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Arizona Elk Hunting 2024

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2023 lived up to the expectations in most areas throughout the state. Elk went into winter in excellent shape, and with great winter moisture came some phenomenal antler growth. So far, bulls are in good shape with some carry over monsoonal moisture, but with dirt tanks drying up later in the fall, bulls most likely won’t be in the same type of condition coming out of winter as last year. However, we should have another good year of antler growth in 2024.

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Age class seems to be doing well across the state, and we expect bulls to reach their potential in 2024. Arizona has two main management practices for elk – Alternative Management units and Standard Management units. The Alternative Management (1, 9, 10, and 23) units are managed for a <50 to 100 bull to cow ratio, and the remaining units are managed under the Standard Management of a 25-35 to 100 bull to cow ratio. Obviously, the Alternative Management units are going to have a better age class, but they are also very difficult to draw a tag for. One thing to remember is that there are still going to be some great bulls that come from those units within the Standard Management zones, but they are fewer and farther between.

Arizona Elk Draw

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All of the Alternative Management units produced great bulls last year with the exception of unit 1. There were still a few great bulls taken out of this unit as it likely has the highest elk densities out of them all, but the bulls taken out of 9, 10, and 23 outshined those taken out of 1. Some units to look for under Standard Management that we have been seeing better than average quality in the last few years are 3A/3C, 4A, 4B, 5B (North and South), and 22 South. 3A/3C is head and shoulders the best unit out of these if you are talking about the early archery and rifle hunts in September, but they all are pretty tough late season hunts for mature bulls. We have also been seeing some better bulls come from 6A as well, but all of the hunts in this unit are pretty crowded and hunters looking for a mature bull will have to be patient and have a little luck on their side.


Arizona has two separate archery and rifle seasons in most units. They are conducted in September and November/December. The late seasons can be difficult hunts for obvious reasons, like weather and isolated bulls being harder to locate, but they offer significantly better draw odds to allow hunters to still be in a unit with quality animals. However, they have their work cut out for them to harvest an older age class bull. Pay attention to the overall number of late rifle tags as they are very high and often catch hunters off guard who think this is going to be a low-pressure hunting situation due to the number of points required to draw. They are not, and oftentimes, they have the feel of an over-the-counter Colorado or Idaho elk hunt rather than a trophy bull hunt that hunters have come to expect from Arizona. Also, pay attention to a few units that have early muzzleloader hunts on them as some units, like 1, 9, and 27, will have alternating early hunts that switch from rifle to muzzleloader every other year.

Arizona Elk Season & Dates

For specific seasons and dates check the regulations brochure.

Arizona has a very high elk population and runs a pretty good program for managing quality and quantity. Any early September hunt should be coveted and has potential for a mature bull regardless of the unit. It is not a state that you can realistically plan a short-term strategy for elk hunting options. Even the late archery and rifle hunts are taking 7-8+ points to guarantee a draw, but they are worth it if you can secure one. We try to give you the best, most reasonable expectations of what Arizona has to offer to allow you to make your own decision if Arizona fits your hunting goals.

Self Guided DIY Arizona Elk Hunts

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Private Land, Semi-Guided, and Guided Elk Hunts in Arizona

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Application Dates for Elk in Arizona

The Arizona Big Game Application Deadline for Elk is 11:59 P.M. (Arizona Time) Feb 6, 2024.

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Arizona Non-Resident Elk Hunting Fees

2024 Arizona Non-Resident Fees
Up-Front Fees
365-Day Hunting & Fishing License $160
Youth Combo Hunting & Fishing License (ages 10-17) $5
Application Fee $15
Bonus Point Only Application $15
PointGuard Option (per species) $10
PointGuard+ Option (per year) $25
Post Draw License Fees (if successful)
Elk Permit $650
Elk Permit (youth cow-only hunts) $50


Arizona Elk Hunting Articles from Huntin' Fool Magazine