Here's a new unit I've decided to add to the list. It's a unit that I haven't been truly fond of in the past, but for the past couple years has been producing some great bucks.
I don't have a ton to say about the unit except that it's broken into roughly three separate hunt areas and that traveling between the three might be quite cumbersome as they're all located a good distance from each other (driving miles anyway).
Also, a large chunk of the unit, the Baca Land Grant and ORO ranch, is restricted to access. The grant lies almost directly in the middle of the three publicly accessible hunt areas.
Another reason 18B makes this list is that it's an easier draw than most other units - not much, but slightly.
We had heard rumors of big bucks in the unit for years, but only recently have any of those rumors started to materialize.
A quote I made in my review of Arizona's 2010 hunt recommendations needs to be amended. The quote is below"
"A lot more hunts lost tags this year than gained them. Nothing too notable except maybe Unit 19B losing 40 of it's 60 tags. Finally G&F made a good call, but not without causing a lot headaches for a lot of hunters. This should have been done a few years ago, but I guess it's better late than never."
Apparently, after reviewing the actual 2010 regulations, G&F decided to revert the tag quota in 19B back to it's original status - 60 permits. This is a reaction to what seems to be the unlocking of a few gates within the unit on a ranch that was previously forbidden to public hunters. I've heard grumblings on both sides of the fence, but I personally don't have any knowledge of what has been going on barring what I've read on the internet forums and a few friends word of mouth.
I'll look into this situation some more and find out all the details for those thinking of applying in Yavapai County's Unit 19B. Hopefully enough of the unit has been opened to the public to justify 60 tags.
If the above newspaper isn't a fakery (and there's no reason that it should be) then it looks like the Land of Enchantment nixed their grand idea of only allowing a hunter to draw a tag every other year. This is great news!
The following was copied and pasted directly from the AZG&F website.
Regulations anticipated being online after Dec. 16
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission set the 2010 elk and pronghorn antelope hunt orders on Saturday (Dec. 5) during their regular meeting, authorizing a grand total of 952 pronghorn and 26,702 elk permits.
The full regulations are anticipated to be available online at the department’s Web site after Dec. 16 at www.azgfd.gov/draw. Once the regulations are posted, hunters can begin to submit their applications for the drawing process. (Note: There is no online application process.)
This is another unit we listed the last couple of years as one of the 5 best in the state. It makes the list again this year and with a BANG! In fact, I believe 5A was at it's very best in 2009 for trophy size and looked to be doing very well in regards to the number of bucks we saw versus the number of tags G&F issued.
The Hopi own a large chunk of the antelope habitat in the unit, but they allow access. All you have to do is sign in with them at their office in Winslow and you'll get your month (or so) pass and combination code for the locked gates. Once you're on the Hopi 3 Ranch the first thing you'll notice is that there aren't any antelope! Ha! The antelope are far and few between and sometimes very difficult to locate (and relocate).
The Bar T Bar Ranch covers nearly the rest of the unit and is also very good for antelope, though you'll run into more trees and even fewer antelope. It isn't because there aren't as many antelope here, it's just that the trees make them harder to see sometimes.
So far in the last few years of scouting 5A we haven't run into any access issues.
In 2006 the AZG&F transplanted antelope from Unit 19A into Unit 5A. Several of those tagged animals are still alive, bucks and does alike. I'm not sure if this transplant is yet having any effect on the trophy size - it would seem that it would be too early for the new genetics to kick in. Hopefully the two gene pools were meant for each other and we'll see the fruits of this merger in the next few years. If this happens 5A may be on this list for quite some time!
Overall the proposed guidelines for the 2010 antelope season look rather bleak from an antelope population perspective as Arizona is going to decrease the overall tag numbers from 1007 in 2009 to just 886 thus dropping 121 permits across the board. That's a reduction of over 8%.
There are a few new hunts for 2010, though not everyone gets to participate in all of them.