The months of waiting have come and gone since the closing of archery deer season on the last day of January. But now we have an additional three weeks with high hopes of outwitting a whitetail or mule deer in most of the hunting units along the Mogollon Rim. I had to dig into my wallet and find that unused, well-folded tag which can be still used for this late-summer hunt that begins today, Friday, Aug. 20.
Arizona has a very generous archery deer season, with more than a month-and-a-half of actual hunting days, which should create at least a few opportunities in letting an arrow fly. If you didn’t hunt in January then an over-the-counter archery deer tag is needed — it is available for the very reasonable price of $34.75. This tag can also be used in some southern units in a later December hunt if you are not successful now.
During the same three-week season it is also legal to pursue a wild turkey with a bow, provided you have purchased an archery turkey tag at a cost of $18. If you are hunting the pine forests, there is an excellent chance you could also see a flock of turkeys, which can certainly challenge your marksmanship. Whether hunting deer or turkeys, a well-placed shot is necessary to successfully place a tag on an animal during the late summer hunt.
Practice is one of the keys, and when the arrow grouping is in the 9 or 10 range, the success rate in harvesting an animal also increases. If you don’t have the proper target shooting area, then maybe a visit to Chasin’ A Dream archery shop with the indoor range would be the perfect fit. They are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and charge a very reasonable $6 per hour for comfortable air-conditioned shooting. On Tuesday evening, they are open until 8 p.m. for league target competition, giving archers a chance to shoot after work, along with the opportunity to pick up some tips from some of the experts in the area.
I asked Jeremy Ulmer, the owner of Chasin’ A Dream, for a couple of hunting tips for the fall archery season and he was quick to respond.
“Know the area that you are hunting.”
Of course this means scouting trips that will reveal what game is close by. Water, food and bedding locations are all critical to recognize, with deer tracks and droppings as the telltale signs. It’s a lot more fun to be hunting where deer are than where they have been in the past. Another method is to place a trail camera in a strategic area that has fresh deer sign and get a photo, which might determine wildlife activity.
Ulmer’s second tip was equally as important, and that is to know the morning and evening wind currents. That will determine where to put a treestand or ground blind. When he is in his treestand, Ulmer said he is much more confident when that gentle breeze is in his face and not on the back of his neck. Human scent is very noticeable to deer, so he masks his scent by using the total Scent Shield packet of soap, detergent, deodorant, and spray before he is in the hunting area. I have noticed that a deer or elk will smell me every time before they will see me if the winds are not in my favor!
If you like to see game up close where the animal has the advantage, I would recommend archery hunting. Every trip to the woods seems to create another story and adds to the learning curve of hunting big game with a string and a stick.
Good luck on your next archery hunt and, this weekend, enjoy the Rim Country, God’s creation.