Archery Season Begins Today

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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. If you hunted in the January archery deer season and did not connect, you can try again with the same tag.

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 for a very reasonable price of $34.75 for the lengthy hunt. 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.  Since I shot a whitetail in January, my plans are to hunt and hopefully connect on my first archery turkey. Whether hunting deer or turkeys, a well-placed shot is necessary to successfully put 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, 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 5 p.m. daily and charge a very reasonable $8 per day for comfortable, air-conditioned shooting conditions. There is always someone in the store who can give expert advice to the archer who wants to improve their accuracy. Give them a call at (928) 468-6181 if you have any archery questions.

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 does have fresh deer sign in which a photo might determine wildlife activity.

His 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, Jeremy said he is much more confident if 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. The late-summer season, with light clothing, can be far more comfortable than the January hunt with two feet of snow on the ground and trying to stay warm in a treestand.

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.

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