 7? I wouldn't put in for here if someone paid me, but that's just my personal opinion. Big bucks are in here somewhere, I know they are. Unit 3A? Nice unit, but some private land and roads that all seem to dead end - very annoying. Unit 1? Someone likes this unit, but it isn't me. Unit 5B? Rumors of giants every year make me wanna go and look...the roads make me change my mind.
Personally, I'm applying for Unit 10 rifle first choice and Unit 10 archery second choice. I think my Dad is applying for Unit 10 and 5A rifle.