This annual booklet includes season dates, bag limits, hunt types, open areas, rules, regulations, drawing application details, and other requirements for the hunting of most big game, small game, other wildlife in Arizona.*
Please note that one of the big changes in the regulations this year (2014) is that the trapping seasons, rules and regulations are not included in the Hunting Regulations booklet. The department will produce a separate Trapping Regulations pamphlet that will be available in the summer of 2013. The trapping seasons, rules and regulations will no longer be a part of the annual Arizona Hunting Regulations booklet.
Big game species covered in this regulation includes deer (mule deer and white-tailed deer), fall turkey, fall javelina, bighorn sheep, fall buffalo, fall bear, and mountain lion.
The application deadline for fall hunt permit-tags is typically the second Tuesday in June. The annual fall hunting regulations are set at the April Commission meeting. Electronic copies of these regulations are typically available the last week of April. Printed copies are typically distributed starting the second week of May.
Contents and Species Included:
Getting Started, License and Fee Information
Big Game Seasons
Fall Turkey Season
Bighorn Sheep Season
Fall Buffalo Season
Fall Bear Season
Mountain Lion Season
Population Management Season
Small Game, Other Wildlife Seasons
Tree Squirrel Season
Cottontail Rabbit Season
Predatory and Fur-bearing
Other Birds and Mammals Season
Chukar Partridge Season
Blue Grouse Seaso
More Information Before You Go
Laws, Rules and Methods of Take
* There are two other annual hunt draw information booklets published for big game hunts covering season dates, open areas, permits and drawing/application information. A spring booklet with big game hunts for turkey, javelina, buffalo and bear. A booklet for elk and pronghorn antelope hunts covering season dates, open areas, permits, and drawing/application information (see below). Additionally, migratory birds, waterfowl, and sandhill crane have separate regulation pamphlets listed below.
This booklet includes season dates, bag limits, hunt types, open areas, drawing application details, and other information for pronghorn antelope and elk only.
The pronghorn antelope and elk permit application deadline is typically the second Tuesday in February.
These regulations are set at the December Commission meeting. Electronic copies of these regulations are typically available the third week of December and printed copies are typically distributed starting the second week of January.
This booklet includes season dates, bag limits, hunt types, open areas, drawing application details, and information for spring hunts for turkey, javelina, buffalo, and bear only.
The application deadline for spring hunts is typically the second Tuesday in October. These regulations are set at the August Commission meeting. Electronic copies are typically available the last week of August and printed copies are typically distributed starting the third week of September.
This regulation pamphlet covers license requirements, wildlife that can be legally taken, season dates, open areas, game management units closed to trapping, trapper education requirements, frequently asked questions, and other important information.
A valid Arizona license is required for taking wildlife (including fish) in Arizona. The licensee shall carry the license when participating in hunting or fishing or other form of take. Take means pursuing, shooting, hunting, fishing, trapping, killing, capturing, snaring, or netting wildlife. Wildlife includes all wild mammals, wild birds, reptiles, amphibians, mollusks, crustaceans and fish.
Hunt Arizona 2012 Edition: Survey, Harvest and Hunt Data for Big and Small Game
Improve your odds of drawing a hunt permit-tag.
Do you want to find the hunts with the best chances of putting a tag in your pocket? Or, are you more interested in which hunts have the best harvest success?
You can find that information and much more in the annual Hunt Arizona resource guide.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s annual collection of survey, harvest and hunt data for big and small game has the latest 5-year data as well as historical data that you are bound to find of interest, some of it dating back to 1930s.
Arizona offers some of the best trophy and or unique hunting opportunities in North America for each of these species: Black bear, buffalo, coues whitetail, desert bighorn sheep, elk, javelina, mountain lion, mule deer, pronghorn antelope and turkey (goulds or merriam).
Approximately 1 million acres of lands now open to hunting
Changes to A.R.S. §13-3107 and A.R.S. §13-3108 transferred the authority to regulate discharging a firearm while lawfully taking wildlife within the limits of any municipality, park, or preserve during an open season to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.
This change reopened approximately 1 million acres of public and state trust lands on the fringes of municipalities to hunting.
These new laws provide a consistent and transparent approach through the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, a five-member public board, for addressing potential public safety concerns and establishing a balance among the needs of hunters, wildlife-related recreational users and other citizens.
The public should not be concerned about these new changes having an effect on the safety in their communities. While there are many changes to the regulations due to the change of authority, many of these changes are to mimic sensible restrictions that were already in place through other regulations such as overarching state laws, intergovernmental agreements, or other means.
It is important to note that there are three fundamental state laws that even with the other law changes make it illegal to hunt near homes, roadways, or trespass on private property, including:
A.R.S. § 17-309 (a)(4) It is unlawful for a person to: "Discharge a firearm while taking wildlife within one-fourth mile of an occupied farmhouse or other residence, cabin, lodge or building without permission of the owner or resident."
A.R.S. § 17-301 (b): "...No person may knowingly discharge any firearm or shoot any other device upon, from, across or into a road or railway."
A.R.S. § 17-304 provides provisions for private landowners ensuring: A person may not trespass on private property for taking wildlife if that property is posted ‘no hunting’ or if a person is asked to leave by the owner.
The information below is an overview of some of the key regulatory changes that hunters and citizens need to know about.
However, it is the hunter’s responsibility to understand the new rules, particularly the notes section for each hunting season and species for the official legal requirements.
Closed to hunting – A large portion of the Phoenix metropolitan area is closed to all hunting. This area closure pertains to hunts in metro units 25M, and 26M. This closure is to ensure hunting only occurs in open, undeveloped, uninhabited public and state trust lands where it is safe to do so.
Areas excluded from this closure are the Arizona Game and Fish Commission’s Base and Meridian Wildlife Area; and county islands that are large enough to comply with the quarter-mile rule. However, hunting in these areas is restricted to "limited weapon - shotgun shooting shot" seasons for public safety (no single-projectile firearms—i.e.: rifles, pistols, muzzleloaders).
Closed to hunting – Golf courses, airports, and posted water treatment facilities statewide are closed to hunting.
Closed to hunting – City and county parks and/or preserves are closed to hunting, except where specifically opened by commission order.
For a list of the parks and/or preserves that the commission has opened to hunting, see the “Restricted Hunting Areas” section below.
Closed to hunting – There are also a number of other areas that are closed to hunting due to a variety of reasons. Some of these closures are familiar, some are new based on the recent law changes, and others incorporate the spirit of prior cooperative agreements.
Hunters will need to thoroughly check the notes section of the regulations for the species they plan to hunt before taking to the field.
Private Lands Closed to Hunting with Firearms:
Tucson Area: Private lands inside city limits within the Tucson metro hunt unit 38M are closed to all firearm hunting, including "limited weapon - shotgun shooting shot" seasons.
Hunting with a firearm in the 38M metro unit is only permitted on public and state trust lands, and is further restricted to hunting in those areas large enough to comply with the quarter-mile rule. However, these private lands are open to “archery-only” seasons.
Flagstaff Area: Private lands inside city limits within the Flagstaff metro hunt unit 11M are closed to all firearm hunting, including "limited weapon - shotgun shooting shot" seasons.
Hunting with a firearm in the 11M metro unit is only permitted on public and state trust lands, and is further restricted to hunting in those areas are large enough to comply with the quarter-mile rule. However, these private lands are open to “archery-only” seasons.
Note: The private lands inside metro units 11M and 38M are open to "archery-only seasons" when opened by commission order, as listed by species and their specific regulation.
RESTRICTED HUNTING AREAS:
Open to hunting with restrictions – Some Pima and Maricopa County parks and/or preserves are only open to hunting by commission order. However, additional restrictions have been implemented for safety reasons, and to avoid conflicts with multiple-uses of the area.
In these commission opened parks and/or preserves, it is also unlawful to take wildlife within a quarter-mile of a developed campground, picnic area, occupied building, boat ramp, shooting range, or golf course. Hunters must comply with applicable check-in and fee requirements.
The parks and/or preserves that are open to hunting, and any weapon type restrictions, will be listed by commission order under each specific season, species, and appropriate notes.
Pima and Maricopa County Parks that are open to hunting, subject to commission order include:
Lake Pleasant, White Tank Mountains, McDowell Mountain, and Estrella Mountain Regional Park.
These Maricopa County parks are open to hunting seasons that coincide with quail season, but hunting is restricted to "limited weapon - shotgun shooting shot" and "archery-only seasons" depending on commission order and species.
A-7 Ranch in Units 32 and 33, Oracle Ridge Property in Unit 33, Six Bar Ranch in Unit 33, Emperita Ranch in Unit 34B, Bar V Ranch in Unit 34B, Sands Ranch in Unit 34B, Clyne Ranch in Unit 34B, Diamond Bell Ranch in Unit 36A, Marley Ranch in Units 36A and 36B, Rancho Seco in Units 36A and 36B, Kings 98 Ranch in Unit 36C, Old Hayhook Ranch in Unit 36C, Verdugo in Unit 36C, Bee Ranch in Unit 37A, Mordka Ranch in Unit 37A, Buckelew Ranch in Unit 37A, Carpenter Ranch in Unit 37A, Cochise Canyon Ranch in Unit 37A, Lords Ranch in Unit 37A, and Tortolita Mountain Park in Unit 37A.
These Pima County parks are open to hunting based on commission order, species being hunted, and applicable notes in the appropriate regulations.
Restricted Hunting on Private Property
For those private lands within city limits, but not already addressed by restrictions for metro units 11M, 38M, or the Phoenix metro no-hunting area, the following restrictions apply.
Private property is closed for “general rifle seasons” – Private property within city limits is closed to hunting during any “general (rifle) season.” This is not a weapon-type restriction, but a closure of the property to rifle seasons (or using a lesser weapon type during that season) on private property lands inside city limits.
This restriction does not affect private property outside city limits. The restriction does not affect public and state lands inside city limits.
There are some limited exceptions for wildlife management needs, such as the limited-opportunity elk hunts in Unit 1 and pronghorn antelope hunts in Unit 19A , which are identified by commission order in the appropriate regulations and notes section.
This restriction is to ensure hunting inside city limits with longer-ranged weapons is done on open, undeveloped, uninhabited public and state trust lands where it is safe to do so.
"Limited weapon - shotgun shooting shot" on private lands -
Realizing that some private lands inside of city limits may accommodate safe areas to hunt with short-ranged shotguns (while still complying with the quarter-mile rule) the commission added new "limited weapon - shotgun shooting shot" seasons to provide provisions for hunting on private property inside city limits. Species that these seasons were created for include predators and furbearers, rabbits, quail, dove, and other birds and mammals.
This means that for those species with a "limited weapon - shotgun shooting shot" season, it is legal to hunt on private property inside city limits in most areas of the state (while still complying with the quarter-mile rule), if not otherwise excluded by commission order, or notes section (i.e., 11M, 38M, and the no-hunting Phoenix metro area).
Closed to hunting – Hunting reptiles with a firearm will not be permitted on private property inside city limits, city and county parks and preserves (except where specifically opened by commission order), golf courses, airports, and posted water treatment facilities statewide. A limited-weapon reptile season, which does not include the use of firearms, was created for taking/collecting of reptiles in these areas closed to firearms. These changes will allow reptile collecting statewide, but not with a firearm in these congested areas.