Bow Hunting For Deer A Real Challenge


Believe it or not, it’s archery deer season again in the northern section of Arizona, which includes the Payson area units 22 and 23.

Unsuccessful January archery hunters can use that same tag for the three-week season that is currently under way. Arizona has a very generous split season in most units where an archer may spend as many as 50 days in pursuit of a whitetail or muley.

The many variables in bow and arrow deer hunting make the sport a real challenge to the most seasoned woodsman. 

My limited experience of less than 10 years as an archer has revealed that the deer definitely have the advantage, at least when I am in pursuit. I have found that the best way to improve the odds is by spending time in the deer’s domain trying to learn their daily patterns when they are most active. Taking advice from other hunters who seem to tag a trophy deer every season can help teach those with less experience.

The Payson area has a phenomenal number of excellent archery deer hunters who are willing to share some of their tips of success, if asked. Well, I picked three and asked each for some advice they would be willing to share with other hunters. I found that the answers varied and all the tips would be stored in my aging brain for future use.

Mark Kile, who has taken three, trophy whitetail in the 100-inch range or better with his bow commented, “The early season with scorching daytime temperatures means water is the ticket. Being willing to sit or stand for hours on end will give a hunter opportunities to see deer and maybe that big one will show.”

Caleb Miller, another successful archer said, “Preseason scouting is a must. In the Arizona heat, the early morning and late afternoon is that window of time when deer are on the move. It is necessary to be in position with a pair of quality binoculars glassing all the haunts where that big buck might be living.”

John Ewing of Tonto Basin has a number of trophy animals because of his confidence at taking those long shots with his bow. His advice is, “Practice at various distances when at the range. Daily practice when possible increases that accuracy which is so important in all hunting. With the high-tech bows on the market it is possible to make that 100-yard shot if the archer has the confidence, which is created by having repeated that shot several times during practice sessions.”

The Payson area is a hotbed of successful archery hunting which attracts some of the best sportsmen in the West. Their knowledge of bow and arrow hunting would fill volumes of books on the subject.

If you have questions like I do, ask some of the locals and numerous names will surface that are successful with the “string and a stick.”

There is one week left in the early archery season. You still have time to purchase that over-the-counter tag and head to the woods.

Remember, safety and hunter etiquette goes a long way in promoting the great sport of archery hunting. 

This weekend enjoy our Rim Country — God’s creation.


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