Yuma Proving Ground (YPG): This 840,000-acre munitions testing facility in southwestern Arizona offers hunting on 135,000 of its acres for desert bighorn sheep, desert mule deer and mountain lion. YPG is situated in one of the hottest, driest spots on earth, where the vegetation consists mainly of cacti and other desert plants, so animals taken here are not of trophy class. The good news is, populations are fairly abundant. Another positive aspect to hunting on YPG is that no other recreational activities take place here, and YPG Conservation Program manager Junior Kerns says some people in fact prefer hunting here to some nearby public hunting areas that receive recreational pressure. The deer population on YPG is usually strong enough to support hunting for several hundred bucks every year, although drought in the mid-1990's has brought down the number of mature bucks available in recent years. However, this part of Arizona had some good rain last spring, which means buck numbers should be up for the 1999 and 2000 hunting seasons. Hunter success on deer usually runs between 20 to 30 percent, Kerns says, with a couple of hundred bucks taken here every year.
Permits for this hunt are issued through the Arizona Game and Fish Department. YPG lies in several Game and Fish hunting units, namely Units 41, 43A and 43B. In 1998, the state issued 400 antlered deer rifle permits for Unit 41 (Hunt Number 1067) and 600 antlered deer rifle permits for Units 43A, 43B, 44A and 44B combined (Hunt Number 1069). These hunts ran from November 6 to 15 in 1998. The odds of drawing one of these permits are relatively good, and there is no restriction on the number of permits that can be issued to non-residents. There are also numerous permits available over-the-counter for archery deer hunts in these units. Archery antlered deer season ran from December 18 to 31 in 1998. Any-deer archery season is from January 1 to 31, 1999. All deer tags cost $75.50 for non-residents, plus a $3 application fee.
As regards desert bighorn sheep on YPG, this hunt........(continued)