Getting A Handle On The Navajo Reservation


Published: May - 2000

The Navajo Indian Reservation can be a frustrating place to hunt. On the one hand, it has some very good game animals, as witness the mule deer bucks taken here with large antler spreads and a huge bull elk taken here last season which unofficially gross-scored 434 B & C points! Moreover, the cost of hunting here is moderate indeed when compared to other better-known Indian Reservation hunts. Would you believe the Navajo Nation has permits for as little as $200?

So, what are the downsides of hunting here that make the place frustrating? To begin with, while there is excellent quality game available, there are not huge numbers of animals here. Deer and elk densities are very low, with the game located in isolated pockets within what is a truly vast tract of land. I do mean vast, too. The reservation stretches from near Flagstaff, Arizona, north to Page, then east through Lake Powell and the San Juan River region to the Colorado border just west of Cortez, then southeast almost to Albuquerque, New Mexico, then west again through the Zuni and Winslow areas of Arizona back to Flagstaff!

The second downside here is the quality of the guides available. Yes, it is legal to hunt on your own on some of the non-trophy hunts offered here, but I do not recommend it, based on the amount of land to cover and the fact that this is one tough chunk of real estate. Many hunting areas are on roughly-hewn mountain ranges sticking up out of the desert. They also tend be thick with plenty of oak brush, adding lots of challenges when stalking and shooting game. Access also can be limited, as in the Carrizo Mountains, where only one, extremely rugged road leads up into a popular portion of the hunting area and hunters end up congregating along this one artery. You simply must know your way around here.

All of this adds up to a very tough hunt, and the need to use one of the 60-plus registered Navajo guides. All........(continued)

 
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