Arizona's GMU 2C
I haven't written one of these posts in a few years. I also realize that it's probably too late for nearly anyone to utilize any of the information in this post since the deadline to apply in Arizona is tomorrow. I thought I'd see what's changed since I started writing these posts and share my thoughts anyway.
In 2007 I listed Units 10, 19A, 19B, 18A, and 17B as the Top 5 Arizona Antelope Units.
In 2008 the list changed a little bit as I listed Units 10, 19A, 18A, 5A and 4A/B.
The removal of 19B from the list was due mainly to access issues. The trophy potential in the unit remains to this day, but the best areas in the unit are behind locked gates.
The removal of 17B was for the exact same reason as 19B.
The inclusion of 5A and 4A/B was because they both have a lot of accessible land and also had big buck potential. Neither unit was producing giants, but after scouting them both during the 2007 season we saw many record book bucks.
In 2009 the units remained the same, but we removed 19A from the list. I've copied and pasted an excerpt from that post from 2009:
We guided 3 hunters in 19A last year and had good success, but it wasn't without headaches. The private ranches are sometimes difficult to work with, but there are a couple main factors in our decision to remove 19A from our list for 2009:
We didn't replace 19A with any particular unit that year for a recommendation.
In 2010 I listed Units 10, 5A, and 18B. I only listed 3 units that year and that was about when I stopped posting these Arizona Unit Recommendations.
For 2013 the units are going to probably change more than they have in past years. For starters, the old standby, Unit 10, will not be making our list.
This is one of the reasons: Boquillas Ranch Access Agreement
There are two other main reasons for removing Unit 10 as one of the top units:
1. The number of trophy bucks has declined the last several years. The decline started in 2009. There were very few good bucks that year and the unit hasn't recovered yet. My guess is that we'll see a rebound either this season or in 2014, but to be safe I'd wait until next year.
2. The ratio of guides per hunters is greater than any other unit in the state. What this means for a DIY hunter is that most of the biggest bucks are going to be hunted by guides and their hunters. Simply put, guides have more time to scout than DIY hunters and they typically have far more resources. If you like to relax on your hunts you'll find yourself in the wrong place during this hunt.
I expect the removal of Unit 10 to be a one year deal. After we know more about the final access agreement on the Boquillas and after the trophy bucks reemerge more fully I think Unit 10 will once again find it's way back to the top of the list.
The top units for 2013, in no particular order, are:
These are the 3 best units in the state right now. 5B and 9 both have great access, great bucks, and very few hunters. Unit 19A is the same as it was in in 2008. Access is still an issue but with a little money ($750-$1500) you can gain access to nearly every ranch in the unit (first come, first serve).
My sleeper units for 2013 are, in no particular order:
I realize none of these units are really that much easier to draw than any other unit and that, in a traditional sense, none of them are really "sleeper" units, but these are the units I feel have potential this season to produce larger trophy bucks or more trophy bucks than they usually do. That's my reason for including them in the sleeper category. I wouldn't recommend these as top choices, but if you're looking for something different this year, live close to one of these units, or are attempting to "beat" the system by applying for a unit a little more off the wall, then one of these units may fit the bill.
But be careful and don't think that you're going to apply for Unit 21 and kill a monster antelope. Typically 21 produces mid to upper 70's type bucks. With my little algorithms telling me that it will produce better than usual that really only means that I think there will either be more of the top caliber bucks in the unit this year (a lot of 78" bucks instead of just a few) or that the top end of the gene pool will be better overall (you'll find an 82" - 83" buck instead of a 78" - 79" buck).
Those are my thoughts for this coming year and I hope everyone has a season to remember.