Arizona Hunting Overview
If you’re looking for some of the most unique hunting opportunities in the United States, Arizona offers ten big game species accessible through public lands. With terrain ranging from mountains to deserts, Arizona’s wildlife population is healthy and varied. Managed by Arizona Game and Fish Department, tags are primarily obtained via a draw system, split by hunting season and species. Whether you’re looking to hunt elk, antelope, sheep, deer, or bison, Arizona hunting opportunities are tremendous across the spectrum.
Arizona is the go-to state for elk hunting as it offers some of the best elk hunts in the country. While a bonus point system is in place, hunters are still able to draw premium big game tags without any points in the random portion of the drawing. However, the better tags are challenging to draw, and non-residents can wait for several years for their opportunity. Two separate application periods apply for eligibility: a February deadline for elk/antelope and a separate early June deadline for deer/sheep/bison. The draw is the only way to secure a coveted Arizona tag since landowner tags are not available for purchase. Superb genetics and mild weather make Arizona a top destination for trophy hunting experiences during peak rut activity.
Big Game Species
Arizona offers big game hunters ample opportunities for adventure and sport, with ten big game species available for hunting including elk, antelope, bighorn sheep, black bear, bison, Coues whitetail deer, desert mule deer, javelina, mountain lion, and turkey. As one of the most unique hunting destinations in the USA, Arizona attracts a significant number of hunters each year, with thousands of licenses issued annually. The Arizona Game and Fish Department manages these hunts and offers a broad range of hunting opportunities via a draw system, although some tags can be obtained over the counter as well. The annual split between resident and non-resident hunters varies by species and is subject to permit availability, but many avid hunters from around the world travel to Arizona in pursuit of trophy game.
Draw and OTC Sales and Dates
|Arizona Spring Hunts Draw||Bison, Black Bear, Turkey, Javelina||September 10, 2022||October 11, 2022|
|Arizona Non-Resident OTC Deer Tag Sale||Deer||December 1, 2022||N/A|
|Arizona Elk and Antelope Draw||Elk, Antelope||January 17, 2023||February 14, 2023|
|Arizona Deer, Sheep, Bison Draw||Mule Deer, Coues Deer, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Desert Bighorn Sheep, Bison, Black Bear, Turkey, Javelina||May 30, 2023||June 14, 2023 (tentative)|
Arizona Hunting Point System
Arizona uses a bonus point system. Bonus points act like raffle tickets, giving you a better chance of success when you apply for a permit. You get one chance for your current application, and then one additional chance for every bonus point you have. You can earn bonus points each time you apply but aren’t successful, and you can also apply exclusively for bonus points if you don’t want to risk drawing a tag until you have more points. Arizona also offers a permanent bonus point that can be obtained by taking an approved Hunter Education course in the state, as well as a loyalty point that is added after applying for five consecutive years for a species. It’s important to note that each bonus point applies only to the species for which it was earned, and bonus points are purged if you don’t apply for that species for five consecutive years or if you draw a tag.
Arizona Point Types
|Bighorn Sheep||Bonus Point||Both|
How to build points
Points are acquired through draw applications for respective species.
Tags, Licenses, and Pricing
A valid hunting license is required for all Arizona draws, including for purchasing points only via the draws. An application fee is applied per species applied for. If purchasing points only, the point fee is the same as the standard application fee. Because of this, and since Arizona uses a bonus not preference system, there is little reason not to apply for an actual tag unless you will be unable to hunt that season.
|Item||Resident Price||Non-Resident Price|
|Combo Hunt & Fish License||$57.00||$160.00|
|Application Fee (per species)||$13.00||$15.00|
|Bonus Point (per species)||$13.00||$15.00|
|Item||Resident Price||Non-Resident Price|
|Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep Tag||$300.00||$1,800.00|
|Desert Bighorn Sheep Tag||$300.00||$1,800.00|
|Bison – Bull/Any Tag||$1,100.00||$5,400.00|
|Bison – Cow/Yearling Tag||$650.00||$3,250.00|
|Bison — Yearling only Tag||$350.00||$1,750.00|
|Sandhill Crane (3 tags)||$30.00||$30.00|
Arizona Hunting Regulations
- Hunters Education is required for individuals under 14 years of age.
- Hunters must be 10 years of age.
- Mechanical broadheads and lighted nocks are allowed.
- Draw weights must be 30 pounds or greater.
- Crossbows are not allowed in archery seasons, except with a disability permit.
- As of 2022, trail cameras are prohibited for use in the aid of taking game.
Arizona allows parties of up to four hunters to apply together for deer. Residents and non-residents can join groups together. Bonus points are averaged and rounded to the nearest whole number, and the group application will receive tags if the group is drawn and there are enough available for all members. Non-resident hunters should be aware of tag quotas when considering a party application, as a group application with both residents and non-residents is treated as a non-resident application.
Arizona Hunting FAQ
Landowner Tag Options
Return / Transfer Tags