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Gringo

23 North Early Archery

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I’ll be in shape.  Broadheads are already tuned up and flying like darts….   I know what I’m very lucky to have gotten, and I plan to whack a big’n

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Make sure have lots of help for the pack out. 23 and 27 are the only AZ units I would pass on a bull due to terrain. My 23 bull tipped over backwards off a cliff on an oak tree growing in oak brush. Had to de-bone a lot of it balancing on the bull. Packout was insane...and waited for him to leave the really bad spots in the canyon before shooting. Could barely walk after sleeping and had two friends helping. Have packed out other bulls solo over further distances but brush plus steep loose rock and the occasional cliff is tough. 

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It's a great area, can be a great hunt.  But be ready for confrontations when you get on the bull of your dreams.  Only 15 tags for archery but 300 helpers it can be very frustrating.  When you are told to back out because they have a hunter on that bull.  and then you see a sxs racing down a road and out jumps 3 more helpers and 1 hunter to go after the bull you are already on....................

 

I don't want to discourage you but make you aware of what can happen.  My thought is pattern and be out where you want to by 3 a.m.   

Best of luck.

 

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12 hours ago, yotebuster said:

If a person goes guided do they not need to be in great shape to get to said big bulls?

 

12 hours ago, dusty said:

If a person goes guided do they not need to be in great shape to get to said big bulls?     Jimmy Johns 

 

Lol’d so hard 

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maybe they need a guide to even up the fights.  Or at least bring someone to hang out in camp.  It's nice to not worry about your camp the day after your first confrontation. 

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I had the tag 7 years ago.  It’s a fun hunt.  I wouldn’t say it was head and shoulders better than other hunts I have had.  The quality isn’t really out of this world.  You see lots of elk and have less hunters in the field but still rarely see bulls over 350.  I think you have high tag numbers on the late rifle hunt to thank for that.

 

As some have alluded to already, there are WAY more people in the field than tags. . . This really diminishes some of the benefits of only 15 tags.  You will likely run into many people out calling and enjoying the woods/rut who aren’t even hunting or with a hunter.  I never really did have confrontations but did find that when I was on a great bull, there were often other hunters/callers after the same bull.  The year I had the tag there were cameras on almost all water sources and often these cameras were being checked multiple times daily which made many elk go nocturnal in spite of limited “hunters” in the field.  If water is scarce, water sources getting hit by big bulls are in high demand.  This year may change, to a degree, with cameras banned for hunting.
 

For the most part, I think you draw this tag for great rut action and experiences and not for sitting water.  I think if you go into it expecting to get into rutting bulls that you will be happy.  If you think the bulls are a lot bigger in 23 than other units, you will be let down.  

 

One other benefit to this hunt is different topography.  You can be in gentle rolling hills covered with pines, steep canyons overgrown with oaks after fires, or pinyon/junipers.  All hold elk and have the potential to hold a giant.  You can pick what you’re looking for in your hunt.  Enjoy the time and hope the rut gets going early this year for your sake.  

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I’ve killed a couple of really nice Bulls in NM over the years, and honestly I lust over a 200” Muley way more than a Giant Bull Elk.   Probably good, because what I want out of the hunt is a great rut hunt with plenty of bugling.   I’m not concerned with chasing a 400” Bull, especially if I have to shank the next guy to get to it first.   Thanks to everyone that’s chimed in so far.  Keep ‘em coming.

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There is one certain guide service that takes over the entire unit from September through December.

They are on every glassing knob from dawn to dusk. They have huge, city like camps with every imaginable type of ATV, UTV, Jeep, etc.

4 years ago I had the late rifle tag and after 3 straight days of having them surround me, I got up extra early and to my glassing spot at 3:00 am, Sunrise is not until after 7:00 am. 5;30 am the army (6-8 guys on 4 UTV's and one hunter) shows up and sets up all over the mountain, including 60 yards from me in plain sight. 

As soon as the sun comes up the hunter starts lobbing 900 yard shots across the valley, missing the bull by 10 feet. 3-4 shots later, the bulls walk off and over the ridge. 

The bulls had been on that ridge every morning for the previous 3 weeks. They never came back after being shot at. 

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