While most Western state permit application deadlines have now come and gone, there are still some areas of opportunity to be had. Case in point - Arizona. For the hunter who has failed to draw his dream hunt, this state offers several options, including post-draw opportunities for deer rifle tags, over-the-counter deer bow tags and a late guaranteed drawing for javelina. In this report, I will focus on Coues deer permits. Last year, after the draw, there were 3,900 Coues deer permits left over in this state. All of them were made available through a first-come, first-served mail-in system, with requests accepted beginning August 16. According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the number of leftover tags may increase this year, but interest in them may be higher. Why? Because the state has instituted a bonus point program for deer hunters who fail to draw a tag. Many hunters may prefer to earn a bonus point for their number one choice on the draw and thus won't list second choices, which they will chance picking up through the mail order system. This opportunity should not be overlooked, as the Arizona whitetail, or Coues deer, can provide some of the most challenging deer hunting in North America. To request an application for leftover tags, call Arizona Game and Fish. The permit costs $78.50, including a $3 non-refundable application fee.
If you're a bow hunter, your options are even greater. Archery permits for Coues deer are available over the counter. While Coues deer can be tough with a bow, the archery season is during the rut. I had the opportunity this past January to hunt Coues and javelina during the overlapping Arizona archery season with Joe Kilner and Darius Copely of Desert West Guides. While I had to draw for the javelina tag, the deadline was in October, and the tag is almost guaranteed.
Desert West Guides conducted this hunt on public land in the high desert just south of Tucson. The trophy quality here was outstanding. I did not harvest a deer (the archery success rate here is very........(continued)