Last season I crunched the numbers and produced a list that indicated units 5B, 19A, and 10 would be the top three units in the state. Did those units live up to the hype? Did the entire list accurately represent what actually happened during the season? I'd say it did a reasonable job. Below I'll review the Top 10 preseason list and what actually happened (that I have information about).
5B: We scouted it and didn't turn up much in June or July. We didn't scout it much in August or September. We kept hearing rumors of at least three giant bucks, but couldn't produce any of them. My guess is that the buck pictured in the middle above is one of those three rumored bucks.
19A: Overall, I would say 19A was OK. It was good in a general sense, but not good for what 19A has been capable of in the past. The buck Corky took above was in 19A, and one of the Special Commissioners Tag hunters killed his buck in 19A (Art Pearce). There were a few other good bucks around, but not as many as we would have liked to have seen for this to be ranked at #2.
10: The numbers in 10 look to be doing well, and the bucks in the 75-79 inch class are in full force. However, the upper tier bucks seemed to be lacking. There were actually a good amount of them, but when you consider the size of the unit and the number of tags issued, the percentage of good bucks per hunter weren't up to Unit 10's pedigree as a perennially ranked top unit. Also, I don't recall hearing of or seeing a buck I thought was over 88 inches in the unit which is unusual. One of the raffle tag bucks was killed here and I heard that it scored in the 87 inch range.
5A: Unfortunately, we didn't get the time we needed to scout 5A. We heard of a rumored 90 inch buck but we didn't see him and neither did anyone we know.
19B: A friend of ours killed a buck on one of the private ranches that scored 90 SCI and 88 2/8 B&C. There are others in this unit but most of the best private land is inaccessible. The private land that you can access either charges a trespass fee or requires a separate application to draw.
8: We found one buck in the 85 inch range in this unit. Like 5A though, we didn't get to scout it very much and don't have a lot of information to report.
18B: We didn't scout this unit at all, but we did hear of a giant buck rumored in the unit from a reliable source.
4A: We found a couple 82 inch bucks during our scouting in the unit, but also have confirmed photos of a mid-80's buck in the unit that we never saw. Overall, the number of boomer bucks wasn't very good.
17B: We know of one giant 87 inch antelope killed in the unit. Most of the unit is private so we didn't scout it much.
18A: This is the unit where we guided Len Guldman to his Special Commissioners Tag Buck that score 91 6/8 B&C. There were only a couple other bucks that we located that we thought were over 82 and two of them were on private land.
Of the entire rest of the list this is what we know: There were a few good bucks taken in Unit 9 - one by our hunter Tim Gomez that scored 86 B&C - and there were a few good bucks in Unit 7 taken by hunters who hunted with Timberland Outfitters. And that's about all the information I have for all the other units in the state this year. Either not much good happened in the rest of the units or all of the hunters are keeping very quiet about it. My guess is that not much happened.
Here is this years list:
There's only one new unit to the Top 10 and that's Unit 9. The unit that got pushed out of the Top 10 is 17B. Other then that the rest of the Top 10 just got shuffled around a little bit based mostly on the fawn crop in the pertinent years.
Compared to Eastman's MRS: Eastman's lists 13 different units in there "Top Arizona Rifle Units". Of them 13A and 13B should probably not be listed.
Compared to Huntin' Fool: The Huntin' Fool also lists 13A which shouldn't be on the list. The rest of their top units are similar to mine and Eastman's.
I hope this list helps someone out there and good luck to everyone in the draw!