Arizona is arguably one of the most incredible western hunting states. With a vast range of species, along with outstanding trophy potential, the state offers hunters tremendous opportunity.

Famed wilderness areas, such as the Kaibab mountain range or the legendary Arizona “strip” are inhibited by dense populations of game that are pursued by few hunters that can get their hands on a tag.

Arizona is home of an extremely wide spectrum of wildlife including some very unique game such as Couse deer, Javelina, and coutimundi. Though it is possible to purchase over-the-counter tags, Arizona houses many highly sought after areas that require the hunter to obtain the tag in a lottery-type draw.

Drawing a decent big game tag in Arizona can take years for any hunter. Accumulating a competitive collection of bonus points to increase your odds takes patience, commitment, as well as money, however there are a few ways to get ahead of the game. 

Arizona offers two types of lifetime bonus points. These points can be obtained by any hunter. Although you might have to go the extra mile to get these points, you will thank yourself later when you draw the tag of a lifetime. These permanent bonus points will remain on your records for all of Arizona’s big game species; this means you will have an extra point for elk, antelope, all deer, buffalo, javelina, and turkey, and the point will never go away as long as the hunter continues applying for that hunt. 

Hunter safety

The first lifetime point can be gained by completing Arizona’s hunter safety course. There are a few ways to do this, online or in person, however you will be required to attend a field day in Arizona regardless of if you complete the class online or not. Personally, I think it is way worth it to attend the full length class and field day. It was only 8 dollars for the class, so getting there is where you are likely to be spending most of your money on this.

Although there are only a few per year, it will make the long trip much more valuable. The full class only lasts a day.  You will be forced to review somewhat elementary safety practices, and display this safety in the field portion, but you are likely to get a far more in-depth understanding of Arizona’s wildlife, laws, and game and fish system. The information is far worth the few extra hours in class. Not to mention, you will have the opportunity to meet and communicate with serious hunters from all around the country.

Loyalty point

This point might take a little more time and money. It is a little bit different than the hunter safety point due to it being species specific. You can earn this point by applying for a species 5 consecutive years in a row. You will be able to earn one of these points for any big game species, however you must be very diligent in applying for the desired species every year. Once you get that extra loyalty point, you cannot lose it, plus if you haven’t drawn in those 5 years, then you have 6 points ready to go for the next year! The only drawback is, of course, the time and money you have invested in those hunts and bonus points.

So lets do the math. You found the time to attend the Arizona hunter safety course, you know all the best units to apply for, you have been applying for all your favorite big game species for half a decade, and you now have an impressive collection of bonus points that would even make an Arizona resident a bit jealous. You have 2 permanent points and 5 additional points from your relentless applications to Arizona. When you draw your dream tag this next season, you are already going to be 2 years ahead of the point game.

If you are serious about tackling one of the most bountiful western hunting states, then what are you waiting for? See you out there.

Photo credit: Dreamstime