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Deer Hunting in Arizona
If the young sprouts can find a deer at sixty miles an hour and still be able to shoot it with a bow and arrow, more power to them.
A hunting license and deer tag was an easy matter of an across-the-counter purchase. A one-hundred-mile trip from Phoenix to the campsite for a weekend with my son was a real pleasure, whether I got a deer or not.
The years went by quickly and, as they passed, the population of hunters overran the number of deer in the woods. Each time we went hunting, it became more and more obvious that we would see less people if we just stayed home. I made a major decision to change our hunting area.
Big Bug Mesa, southeast of Prescott, Arizona was my destination. The drive up through the tall piney wilderness was beautiful until we reached the mesa area. The whole area around and over Big Bug Mesa was devastated from a forest fire. The tall pines lay on the ground in a tangle of charred logs as far as the eye could see. Deer were plentiful due to the bedding areas under the tangles of logs. The feeding areas were in the oak thickets below the burn area.
Since the early 1970s, the licensing laws have changed a lot. Archery hunters can still buy their license and archery deer tag across the counter. The rifle hunter must apply for a permit, with a choice of up to five hunt areas, and wait for the drawing date to see if he was successful in the drawing. The drawing was established in an effort to limit the number of hunters in a given area. As time went on, the hunters that were successful in the drawing began taking their families with them. Today there are more people in the woods, during deer season, than ever before.
I have given up rifle hunting and the hassles that go with it. I am now an archery hunter. I do my best to get as far back in the wilderness as I can. I hunt on foot from my camp and believe that the woods should be undisturbed by my presence. Then the ATVs arrive. They rip and roar through the tranquil forest like the tanks of world war two. Most of them are joy riders and could not care less if a hunter is in the woods. The 2020-10 Arizona Game and Fish Regulation, page 95, (A.R.S. 17-301 B, R12-4-319) states that driving a vehicle off-road, to get closer to wildlife, is illegal. ATV riders don't care about roads. After all, ATV stands for All Terrain Vehicle. They forget the fact that an ATV is a vehicle.
Well, I am now pushing seventy years old and I'm beginning to think that I'll just go fishing. My old-school ways will never adjust to the modern technologies being applied to hunting. If the young sprouts can find a deer at sixty miles an hour and still be able to shoot it with a bow and arrow, more power to them.
Sources: 2020-10 Arizona Game and Fish department, Hunting and Trapping regulations.