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Game Management Unit 4B

 
Additional Hunting Unit Report pages
- Region I - Pinetop
- Region IV - Yuma
- Region II - Flagstaff
- Region V - Tucson
- Region III - Kingman
- Region VI - Mesa
 


Species within this unit: Antelope, Black Bear, Elk, Mountain Lion, Deer, Merriam's Turkey, Tree Squirrel
 
Unit Boundaries
Beginning at AZ Hwy 260 and the Sitgreaves National Forest boundary with the Tonto National Forest; northeasterly on AZ Hwy 260 to AZ Hwy 277; northeasterly on AZ Hwy 277 to Hwy 377; northeasterly on AZ Hwy 377 to AZ Hwy 77; northeasterly on AZ Hwy 77 to I-40 Exit 286; northeasterly along the westbound lane of I-40 to Exit 292; north on AZ Hwy 77 to the Navajo Indian Reservation boundary; west along the reservation boundary to the Little Colorado River; southerly along the Little Colorado River to Chevelon Creek; southerly along Chevelon Creek to Woods Canyon; westerly along Woods Canyon to Woods Canyon Lake Road (Forest Road 105); southerly along the Woods Canyon Lake Road to the Mogollon Rim; easterly along the Mogollon Rim to AZ Hwy 260.
 
Species Information back to top
Antelope

Overview: This document is not designed to be a substitute for pre-season scouting, as there is no substitute for scouting the areas you wish to hunt. If you are lucky enough to draw a permit for Unit 4B, you owe it to yourself to spend some time here prior to your hunt getting familiar with the area. Antelope are located mainly in the northern half of the unit, which is a “checkerboard” of State Trust and private lands. There is an increasing amount of private land conflicts associated with Chevelon Ranches, located at the end of Hutch Ranch Road. Please be respectful of these private landowners; meaning no cross country travel, no camping and leave no sign.


Be prepared for a variety of weather conditions
. Plan for cool nights and warm days. You can expect freezing rain and snow at higher elevations by October. If camping and/or hunting in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, contact the Black Mesa Ranger District office in Overgaard, at (928) 535-7300, for weather conditions, road closures, fire restrictions, and any special Forest Service rules and regulations pertaining to the area you plan on hunting in. When you leave, be sure you have removed all litter and left the area in better condition than when you arrived.

The unit is composed of mixed conifer on the southern end, pinyon-juniper in the middle, and desert grassland on the north end. Antelope primarily inhabit openings in the pinyon-juniper and the desert grassland habitat types. The antelope population is stable in this unit.

Areas: A USFS land status map for the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, available at map stores, from the Forest Service, or Game and Fish Department, will be of great help in locating detailed entry points. A BLM topographic map of the Holbrook quad, available from the Bureau of Land Management or at map stores, will help in locating detailed entry points for areas on State Trust Lands. The northern portion of the unit can be accessed from State Routes 377, 277, 99 and I-40 at the Winslow, Joseph City, and Holbrook exits. The southern portion of the unit may be accessed from State Route 260, 277, 377 and 99 to Forest Road (FR) 504.

The Dry Lake area is a popular place to hunt. Access roads can be found heading west off Highway 377, and include Duck Lake Road and Hutch Ranch Road. Another area to check is north of the Hutch Road and south of the Territorial/McLaws Road, which is good habitat and holds good numbers of antelope. The Territorial/McLaws Road can be accessed from Winslow, Joseph City, or Holbrook, and roughly parallels I-40. Other access into the area includes roads heading west from Highway 377 between Holbrook and Dry Lake.

Other Concerns: Please respect private landowner property. Do not enter areas that are posted “private property” or “no trespassing.” Leave gates as they where found. That portion of the unit north of the USFS boundary and which parallels the east side of Chevelon Canyon is largely private property slated for development.  Avoid or stay at least ¼ mile away from any occupied buildings when shooting at game. Do not drive off-road when hunting, unless retrieving downed big game. Please do not litter; do not camp on private property; and remember that camping within a ¼ mile of a water source is prohibited.   

 
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Black Bear

Overview: There is a fall archery and general bear season in Unit 4B. Refer to the current year’s hunting regulations for season dates, and review the steps outlined in the hunt regulation booklet to ensure the bear season is still open after the opening weekend.

Be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. Plan for cool nights and warm days. You can expect freezing rain and snow at higher elevations by October. Contact the Black Mesa Ranger District office in Overgaard, at (928) 535-7300, for weather conditions, road closures, fire restrictions, and any special Forest Service rules and regulations pertaining to the area you plan on hunting in. When you leave, be sure you have removed all litter and left the area in better condition than when you arrived.

Areas: The unit is comprised of mixed conifer on the southern end, pinyon-juniper in the middle, and desert grasslands on the north. A U.S. Forest Service land status map for the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, available at map stores, from the Forest Service, or Game and Fish Department, will be of great help in locating detailed entry.

Horse Trap Wildlife Habitat Area surrounds Willow Springs Lake and is restricted to non-motorized entry only. Trailhead access points are located on Forest Roads 300, 149, and 237.
Look for good camping and hunting locations along any of the numbered forest roads. FR 149 has fee camping areas, and FR 237 has primitive campsites.

Major canyons, such as Chevelon, Wildcat and their tributaries, contain almost all the available bear habitat. Consider available food sources, such as acorns, and watch for sign along watercourses and roadbeds. Plan on hunting primarily on Forest Service lands west of Heber. When you leave, please remove all litter and leave the area in better condition than when you arrived.

Mandatory Physical Check-in: All hunters must contact an Arizona Game and Fish Department office in person or by telephone at 1-800-970-BEAR (2327) within 48 hours of taking a bear. The report shall include the hunter’s name, hunting license number, tag number, sex of the bear taken, management unit where the bear was taken, and telephone number at which the hunter can be reached to obtain additional information. Within 10 days of taking a bear, the hunter shall present the bear’s skull, hide, and attached proof of sex for inspection. If a hunter freezes the skull or hide before presenting it for inspection, the hunter shall prop the jaw open to allow access to the teeth and ensure that the attached proof of sex is identifiable and accessible. A premolar tooth will be removed during the inspection. Successful hunters are encouraged to contact the nearest Department office by telephone to coordinate inspections.

Special Regulations: Bear hunters should be familiar with the following laws and regulations prior to going bear hunting:

  • Hunters are responsible for calling 1-800-970-BEAR before going hunting to determine if their desired hunt is still open (that the female harvest objective has not been met). Bear seasons will close at sunset on the Wednesday immediately following a met female harvest objective.
  • Female bears with cubs are not lawful for harvest. Care must be taken to look for the presence of cubs with all bears considered for harvest.
  • Baiting is not lawful for bear hunting.

Other Concerns: Take time to observe a bear before shooting. This will increase the likelihood your trophy is a boar and help to keep female harvest down. Physical differences between sexes, while slight, are nonetheless discernible. Older boars generally have greater skull mass than sows, and have eyes that are set wider in the skull. Boar muzzles also tend to be wider, giving the animal a "short snout" appearance. A sow’s nose appears longer and pointy. Boars have greater chest mass, giving them a wider appearance from the front and a more cylindrical side profile. When seen from the side, sows appear funnel-shaped, with the small end toward the head. These characteristics vary considerably in young bears, but hold well for mature animals. Care should be taken to watch for cubs near a potential trophy (females with cubs are protected and not lawful for harvest). Small bears are not always easily visible in dense cover, and they do not always stay close to mother.

Do not drive off-road while hunting, unless retrieving downed big game. Please do not litter and remember that camping within a ¼ mile of a water source is prohibited.

 
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Elk

Overview: This document is not designed to be a substitute for pre-season scouting. There is no substitute for scouting the areas you wish to hunt. If you are lucky enough to draw a permit for Unit 4B, you owe it to yourself to spend some time here prior to your hunt getting familiar with the area.

Be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. Plan for warm temperatures in the early seasons and freezing temperatures in the late seasons. You can expect freezing rain and snow at higher elevations by October. Contact the Black Mesa Ranger District office in Overgaard, (928) 535-7300, for weather conditions, road closures, fire restrictions and any special Forest Service rules and regulations pertaining to the area you plan on hunting in. When you leave, be sure you have removed all litter and left the area in better condition than when you arrived.

The unit is comprised of mixed conifer on the southern end, pinyon–juniper woodland in the middle and high desert grasslands on the north end. Elk inhabit each of these vegetative types, but tend to concentrate at the higher, southern elevations.

Unit 4B North: Unit 4B North is a subunit of Unit 4B. The boundary is described as that portion of Unit 4B that lies north of the following: Starting at the intersection of McLaws Road and State Route 377, west along McLaws Road and its merger with Territorial Road to Chevelon Canyon, north along Chevelon Creek to its confluence with the Little Colorado River, downstream or northwest along the Little Colorado River to the Navajo Indian Reservation boundary, east along the Navajo Indian Reservation boundary to State Route 77, south on State Route 77 to Interstate 40, west along Interstate 40 to State Route 377, south along State Route 377 to the intersection of McLaws Road.

Elk in this area are limited to the areas in and adjacent to the Little Colorado River channel. Elk numbers are low in this area and access is limited. There is an over-the-counter, nonpermit hunt option available for this area, but again, elk numbers are low here.

Areas: Unit 4B is a large Game Management Unit, and elk densities are low to moderate. A Forest Service land status map for the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, available at map stores, from the Forest Service or Arizona Game and Fish Department offices, will be of great help in locating detailed entry points.

The unit can be accessed from State Routes 260, 377, 277, 77, 99 to FR 504 and I-40 at the Winslow, Joseph City and Holbrook exits. The main forest roads can be accessed between the communities of Heber and Forest Lakes. Entry points along Highway 260 include Forest Roads 504, 210, 122, 174, 178, 99 and 237. Each of these roads access the main forested areas where elk spend the summer and fall. Other Forest Roads to look for throughout elk habitat include FR 170, 175, 172, 179, 154, 176 and 228. The habitat type of this area is ponderosa pine to the south, changing to pinyon-juniper woodland as you travel north.

You can access the southeastern portion of Unit 4B a couple different ways. From FR 504 north of Heber, go east on FR 95, which travels to an area referred to as Red Knoll. There are several, small, unnumbered roads along this route. You can also access this area from Highway 277 by taking FR 488 and FR 488A. This area consists primarily of pinyon-juniper woodlands, interspersed with small and large grassland openings. Depending on the year, this can be a productive area for elk hunters.

Elk do inhabit the area around Dry Lake, located approximately halfway between Heber/Overgaard and Holbrook off Hwy 377. There are two roads that access this area from Highway 377 to Duck Lake Road and Hutch Ranch Road (milepost 15.2). The elk in this area feed in the irrigated hay fields and travel north and west along the Pink Cliffs, which they use for bedding and cover. The Pink Cliffs also provide a good vantage point for glassing. These elk will also travel south across Duck Lake Road into the flat juniper habitat country for bedding and cover. Dry Lake Farms is private property; ask for permission to trespass prior to the start of your hunt.

The area north of Hutch Ranch Road is a Limited Elk Zone. In simple terms, it is a management zone where the Department does not want resident herds of elk. This area is comprised of private and State Trust lands, so please respect this property by leaving gates as you found them and minimizing road damage during wet periods. There are two types of hunts in this area designed to address “unwanted” elk, which are Limited Opportunity and Population Management Hunts. Hunters with permits for Unit 4B can hunt 4B North. However, hunters with limited opportunity or population management tags need to pay special attention to their location and may not hunt elk outside of the designated boundaries.

Horse Trap Wildlife Habitat Area surrounds Willow Springs Lake, and is restricted to non-motorized entry only. Trailheads are located at Forest Roads 300, 149, and 237. FR 149 has fee camping areas. FR 237 has primitive campsites. Look for good camping and hunting locations along any of the numbered forest roads.

Elk densities are extremely variable due to their transient nature. Elk move in relation to available food sources, which can be variable due to moisture patterns. Summer through early winter, herds of elk can be found between Heber and Forest Lakes north toward the National Forest boundary, off most of the main Forest roads. As winter approaches, elk movements tend to be to the south off the Mogollon Rim or north into the lower elevations of pinyon-juniper.  

Other Concerns: Do not drive off-road while hunting, unless retrieving downed big game. Please do not litter and remember that camping within a ¼ mile of a water source is prohibited. Stay up to date on current Forest Service regulations and closures.

 
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Mountain Lion

Overview: Mountain lions are found throughout 4B. Unit 4B is comprised of mixed conifer on the southern end, pinyon-juniper in the middle, and desert grassland on the north portion. Mountain lions inhabit each of these vegetation types, but they tend to concentrate along canyons. Look for sign along watercourses, in roadbeds, and at stock tanks. Higher concentrations of lions are found in the southern half of the unit where canyons primarily run south to north. A hunting license and permit-tag are required, and both can be purchased over the counter at any Game and Fish office or license dealer.

Be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. Plan for cool nights and warm days. You can expect freezing rain and snow at higher elevations by October. Contact the Black Mesa Ranger District office in Overgaard, at (928) 535-7300, for weather conditions, road closures, fire restrictions, and any special Forest Service rules and regulations pertaining to the area you plan on hunting in. When you leave, be sure you have removed all litter and left the area in better condition than when you arrived.

Areas: A U.S. Forest Service land status map for the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, available at map stores, from any Forest Service office, or from the Game & Fish Pinetop regional office, will be of great help in locating detailed entry points. Unit 4B can be accessed from State Routes 260, 377, 77, 277 and I-40 at the Winslow, Joseph City, and Holbrook exits.
Chevelon Canyon, Wagon Draw, Wildcat Canyon, Brookbank Canyon and Black Canyon each provide excellent lion habitat. Forest Roads 99, 170 and 504 provide access to all of these locations.

Special Regulations: Lion hunters should be familiar with the following laws and regulations prior to going lion hunting.

  • All hunters must contact an Arizona Game and Fish Department office in person or by telephone at 1-877-438-0447 within 48 hours of taking a lion. The report shall include the hunter’s name, hunting license number, tag number, sex of the lion taken, management unit where the lion was taken, and telephone number at which the hunter can be reached to obtain additional information. Within 10 days of taking a lion, the hunter shall present the lion’s skull, hide, and attached proof of sex for inspection. If a hunter freezes the skull or hide before presenting it for inspection, the hunter shall prop the jaw open to allow access to the teeth and ensure that the attached proof of sex is identifiable and accessible. A premolar tooth will be removed during the inspection. Successful hunters are encouraged to contact the nearest Department office by telephone to coordinate inspections.
  • Legal lion is any lion except spotted kittens or females accompanied by spotted kittens.
 
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Deer

Overview: Be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. Plan for cool nights and warm days. You can expect freezing rain and snow at higher elevations by October. Contact the Black Mesa Ranger District office in Overgaard, at (928) 535-7300, for weather conditions, road closures, fire restrictions, and any special Forest Service rules and regulations pertaining to the area you plan on hunting in. When you leave, be sure you have removed all litter and left the area in better condition than when you arrived.

Unit 4B has both general firearms and early fall nonpermitted archery deer hunting opportunities. Mule deer are predominately the harvested species, with the occasional white-tailed deer taken in the southern portion of the unit. Deer hunts in Unit 4B are for “any antlered deer,” allowing for either species to be harvested. The deer population in Unit 4B continues to be low, and pre-season scouting is a must to increase your chance of a successful hunt.


The unit is comprised of mixed conifer on the southern end, pinyon-juniper in the middle and desert grassland on the north end. Deer primarily inhabit both the mixed conifer and pinyon-juniper habitat types, with both white-tailed and mule deer occurring in the mixed conifer along Chevelon Canyon.

Areas: A Forest Service land status map for the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, available at map stores, from the Forest Service, or Game and Fish Department, will be of great help in locating detailed entry points. The unit can be accessed from State Routes 260, 377, 77, 277, 99 to FR 504 and I-40 at the Winslow, Joseph City, and Holbrook exits.

Horse Trap Wildlife Habitat Area surrounds Willow Springs Lake, and is restricted to non-motorized vehicular entry only. Trailheads are at Forest Roads 300, 149, and 237. FR 149 has fee camping areas. FR 237 has primitive campsites.

Look for good camping and hunting locations along any of the numbered forest roads. The Unit 4B deer hunt is combined with Unit 4A. Unit 4B has low densities of deer making observations difficult. Your best bet is to look for areas that have deer browse (small brushy plants that deer like to eat). Typically browse tends to be along limestone edges of canyons. Good places to start include: Chevelon Canyon, Wildcat Canyon, Brookbank Canyon, Potato Wash, and Open Draw. State Trust lands running north from the Pink Cliffs to the Territorial/ McLaws Road also offer opportunities to locate deer, but these areas have very low densities of mule deer. During the summer of 2008 there were three different fires that merged in the southern portion of Unit 4B. The effects will result in improved habitat for many species. The fire areas can be found along Forest Roads 504 and 170, west to Chevelon Canyon and east to Wildcat Canyon.

Other Concerns: Do not drive off-road while hunting, unless retrieving downed big game. Remember that camping within a ¼ mile of a water source is prohibited. Stay up-to-date on current Forest Service regulations and closures.

 
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Merriam's Turkey

Notice: The fall hunting season is now a limited weapon-shotgun shooting shot season only. There is also a fall archery-only, over-the-counter nonpermit hunt and a spring nonpermitted juniors-only hunt, as well as a permitted hunt available.

Overview: Be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. Plan for cool nights and warm days. You can expect freezing rain and snow at higher elevations by October. Contact the Black Mesa Ranger District office in Overgaard, at (928) 535-7300, for weather conditions, road closures, fire restrictions, and any special Forest Service rules and regulations pertaining to the area you plan on hunting in. When you leave, be sure you have removed all litter and left the area in better condition than when you arrived.

Turkeys occur throughout the ponderosa pine forest and mixed conifer forests. In the winter, turkeys move to lower elevations and inhabit the area between the ponderosa pine and pinyon-juniper habitat type. Mast crops, such as acorns and pine seeds, make up an important part of the turkeys diet. Look for areas where turkeys have scratched in the oak leafs and pine needles. These are spots to start looking for turkeys both during the spring and fall seasons. Also, look for turkeys along small meadow edges for these are important to hens seeking insects and green herbaceous vegetation when mast crops are in short supply.

Areas: A Forest Service land status map for the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, available at map stores, from the Forest Service, or Game and Fish Department, will be of great help in locating detailed entry points. The unit can be accessed from State Routes 260, 377, 77, 277, 99 to FR 504 and I-40 at the Winslow, Joseph City, and Holbrook exits.

Horse Trap Wildlife Habitat Area surrounds Willow Springs Lake, and is restricted to non-motorized entry only. Trailheads are at Forest Roads 300, 149, and 237. FR 149 has fee camping areas. FR 237 has primitive campsites.

In spring, most gobblers will be found at the highest elevations of the unit, north of Highway 260. Most major canyons and drainages in the unit will hold turkeys. In early spring, gobblers will seek areas that are still holding snow. These areas generally contain the freshest sprouted herbaceous vegetation. If roads are closed because of road conditions, do not hesitate to park and hike in to hunt in the spring. The closure of roads can actually improve your chances for getting a gobbler by reducing interference with other hunters driving roads.

Fall turkey hunting is usually best at the higher elevations with good water sources nearby. Look for turkey sign at water holes and roadbeds crossing drainages. Watch meadow edges during early mornings and late afternoons. Hunting at or nearby water holes for turkeys in the fall can be an effective tactic. Plan on hunting on Forest Service lands between FR 504, State Route 260, and Chevelon Canyon.

Other Concerns: Remember that camping within a ¼ mile of a water source is prohibited. Stay up-to-date on current Forest  Service regulations and closures.

 
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Tree Squirrel

Overview: Be prepared for a variety of weather conditions. Plan for cool nights and warm days. You can expect freezing rain and snow at higher elevations by October. Contact the Black Mesa Ranger District office in Overgaard, at (928) 535-7300, for weather conditions, road closures, fire restrictions, and any special Forest Service rules and regulations pertaining to the area you plan on hunting in. When you leave, be sure you have removed all litter and left the area in better condition than when you arrived.

Unit 4B is comprised of mixed conifer on the southern end, pinyon-juniper in the middle, and desert grassland on the north end. Squirrels primarily inhabit bigger, older trees in ponderosa pine forested areas. Squirrel populations naturally fluctuate from year to year, so contact the Arizona Game and Fish Region 1 office at 928-367-4281 for up-to-date information.

There are no Mount Graham red squirrels in this unit.

Areas: A U.S. Forest Service land status map for the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, available at map stores, from the Forest Service, or Game and Fish Department will be of great help in locating detailed entry. Unit 4B can be accessed from State Routes 260, 377, 77, 277, 99 to FR 504 and I-40 at the Winslow, Joseph City, and Holbrook exits.

Horse Trap Wildlife Habitat Area surrounds Willow Springs Lake and is restricted to non-motorized entry only. Trailhead access points are located on Forest Roads 300, 149, and 237. Look for good camping and hunting locations along any of the numbered Forest roads. Forest Road 149 has fee camping areas, and Forest Road 237 has primitive campsites.

Plan on hunting on Forest Service lands primarily south of Forest Road 504. Forest Roads 170, 99, 179 and 122 are all within good squirrel habitat.
 
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Unit Summary
Primary Game Species/ Hunting Month(s)
Elk September - November
Mule Deer August/November
Antelope August/September
Secondary Game Species/ Hunting Month(s)
Turkey April/May, August/October
Black Bear September/October
Average # permits in past 5 years
Elk 790
Mule Deer 150 (4A and 4B combined)
Antelope 30
Turkey 450, 175 (4A and 4B combined)
Black Bear Sow quota (4A and 4B combined)
 
Climate Information
Month Ave. Temp Ave. Rainfall Ave. Snowfall
April Max 64°/Min 30° 0.59" 3.2"
May Max 69°/Min 37° 2.15" 0.0"
August Max 83°/Min 55° 4.26" 0.0"
September Max 77°/Min 46° .52" 0.0"
October Max 65°/Min 32° 1.61" 0.0"
November Max 49°/Min 25° 2.23" 9.5"
Other Pertinent Climate Information
This unit experiences severe climatic changes throughout the year. The monsoon season brings intense electrical storms causing flash flooding and hazardous driving conditions. Snow and sudden temperature drops are common from October to May. High wind conditions occur throughout the year. Be sure to check with the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, Heber Ranger Station for weather, road, and fire conditions before venturing into the area.
 
Cities, Roads & Campgrounds
Major Cities and Towns in or Near Game Management Unit and Nearest Gas, Food, and Lodging
Payson, Heber-Overgaard, Show Low, Holbrook, Winslow
Major Highways and Roads Leading To
From the East: State Hwys 77, 260, 277, and 377
From the West: State Hwy 99, Forest Roads 34, 300, and 504
From the North: Interstate 40, State Hwy 99
From the South: State Hwy 260
Developed Campgrounds
Woods Canyon Lake*, Willow Springs Lake*, Canyon Point*, Chevelon Crossing. Consult U.S. Forest Service map for exact locations.
*Campground managed by a private Concession. Reservations and availability information can be obtained through the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Black Mesa Ranger Station.
Undeveloped Campgrounds
Camping is allowed on Forest Service lands throughout the unit.
 
Brief Description of Terrain, Elevation, and Vegetation
Terrain varies from relatively flat desert grasslands to steeply ridged, heavily forested canyons containing several riparian corridors. Elevations range form 5,000' to 7,600'. Vegetation ranges from high desert grasslands to pinyon-juniper communities to mixed conifer forest communities. Numerous jeep trails and seasonally graded roads provide access to most parts of the unit.
 
Government Agencies and Phone Numbers
Arizona Game and Fish Department, Region 1 - 928 367-4281 Apache-Sitgreaves Natl Forest, Black Mesa Ranger District - 928 535-7300
 
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  • Hunt Arizona 2014: Survey, Harvest and Draw Data
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  • 2014 AZ Fishing Regulations
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  • 2013-14 Raptor Regulations [PDF]
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