Arizona – From a Deer Hunter’s POV

Posted: 08/05/2012 in Archery, Hunting, Legal, News, Regulations, Scouting
Tags: , , ,

Arizona

Is the information easy to find?

Yes – the Arizona Game and Fish Department website was the top of the search results.

Grade: A

Website: is it easy to use and understand?

The very first link opens a PDF file (a LARGE one) that contains the full publication that you would expect to get over the counter with a hunting license.  From there, the website goes downhill.  I followed several links that seemed to point towards more information, only to really get a paragraph description and more links.  The web site seems to have been laid out by several people, in that some of the pages are logical, with good information, while others aren’t.  The page for “Big Game Species” is nice; it shows all ten of the big game species, plus apparently a bonus video for bobcats. (Are bobcats big game? I never thought so.) If you think I misunderstood their intent by stating ‘ten big game species,’ this is a quote from the hunting page:

“Arizona is well known throughout the country and abroad for it’s quality big game hunting opportunities. There are 10 big game animal species in this great state, all of them accessible through public land pursuit. Game species include antelope, black bear, buffalo, desert bighorn sheep, elk, javelina, turkey (Merriam’s and Gould’s), mountain lion, mule deer, and white-tailed (Coues’) deer.”

To some degree, the entire use and understanding hinges on the PDF file – there is good information scattered throughout the web site, but that is the key.  I clicked a link just now that said ‘detailed information on all rules, regulations and seasons’ and it took me right back to the page with the main rulebook and some links to smaller PDF files.

Arizona: if you’re paying somebody, or some company, a large contract every year for these PDF files, you are wasting a ton of money.  It takes about 1 minute per page to scan documents into PDF files, and depending on how the rules and regulations are generated to begin with, you can probably get the source file and work with that, but leaving all the information in a PDF format is a headache to a lot of people. (Why should I have to page past all of those huge advertisements to get to the information I need?)

Grade: C

Does the state hold a lottery system for nonresidents?

Yes and no – there are some first-come-first-served licenses, and there is a system for permits that were in excess of the lottery.

Grade: B

How much does it cost to hunt, and is there a short term license available?

Resident general hunting licenses are $32.25, nonresident licenses are $151.25, I guess that rogue accountant has visited Arizona from Alabama. There is a three day license available for nonresidents for $61.25, but it isn’t valid for big game.  Residents pay $42.25 to hunt deer, nonresidents pay $232.75, and those are both for the lottery-permit drawings.  The over the counter tags for deer appear to be archery only are $34.75 for residents and $225.25 for nonresidents.

The lack of a 7 day or less big game inclusive nonresident license is something of a negative here, though the cost of a nonresident annual license isn’t overbearing.

Grade: B

Are the hunting seasons easy to find and laid out in a logical manner?

There are EIGHT pages of data for deer hunting season dates, draw odds, and notes.  Here is an example of the data; pages 42 through 50 contain deer hunting dates and special regulations:

While the data is laid out logically, you have to really drill down to where exactly you are going to hunt, when you want to hunt there, and make notes of all of the special regulations that apply to you.

Grade: D

Is public hunting available, if so, are the rules different? If the rules are different, are they easy to understand?

Yes, there is a vast abundance of public hunting available, there seems to be a large difference in the regulations for every one of them.

Grade: D

Are there major issues in hunting this state as a non-resident?

None that I can find, other than some of the issues with regulations, where a hunter would be well advised to seriously know where they are going to hunt and print out, cut and paste, make notes, etc. to ensure that the regulations are not just familiar, but WITH YOU when you hunt.

Grade: C

Summary: Final Grade C+

Arizona looks like a fun place to hunt; the information could be arranged more logically on the web site, with attention paid to simple things somebody unfamiliar with the state would want to know.  As a suggestion “Nonresidents: start here” and a one page walk through of the information a nonresident would want up front would be a great start. (That’d be a great start for every state, really.) The costs for deer hunting aren’t terribly high, however they are high enough to make it a destination where you would want a good chance of success.  I think if I were going to hunt Arizona, I would make a two year process, with the first year a simple scouting trip, maybe with the whole family, to get some ground-level information on where to hunt, and go hike the area if possible. You save the money you would spend on the hunting tags, you can go when you like (I would avoid deer season of course) and you can find local contacts if you’re at all outgoing, which would help a lot come the year you hunt.  Be aware of the complicated regulations, however, as I state above, print out the regulations that are in effect where you are going to hunt and keep them with you. Laminate the print out if you are worried about it, but know it front to back before you leave.

Previous states:  Alabama, Alaska

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