Chris was a very lucky hunter to draw a 2016 Arizona Rifle Elk tag! Chris booked his elk hunt with us & came to Arizona wanting to better his biggest bull elk. On the second day of his Arizona elk hunt, Chris had the chance to take a big bull we called “SiX”.
After several days of hard bowhunting in Arizona, Troy Seward was able to wrap his over-the-counter archery mule deer tag around an old desert buck we called Shovel Beams. This was Troy’s biggest archery mule deer to date & 2nd archery mule deer in 2 years of archery mule deer hunting with us.
The 2016 Arizona Archery Mule Deer rut was very dull & sporadic as compared to years past. We were able to find multiple bucks throughout the archery hunt, but most of the bigger mature mule deer were very inconsistent in courting does. One day you would find a big mature mule deer buck rutting, while the next day he was disappear & go off by himself. This made for tougher than normal archery mule deer rut hunting conditions, but was still a very enjoyable hunt for all of our 2016 bowhunters.
Lee & Troy found Shovel Beams late on the afternoon of the 4th day, but they were hunting a bigger mule deer buck. In fact, Troy had the bigger buck within bow range for several minutes but the wind swirled before the bedded buck presented a shot. The big desert mule deer blew out just before dark, thus a plan was formed to try & relocated the buck the next morning.
The next morning Troy & Lee glassed for their big buck, while Craig & Logan Knopp glassed for Shovel Beams. Shovel Beams showed up while in the middle of a mule deer rutting frenzy. Meanwhile, the big buck the other crew was searching for slipped off in some mule deer black hole. A plan was launched for both Troy & Logan to pursue Shovel Beams as he was intensely searching for more does.
Shovel Beams was zigging & zagging for almost an hour, before Troy was able to release a single deadly arrow at 60 yards. The big old Arizona desert mule deer buck literally fell to his death just 30 yards from Logan while he was waiting with a knocked arrow!
Check-out some live & dead video of the Shovel Beams:
As we evaluated the 2016 Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Hunting Units, we broke it down into the 2 desert sub-species & Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, so we would be comparing apples-to-apples.
Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep are classified into Mexicana and Nelsoni sub-species, which they are typically defined by geography. Mexicana usuallyrams don’t flare out wide, but tend to hold their mass throughout their horns and on average, score better. Nelsoni rams tend to be all over the map with regards to horn structure, but they are most known for being wide, long and flared out look.
The biggest talked about issue in the Nelsoni or Region 3 Desert Bighorn Sheep Units this year is the pneumonia outbreak which has taken place over the past year. This outbreak was discovered in December & is being closely monitored by the Arizona Game & Fish Department. In a link below you can listen to the latest information regarding this outbreak, so you can at least be informed.
As we broke down the Southern & Central Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Units, we discussed it with our good friends Jay Scott & Darr Colburn. These guys know many of these units extremely well and after talking with them and analyzing the Arizona Game & Fish Department’s desert bighorn sheep reports, here is our Top 3 Arizona (Mexicana) Desert Bighorn Sheep Units for 2016:
honorable mention: 43B
Listen to Episode #145 of the Jay Scott Outdoors Podcast as we discuss the Best Units for Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Hunting in 2016.