|Apply for the Draw||Apply for the Draw|
|License Purchase||Hunting License Purchase|
|Elk/Antelope Regulations||Mid-Winter Regulations|
|Fall Regulations||Fall Regulations|
|Spring Regulations||Spring Regulations|
|State Agency||Arizona Game and Fish Dept|
|Maps||Hunt Unit Maps|
|Hunter Education for Extra Bonus Point||Available Classes|
|2023 Season Dates|
|Archery Deer Summer OTC / Draw||Aug 25 - Sept 14|
|Bull Elk Early Archery||Sept 15 - 28|
|Bull Elk Early Firearm||Sept 29 - Oct 5|
|Mule Deer Early Rifle||Oct 27 - Nov 5|
|Coues Deer 1st Rifle||Oct 27 - Nov 2|
|Coues Deer 2nd Rifle||Nov 10 - 16|
|Bull Elk Late Archery||Nov 10 - 23 or Nov 17 - 30|
|Mule Deer Late Rifle||Nov 24 - Dec 3|
|Bull Elk Late Rifle||Dec 1 - 7|
|Coues Deer 3rd Rifle||Dec 1 - 10|
|Coues Deer 4th Rifle||Dec 15 - 31|
|Archery Deer December OTC||Dec 15 - 31|
|Archery Deer January OTC||Jan 1 - 31|
|Arizona Elk||Arizona Antelope||Arizona Deer|
|Arizona Bighorn Sheep||Arizona Bison||Available Arizona Hunts (HF Adventures)|
The Arizona 2023 hunting regulations and applications regarding elk and antelope are available to view and print online at www.azgfd.gov. The printed regulations should be available by mail the first week of January. Arizona big game applications for elk and antelope must be submitted by Tuesday, February 14, 2023. Successful applicants should have their permits mailed out by April 1st. Sheep and deer information will not be available until May and will be covered in our June issue. Bison applications and information will be covered in our June and September issues.
The 2023 Arizona Hunting Regulations and Applications regarding sheep, fall bison, and deer are not yet available online at www.azgfd.gov. To receive the regulations booklet, contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department at 602-942-3000 or download it from their website. Arizona big game applications for sheep, fall bison, and deer must be submitted online by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6, 2023. Successful applicants should have their permits mailed out by early August. Archery permits will be mailed out earlier. You may check their website for draw results.
To apply, go to www.azgfd.com/hunting/draw prior to the application deadline. Applicants are only charged the non-refundable application fee of $15 and the license fee if they haven’t purchased one prior to applying. The PointGuard program allows for tags to be returned and bonus points to be reinstated. Your hunting license must be valid on the deadline day to be able to enter the draw. Applicants who are successful in the draw will be charged the entire tag fee on their credit or debit card. If payment fails, the Department will no longer make any attempts to notify you that your payment has been declined. No exceptions will be made. Applicants can update their credit card information until the update card period has closed.
Arizona does not have a phone or paper application process.
Non-residents are limited to up to (not a guaranteed) 10% of the elk and antelope tags for a given hunt code. Non-residents may only apply for hunts that have more than one tag available for any given hunt code. Non-residents are only eligible for 5% of the 20% quota in the max point draw. The other 5% of the 10% non-resident quota will be available in the random draw. Your first two application choices are considered before the next application is drawn. Your third, fourth, and fifth choices will only be considered if there are leftover tags. This will not happen for any bull elk or antelope hunts. Bonus points will be purged if any of the five choices are drawn. Groups of up to four hunters may apply together for elk or antelope. Arizona will not over allocate tags to accommodate party applications. Bonus points will be averaged and rounded to the nearest whole number (rounded up if greater than or equal to 0.5). Group applications will be awarded tags if they draw and there are a sufficient number of tags for everyone in the party. There are no waiting periods after being drawn for elk or antelope permits. You must check Arizona’s Portal website for draw results.
Non-residents are limited to up to 10%, not guaranteed, of the deer tags for a given hunt code. Non-residents are limited to up to 5% of this 10% non-resident tag quota in the Bonus Pass draw. The remaining non-resident tag quota of up to 10% may be allocated in the second pass (random pass). Non-residents are issued up to 10% of the total number of sheep and bison tags with no more than 50% per hunt. Up to one non-resident tag can be drawn for sheep when a hunt code offers between two and three tags. If a hunt code offers four or more tags, a maximum of two tags may be issued to non-residents. Nonresidents may only apply for hunts that have more than one tag available for any given hunt code. Many sheep units are not eligible to be drawn by non-residents, even though the system will allow the application.
Your first two application choices are considered before the next application is drawn. Your third, fourth, and fifth choices will only be considered if there are leftover tags after the random pass. This will not happen for the trophy units. Bonus points will be purged if any of the five choices are drawn. Groups of up to four hunters may apply together for deer. Residents and non-residents may apply together in a group. Bonus points will be averaged and rounded to the nearest whole number (rounded up if greater than or equal to 0.5). Group applications will be awarded tags if they draw and there are a sufficient number of tags for everyone in the party.
You may only harvest one Desert bighorn sheep, one Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, and one bison in your lifetime in Arizona. There are no waiting periods for deer. Check Arizona’s website Portal system for draw results.
Online applications can be paid for with Visa or MasterCard only. There is a $15 non-refundable application fee that is collected for each species when applying in Arizona. The nonrefundable fee of $15 is also charged when only applying for a bonus point. A combination hunting license is required for non-residents to apply for big game hunts, and it is valid for one year from the date of purchase. You can update your credit card information until the Department closes the window.
No one under the age of 14 may hunt big game in Arizona without having completed a hunter education course. Arizona does not require hunter orange clothing to be worn while hunting big game.
No one under the age of 10 may hunt big game in Arizona. Youth are eligible to apply for a tag if they have completed a hunter education course and are at least 10 years old at the start of the hunt. They may apply for bonus points if they are 10 years old by the application deadline.
Arizona has a bonus point system where applicants who apply and are unsuccessful in drawing a tag will obtain another bonus point for the following year’s draw. Arizona also offers a permanent bonus point that is applied to all species. This permanent bonus point can be obtained by simply taking an online course and paying a fee. Non-residents pay $300, and residents pay $150. You must be 18 years or older to take the class. For more information on how to sign up to take the course, go to www.hunter-ed.com/ethically-hunting-arizona/.
Applicants who have submitted a valid application for a species every year for five consecutive years will automatically be awarded another point (a loyalty point) in addition to the points they have already accumulated. Points are species specific and cannot be transferred to another species or applicant. For every point accumulated, applicants will have an additional chance in the drawing for that species. If a hunter fails to apply for five consecutive years for a particular species, bonus points for that species will be purged. If a hunter draws any of the five choices on the application, bonus points will be purged for that species. Points are not affected if you obtain a leftover deer tag in the first-come, first-served process.
In addition, 20% of the deer tags for each hunt and 20% of the total number of sheep and bison tags are reserved for applicants with the most bonus points. Non-residents are limited to up to 5% in the bonus pass and the remaining percentage in the random pass. For 2023, the maximum number of bonus points hunters can have going into the draw for elk and antelope is 33, sheep is 34, for bison is 55, and for deer is 26, including the hunter education point and loyalty point.
Applicants may apply for points only and will be guaranteed not to draw a hunt but will obtain a bonus point. Applicants who want to apply for points only are required to buy a $160 license and pay the $15 application fee per species.
The fifth column in the hunt tables represents the minimum number of points needed to be considered in the bonus pass. Not all applicants with the amount of points listed drew a tag, but they were eligible in the bonus pass. We have listed the minimum number of points needed for residents as well as non-residents for the elk draw. The “Simple Draw Odds” listed in the tables are not the true draw odds. The odds we list are the number of first and second choice applicants minus the second choice applicants who drew their first choice divided by the number of tags available in the random draw. It does not take into account the non-resident quota as we are all in the same draw pool until non-residents reach their quota, after which, non-residents cannot draw. It should give you an idea of how much demand there is for one unit versus another.
The “Random Draw Odds’’ listed in the tables are not the true draw odds. The odds we list for bighorn sheep and bison are the total number of first and second choice applicants divided by the total number of available permits for the random pass. This takes into account the 20% of total species tags reserved for the applicants with the most bonus points, but it does not take into account applicants’ accumulated bonus points. It also does not take into account the non-resident quota as we are all in the same draw pool until non-residents reach their quota, after which, non-residents cannot draw. It should give you an idea of how much demand there is for one unit versus another. Detailed draw odds at your bonus point level can be viewed online at research.huntinfool.com.
Applicants should review the column regarding the random draw odds. The odds we list for deer are the total number of first and second choice applicants minus the second choice applicants who drew their first choice divided by the number of tags available in the random draw. In the bonus pass column, we have also listed how many points it took non-residents and residents to draw a deer tag from the 20% of tags set aside for hunters applying with the most bonus points. This is also referred to as the max point draw where the first 5% of the nonresident quota may be allocated.
Arizona has created a youth hunter program. The hunting/fishing combo license fee for youth hunters under 18 years of age is $5. Only youth between the ages of 10 and 17 may apply for Arizona’s youthonly hunts. There are youth-only deer tags, but not youth-only sheep permits. These youth-only deer hunts are great tags that give youth hunters an opportunity at getting first crack at bucks in a lot of the units. Youth-only deer permits are $25.
Arizona will allow a parent or guardian to whom a big game hunt tag is issued to transfer the tag to a minor child who is 10-17 years old on the date of the transfer. The minor child must have a valid youth combination hunting and fishing license on the date of the transfer, and if they are younger than 14 years old, they must have completed a Department-approved hunter education course by the beginning of the hunt.
Arizona places very few restrictions on muzzleloaders. Scopes of any magnification are legal as well as muzzleloading rifles with any type of ignition firing any type of projectile. Crossbows are not legal during the archery seasons in Arizona. Bows must have a standard pull of 30 pounds or more using arrows with broadheads no less than 7/8" in width with metal cutting edges.
Following the main drawing, any remaining permits available will be available to residents and non-residents on a first-come, first-served basis. These permits are referred to as first-come permits. Applications will be accepted by mail only. A list of leftover permits is available online at www.azgfd.gov/Hunting under “Big Game Draw” or at any Department office. Arizona does not have a landowner tag system. They offer one raffle tag for each of the big game species within the state. The lucky winner of each of the big game Super Raffle tags will be permitted to hunt for 365 days beginning August 15, 2023. All public land within all game management units will be open to hunt. Entry prices are $10 per ticket and non-residents can participate if they purchase while in the state of Arizona. All game management units will be open to hunt, except for sheep, which is open to Nelsoni Desert bighorn sheep units only. Applicants can purchase tickets online at www.arizonabiggamesuperraffle.com, and the deadline for entries varies by species. The public drawing will be held in late July through a webcast.
The PointGuard program began in the 2016 fall draw in which Arizona now allows applicants with a valid AZGFD Portal account to surrender their tag one time only per bonus point period per species for any reason 24 hours prior to the opening day of their hunt. Applicants are required to surrender the permit to the Department or to an approved non-profit organization along with a completed Tag Surrender Application Form. All bonus points will be reinstated plus applicants gain a point for that year’s application. Applicants will forfeit tag fees associated with the tag. If the applicant chooses to surrender their tag, they will not be eligible for the PointGuard program again for that species until their bonus points for that species have been purged. Applicants can choose to be enrolled in the PointGuard program for each individual species during the online application process for a $10 non-refundable fee per species or $25 for a PointGuard Plus annual membership that applies to all species applications.
All successful bighorn sheep and bison hunters must check out within three days following the close of the season at any Department office. Unsuccessful bighorn sheep and bison hunters and those who did not hunt must also check out, either in person or by telephone, at any Department office within three days. All deer draw permit harvest reporting in Arizona is voluntary. We strongly encourage all hunters to complete their hunt survey to help with accurate harvest data.
Arizona does not have an access program that allows hunters to hunt private land for free.
Arizona created a new rule that bans the use of trail cameras for the purposes of taking, locating, or aiding in the take of wildlife. This rule went into effect January 1, 2022. This new rule makes it illegal for hunters to run trail cameras in Arizona to aid in hunting.
There were 186 Mexican grey wolves documented in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico distributed between 46 packs. The population is increasing every year. For more information on Arizona’s Mexican wolves, go to https://www.azgfd.com/?s=wolf.
Pro Tips from the License Application Department