Arizona big game hunting is a special category of hunting. The state publishes a set of Game and Fish laws every year; complete information on Arizona big game hunting can be found on the Arizona Game and Fish Department website. The Arizona Hunting Regulations book spans a fiscal year, from fall to spring season, identifying the following animals as “big game”: Coues Deer, Mule Deer, White-tailed Deer, Buffalo, Pronghorn Antelope, Elk, Desert Big Horn Sheep, Buffalo, Javelina, Mountain Lion, Bobcat, Black Bears, and Merriam’s Turkey.
Arizona has taken several hunter friendly steps to protect hunters and promote the sport to those who may be challenged. There is a state law that helps protect hunters from harassment by anti-hunting groups and individuals. Arizona has special free combination hunting and fishing licenses available to “Pioneers”, hunters over 70 years of age who have also been a resident of Arizona for the previous 25 years, and to Veterans who are disabled, can show 100% service related disabilities, and who have resided in the state for one or more previous years.
Big game hunters in Arizona over 14 years of age must have a license of their own to hunt. For big game, those between 10 and 13 must have a valid license, Hunter Education Course completion card, and required permits, tags and stamps. Those under 10 a not allowed to hunt big game big gaming. Licenses can be purchased at dealers, or from any Arizona Game and Fish Department office. To quality as a resident, the hunter must have lived in Arizona for at least the six months prior to application for license or tag. Armed Forces members must be stationed in Arizona for the previous 30 days. Only residents can purchase a resident license; all others must buy the non-resident license. A three-dad non-resident license cannot be used for big game hunting. Under certain restrictions, people may transfer big game tags to children.
Prices for Arizona big game hunting permits run from $3 for bobcat resident or non-resident tag, to $5452.25 for a non-resident buffalo bull permit tag. There is an annual raffle for big game permits, sponsored by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, along with sportsman’s groups. Tickets run $5 to $25, depending on the big game species chosen; there is one tag drawn for each of 10 different big game species.
There is an elk and antelope permit draw and a bonus point system; complete details for this and all Arizona Big Game Hunting rules and fees are on the Arizona Game and Fish Department website. Hunts may take place on almost all public lands administered by the BLM. Special regulations for wilderness hunting areas are in effect, there is no gas, drinking water, or other services available, and animal densities are low so hunting is challenging. Arizona big game hunts are rugged and weather unpredictable and changeable. Motor vehicles, mountain bikes, and mechanized equipment are prohibited in wilderness areas. National Parks in Arizona are closed to hunting.