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how about unit 33, lots of deer  and wilderness and no border problems also lots of tags.

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Maximus,

I have been looking at 33 also so it is on my radar just hasn’t come up in discussion yet. It appears as though there are a lot of options in this unit as well. 
Honestly with all the units to choose from and the pros and cons of each one it makes it very difficult for me to make a decision. Especially since I have never seen or have first hand knowledge of any of them. 
I know everybody who hunts white tails in AZ regularly has a certain bank of knowledge that works for them. I only know what I read and am told at this point which honestly makes it more of a true DIY adventure. If somebody told me to go to a specific spot, sit on a specific rock and get ready to shoot this whole process wouldn’t be very gratifying. 
That being said I’m all ears to any knowledge anybody wants to share because I realize many of you guys have been there and done that in many of these units, but at the end of the day I have to make the decision on where to go and how to go about it. Right or wrong. 
Thanks again for your input. Very valuable to me. 

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thegunsmith2506,

Good to know. I will be flying out and renting a car or small SUV to get to a starting point somewhere. I would like to find a decent trailhead or parking area to park then head out into the desert for 3-5 days depending on how the hunt goes. 
I have not researched any starting points yet for any of the units as I don’t know which one I will end up in yet. I plan to do that once I have a been drawn for a specific unit. Most of my research to date has been just searching for general info on all the Couse specific units. 
Thanks

 

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Here is my .02 on all those units:

22 - Big unit with tons of deer and tons of tags. Lots of wilderness and I am sure you could get away from the big crowds there. However with the number of tags you are going to see some people, even in the back country. There aren’t as many hunts  in the units with elk because they don’t overlap deer and elk seasons. Which brings to mind an added benefit that you could learn the unit and return some day to hunt elk. Very popular unit that gets hunted a lot in general so animals do get pressured here.

23 - Same as above but without one of the main freeways in the state running through it. Better quality, harder to draw. I don’t think there is a big chunk of designated wilderness but lots of remote places. 


24a - Good unit with lots of coues country. High tag numbers and without elk seasons to compete with these deer get hunted for weeks on end with a fresh batch of tag holders showing up every Friday in November. Keep in mind that your opening day is not the bucks opening day.

24b - Steep desert canyons, the ones that aren’t moonscape from last summer’s fire are covered in thorns and rattlesnakes. It’s close to Phoenix and has some of the best draw odds in the state, because people don’t like hunting it. There is good country and wilderness available and some big bucks do come out of the unit but numbers are not as high as down south and the hunting is harder. I hunt there every other year and end up swearing never again every time. Then a year goes by and I forget. I won’t be hunting there next year.

31 - I don’t think there is a lot of designated wilderness here and the unit isn’t terribly remote. But it’s got tons of coues country in it. This unit has a lot of hunts and the locals work it over pretty good but it always produces some nice bucks and it has a little bit of everything. I used to hunt there more, but it’s a long ways from an airport and there aren’t a lot of places to take a rental car. But you could start on top of My Graham and hunt down. You’d need a ride back to the top but I bet you could figure that out. 
 

32 - There are some private land access issues that can complicate this unit. I don’t know if there is a trailhead that would get you into the Galiuro’s or not. Beware, the back roads here can be brutal.

33 - Big Unit with tons of deer in it. Very close to Tucson or Phoenix. Lots of tags with hunts back to back for most of the fall. But there is wilderness and just remote back country. If there weren’t so many tags this would hands down be the best coues unit there is. But if I were you, I’d look hard at this unit. If you can spend the entire hunt, I would recommend one of the earlier ones to beat the pressure. 
 

Regardless of unit:

Beware that the early hunts will have plenty of snakes out and about. Just watch where you step and sit.

The hunts that are late November/Early December usually have decent odds and are a few days longer than the early ones. The deer have been pressured, but the weather is usually pleasant, but this year they got lots of rain and snow at that time.

Good luck and keep us posted on your plans!

 

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So in your guys opinion is the whole illegal/cartel thing blown up more than what it actually is or is it a legitimate concern? That’s my main concern. 
Also if any of you guys do solo multi day backpack hunts is there any consistent cell service in the wilderness parts of these units or is a satellite phone a wise piece of equipment to carry? 
Thanks for everybody’s help. If I’m lucky enough to get a tag I’ll report my experience. 

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Flatlander,

Thats a load of great info!! Thanks man!!!

The more info I get and research I do on 33 the more appealing it is to me for sure. 
I’ll keep you guys posted if/when I get drawn for a hunt. Thanks again and good luck to you!!!

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I don't know what part of NC you are in, but I was at Bragg for 3 years and one thing the terrain in very different in Coues country than pines and sand. I have hunted the border units for many years and have never had any trouble, but did run across some drug runners once. 

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I live in north central N.C. and hunt on a farm near the N.C./VA border mostly. No sand where I hunt now. Mostly oak ridges and pine thickets. 
Yeah definitely a different world terrain wise in AZ from here in N.C. but that’s part of the excitement for me. Something 180 degrees different from what I know here. 
I haven’t ruled out the southern birder units for sure but I do believe my #1 pick will definitely be 33. After that I’m not sure yet. 
Thanks man. 
 

 

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53 minutes ago, Down East said:

I live in north central N.C. and hunt on a farm near the N.C./VA border mostly. No sand where I hunt now. Mostly oak ridges and pine thickets. 
Yeah definitely a different world terrain wise in AZ from here in N.C. but that’s part of the excitement for me. Something 180 degrees different from what I know here. 
I haven’t ruled out the southern birder units for sure but I do believe my #1 pick will definitely be 33. After that I’m not sure yet. 
Thanks man. 
 

 

You should have a good hunt there. 

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On 1/3/2020 at 7:03 PM, Down East said:

So in your guys opinion is the whole illegal/cartel thing blown up more than what it actually is or is it a legitimate concern? 

We drew a 36 tag in '19.  First time in there.  We did have a chance a good buck. Like most are stating, plenty of deer.  Really cool country- think oak savanna. Our hunting experience though was not the best as we had illegals walking thru camp every night, had illegals walk below us as we were glassing once, and our friends camp a mile away from us had the BP chopper land 200 yards from his tent and round up 7 drug runners at 1:00AM.  I don't think we we in 'danger' it's just not the hunting experience I want.

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33 is hard to pass.  Great access.  Ton of deer. There are a lot of hunters, even so getting away from the majority will be easy. I would be taking a hard look into that unit.    

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Thanks Kaffer62. Everybody seems to say 33 is a favorable unit across the board. 
If I were to travel 2300 miles and have the kind of things happen that Jnj13 describes I would definitely be somewhat disappointed. What he describes is definitely what I am trying to avoid. 
I realize most hunters have favorable experiences in the border units but I’m not sure I’m willing to take that chance. Especially on my first Couse hunt ever when I already am so far behind the learning curve on so many other facets of hunting these deer. The challenge for me in even going on this hunt is to see for myself if I can apply my 35 years of general hunting knowledge to successfully kill a whitetail in the desert environment. 
Thanks again man!!!

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