View Full Version : Unit 1 or Unit 3C for Archery Elk?

Umpqua Hunter
10-02-2011, 10:35 AM
As a non-resident I have 13 bonus points for elk in Arizona going into the 2012 draw. I want to draw next year on the early archery elk hunt in Unit 1 or Unit 3C. My wife is new to hunting and really wants to go with me on the hunt and be in the middle of the elk rut frenzy for the first time. I'd give up a little on the top end potential for bulls to hunt a unit that has a easier terrain for her and a lot of rut activity. My goal is a 340+ class bull with my bow (I've taken bigger bulls with a rifle). Which unit should I choose? I understand the Rodeo Chediski fire burned a lot of 3C in 2002, so next year will be nine years since the fire. Has the hunting in 3C already peaked out and on the way down hill? On the other hand Unit 1 I understand had the Wallow fire this year and so next year will be the first year after the burn. I would guess there will be amazing feed next year in Unit 1. Will next year be too early for Unit 1? How was 3C the year after the burn? Should I give it a couple more years and hunt Unit 1 in say 2014 which would be three years after the burn and should be prime? Do any of you have experience with these two units and what are your thoughts?

10-02-2011, 10:50 AM
I would give unit 1 a few years but I think 3c is still a prime unit with a ton of elk. More 350+ bulls hit the dirt in 3c than 1. And always a few 400+ in 3c and its rare to pull a 400 out of 1 even tho they're there. Dont forget about 9 and 10 either. They're the prime units in arizona right now and with 13 points its something to think about

Umpqua Hunter
10-02-2011, 11:19 AM
Shane: Thanks for the info. My last tag in Arizona was archery in Unit 9. Great unit but I drew it on a draught year and it was super tough even with one of the best outfitters on the Unit. I know that was a freak year though. I think my strategy for 2012 would be to apply for Unit 9 or 10 as a first choice then Unit 1 or 3C as a second choice to insure I got a tag.

Thanks for the good info on 3C. I have a buddy who guides in Arizona and he also recommended Unit 3C of the two units, so I appreciate the confirmation from you.

I've been building points for 20+ years and finally am realizing the fruit of that. I am sitting on max points for elk in Wyoming and Utah and have 20 points for elk in Colorado. I am trying to strategize drawing one great elk hunt each year over the next few years. I figure if I draw Arizona next year, by the time I hunt the other states, I'll be back up to like 4 to 6 points in Arizona and have a good shot at drawing one of the 4, 5, 6 or 7 units in Arizona.

How is the terrain in 3C? For it to be an enjoyable hunt for my wife, we would stay in our camper and would need to hunt a mile or so off a road without a lot of heavy climbing.

10-02-2011, 03:18 PM
3c can be rough in spots but you shouldnt have anything to worry about in either 3c or 1. Thats to bad that you had a tough go in 9, but that happens I guess. It was another pretty tough year this year as the archery hunt started to early in my opinion on Sept. 9 but its always the 2nd friday in Sept. and next year it will be on the 14th. It may sound dumb but we all know those few extra days may make all the difference. Good luck on the draw and if unit 1 is where you end up hunting let me know im out and about constantly and can give you some very good info. Hopefully I will have a tag myself.

Umpqua Hunter
10-02-2011, 07:10 PM
Shane: I think you're right on on the season dates next year, they should be Sept 14-27. That's the best dates since 2007. The moon should be really great through the hunt on the 24th. Do archery hunters do well hunting water in either Unit 1 or 3C?

12-20-2011, 04:09 PM
Either unit would be good.
The Rodeo fire has produced lots of new growth and the elk population is doing fine in 3C.
The Wallow fire burned even more area than the Rodeo fire, but it left lots of "islands" of unburned trees and moved slow enough that the elk left and came back after it was out. I was up in Unit 1 hunting grouse some weeks ago and saw lots of elk.
Flip a coin. I'd say if you're camping out then Unit 1 would be good, but if you're staying in a motel then go with 3C as it's closer to town, Show Low, which has more and better motels than Springerville or Eager.

01-16-2012, 02:33 AM
I bowhunted unit 1 back in 2002 and there was no need to sitting any water holes. It was like a zoo on any north facing slope. I would routinely have 10 bulls per day in bow range. All in by far the easiest terrain and access unit in the US. I ended up taking a 340" gross bull on my 5th day. Continued buddy's hunt shooting video and got a 360" 7x7 in easy bow range. Got great video of him bugling. Most bulls were 330ish. This hunt was really too easy to be challenging for me.

01-16-2012, 07:54 AM
Another vote for Unit 1! A year after any burn the elk will return for the new fresh forage it produces. You should due very well!

Umpqua Hunter
01-16-2012, 11:07 AM
Well.....unfortunately I actually sent in my app already. Zim, your experience is EXACTLY what I am looking for, a rut crazed bow elk hunt, so I am kinda kicking myself...lol. I have three friends that guide in Arizona, and they all told me to hold out for Unit 9 or 10.

I also have enough points to draw antelope next year, so I am thinking to draw Unit 10 antelope next year (2013), then if I like the area, to draw the archery elk tag in 2014. I just basically put in for "points" this year as I threw my name in the hat for Unit 10 early rifle, and Unit 1 muzzleloader. I think I would have loved that Unit 1 archery tag after what you guys have said.

01-16-2012, 11:43 AM
Umpqua, Yes I'm serious that hunt was one of a kind. I've elk hunted in many units in many states. My style is more solo backpack get away from everyone. Great hunt last year 4 miles up in the Pecos NM. The elk hunt in unit 1 AZ was totally different. Maybe not the 400" bulls like 9 or 10 (I shed hunted those units last year), but certainly unique. This hunt is probably the most like hunting a refuge as you can get. The elk density is highest I've seen anywhere, and their behavior is half tame. For instance you can tail them and they can see you, but it's typical for them not to run away. We camped right on the main road and guys were chainsawing firewood 500 yards behind our camp and an hour after they left the bulls were bugling right there! I had a 330" bull pushing 3 cows would have wallked right through our camp while I was cleaning my bull on the tailgate, if I'd not walked over there to take photos. No need to be in shape. You can hunt flat ground right off the road for big bulls. Some bulls just walk up and look at you.

BTW I will be up your way soon to burn my OR points. Up to like 14 now, can draw Mt. Emily or Wallla Walla.

Umpqua Hunter
01-16-2012, 01:37 PM
Well dang...that sounds like exactly what I was looking for. My wife is really getting into hunting, but I want an "easy" rut type hunt for the first one for her to tag along on. Also I have a 21 year old son with 9 points and I want to get him in on a great bow hunt with lots of action in 3-4 years. I'll hafta see if there is anyway to change my application in Arizona, I think I tried that several years ago and was unable to.

About Oregon, send me a PM. My friend drew the Wenaha last year (random draw tag). I also burned 12 points as a resident last year for elk. I have some info that may be helpful.

01-17-2012, 09:32 AM
I am an easterner but have 4 DIY bulls on the wall (320, 330, 340 & 350"). I don't mean to be greedy but can see why so many guys hold out. However, the additional could be 10 years for unit 9 or 10.........for a prayer at a bull with 20"-30" more bone??? And their success rate is lower. Just don't seem worth waiting 20 years.

I like a challenge and unit 1 does not really fit that bill. But if you want easy access and tame critters, you won't find better. We'll probably start applying 3A/C first pick, 1 second pick.

Umpqua Hunter
01-17-2012, 01:07 PM
ZIM: Having drawn Unit 9 in 2001, and hunted with one of the top outfitters in the state, and we were only within bow range of one bull on a waterhole in 6 days of hunting, I can attest that even Unit 9 is not a slam dunk. Unit 1 sounds awesome hunt for my wife and I. I just checked with Arizona Game and Fish and can't change my app this year, so I'll seriously look at Unit 1 for 2013.

01-17-2012, 01:47 PM
Ya I have known a few people who drew bull tags in unit 9 and none of them scored. I would not be deceived by the success rates in unit 1. Definitely are guys that pass on a lot of bulls waiting for a 380 so they go home empty. If 330" is good enough for a guy there's no excuse for less than a 95% success rate. I believe the burn feed should help unit 1 for years to come, but what I am more concerned with are more guys applying there as a result, and also crowding in the areas that did not burn. We'll see.

One good thing is at least we aren't going to get raped by SFW's midnight tag heist attempt.