Although Arizona deer received a brief respite from the drought last year, it has returned in 2013. The northeast corner of the state in particular is under extreme drought, and patches of severe drought can also be found in the west-central part of the state.
Because of the dearth of precipitation, hunters can expect to see slightly fewer whitetails and mule deer this fall than they did in 2012. Drought puts a great deal of stress on lactating does, resulting in lower fawn recruitment rates (the number of fawns that survive until the fall). Nonetheless, the Grand Canyon State still has about 85,000 whitetails and 100,000 mule deer, giving hunters plenty of shooting opportunities.
Archery deer hunters will no longer be required to report their kill in 2012, and the use of cervid urine-based lures and scents is now prohibited. In addition, the Arizona Game and Fish Department now offers “Juniors-Only” designated hunts, in which individuals younger than 18 years old can participate.
Like other western states, Arizona has plenty of public hunting land. Game Managements Units (GMUs) 10, 27, and 41 have plenty of public land, and mule deer hunters will be able to purchase their tags over-the-counter there. Whitetail hunters will find good deer numbers throughout all mule deer habitat, with whitetail hotspots in GMUs 24B, 29, 31, and 35A.