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Game Management Unit 6A

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Species within this unit


New USFS Travel Management Rule: The Coconino National Forest has implemented new travel management rules resulting in changes to motor vehicle access on national forest lands. These changes include motorized big game retrieval, road closures and camping restrictions. The Travel Management Rule only allows motorized use on designated roads, trails and areas as identified on a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM). These maps are available for free at Forest Service offices and at: . Because of the Forest rule changes, only motorized retrieval of elk is permitted in Game Management 6A. Motorized retrieval of all other wildlife, including all other big game species, is not permitted on national forest lands in Game Management Unit 6A. For further information regarding the Travel Management Rule, please contact the Coconino National Forest.

Unit Boundaries
Beginning at the junction of U.S. Hwy 89A and FR 237; southwesterly on U.S. Hwy 89A to the Verde River; southeasterly along the Verde River to Childs; easterly on the Childs-Strawberry road to the Tonto-Coconino National Forest boundary; easterly along this boundary to AZ Hwy 87; northeasterly on AZ Hwy 87 to Lake Mary-Clint's Well road (FH3); northwesterly on FH3 to FR 132; southwesterly on FR 132 to FR 296; southwesterly on FR 296 to FR 296A; southwesterly on FR 296A to FR 132; northwesterly on FR 132 to FR 235; westerly on FR 235 to FR 235A; westerly on FR 235A to FR 235; southerly on FR 235 to FR 235K; northwesterly on FR 235K to FR 700; northerly on FR 700 to Mountainaire Road; west on Mountainaire Road to FR 237; westerly on FR 237 to U.S. Hwy 89A except those portions that are sovereign tribal lands of the Yavapai-Apache Nation.
Species Information  
Black Bear
Overview: Unit 6A supports a healthy black bear population. Most hunters find them by glassing the canyons in the southern portion of the unit. In the fall, bears move around a lot trying to find food and put on extra weight in preparation for winter. Bears like just about anything edible, including prickly pear fruits, acorns, and bugs. Bears eat prickly pear fruit when it is ripe. Remember that baiting of any kind is illegal in Arizona.

Areas: Although hunting with hounds is most effective, hunters also have success by spending many hours glassing for them. Canyons in the lower end of the district with prickly pears usually contain bears. Any high point that affords a good view of the surrounding area is a good place to start. Also try sitting a tree stand over a tank. As with most types of hunting, quality optics are a must.

Hunters also have success using varmint calls. If you choose to varmint call, bring a friend and sit back to back. You will want to call at a loud volume for ten minutes at a time, spent at least 45 minutes per stand. Bears coming to a call can be aggressive.

Other Concerns: All hunters must contact the Arizona Game & Fish Department within 48 hours of taking a bear. A premolar tooth (the small one right behind the canine tooth) must be collected and turned into the Department within 20 days. See the regulations for more details. The meat must be salvaged; it is unlawful to allow game meat to go to waste. This can be quite challenging during bear season, as it is usually warm out and most bears are taken in very remote areas.

When the harvest objective for female bears (sows) has been reached, the unit will be closed to bear hunting at sundown on the following Wednesday. It is the hunter's responsibility to be sure the Unit is still open before going afield, you can do so by calling 1-800-970-BEAR.
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Overview: Approximately 20 % of Arizona's elk hunting opportunity is found in Unit 6A. Older age "mature" bulls are taken on a regular basis. The secret to harvesting an elk is spending time scouting just prior to the hunts opening. Scouting months in advance does little good, as elk move around quite a bit. Elk are found throughout the Unit, with the exception of the southernmost areas. Elk are even observed in the Camp Verde area. Although there are many access roads in the Unit, the key is getting out on foot or horseback away from those roads. Keep in mind it is unlawful to operate motor vehicles cross country during a hunt, with the exception of doing so to recover an animal that is down and tagged. ATV's have become very popular with hunters over the past few years, but recognize that animals key into the noise of motor vehicles and avoid areas where they hear them. It is estimated that an elk can hear a quad from up to a half mile away.

Look for areas that afford a decent view of the surrounding country and glass for them at sunrise. Of course, this means you need to be at that location prior to the sun coming up! Even the cheapest pair of binoculars allows you to see much better than the naked eye. It often surprises me how many hunters I encounter in the field that do not have binoculars with them. Maybe it is because they feel elk are big and therefore easy to see, but I can assure you quality optics will greatly enhance your chances of harvesting an elk.

Areas: The Unit has been divided into three sub-units for some of the hunts. Make sure to consult the regulations and your permit so you don't find yourself in the wrong area. These sub-units were created to help better manage the elk and distribute the harvest pressure.

Archery Seasons: This hunt has 3 sub-units, so check your permit and consult the regulations. During the archery season, the Ponderosa Pines are where you will find the majority of the elk, especially if it is still hot out. Many hunters sit tree stands and trails, and success depends on scouting. But don't get the wrong impression, big bulls are also in the pinon-juniper all year long.

Bear in mind that nobody "owns" the stock tanks, or the hunting rights to those tanks. Remember that we are all part of a group that enjoys the outdoors, and we must stick together to enjoy these activities in the future. In the past, hunters have been charged with crimes as serious as aggravated assault as a result of conflicts over "who's hunting where". Erecting permanent tree stands and damaging trees by putting spikes in them is illegal.

Muzzleloader Seasons: These hunts are getting quite popular, as hunters explore what it was like in the old days. Keep in mind that although these modern muzzleloaders are capable of shooting a good group at amazing distances, they simply do not have the energy to effectively kill an animal consistently at distances over 75 to 100 yards. That, added to the fact that you do not have a quick follow-up shot, can lead to animals getting away and later dying. During the muzzleloader season, I recommend glassing to locate animals with quality optics, determine your wind patterns, and make the stalk on them. It is not difficult to get quite close to elk, especially bedded ones. Bear in mind that you may have to repeat this procedure many times before getting close enough to harvest an elk, but doing so increases your hunting abilities and makes for an enjoyable hunt.

General Seasons: There are more antlerless elk out in the woods than there are antlered elk, by a ratio of about 3 to 1. Elk are found throughout the Unit during the general season hunts. For the late hunt, weather can be a factor. In this part of the State, elk don't normally migrate due to snowfall. When temperatures get below freezing at night for extended periods, the grasses go dormant, and elk work their way down to lower elevations in search of more palatable foods.

Find a high point and get situated before the sun comes up to glass for elk with good binoculars. This is generally easier in the pinon-juniper areas because you can see farther. Often in the ponderosa pines, the trees will obstruct your view. The elk are also more likely to be in the pinon-juniper areas during the later hunts, where it is warmer. It is wise to find areas where few roads exist and you can hike to the high points and glass in the mornings.  While scouting prior to your hunt, record these locations on you GPS. That way when hunting season starts a week or two later, you can walk right to them in the dark and be ready to start glassing when the sun comes up.  During the later hunts, the elk have already had a lot of pressure and will be more difficult to stalk.  

Elk like to feed up on the flats at nighttime, and work their way to the drainages when the sun comes up. Then they tend to bed down during the day. Look for the larger canyons, then concentrate of the smaller drainages that feed into the big canyons.

Verde Valley Over The Counter Non-Permit Tag:  Elk densities are low in this area and hunt success may be very low. Elk are concentrated throughout the year in the riparian areas of the Verde River, Beaver Creek, and Clear Creek. Much of this area is privately owned, so hunters should be aware of property boundaries and respect land-owners’ rights.  Much of this area is also within the town limits of Camp Verde (see attached map), where the discharge of a firearm is prohibited. Hunting within town boundaries is limited to archery-only. At night, some elk use
agricultural fields adjacent to the Verde River during the growing season, then retreat to the shady riparian areas during the day. Outside of town limits, hunters may use firearms on the public lands north and northeast of Camp Verde on the Coconino National Forest in the vicinities of White Hills and Wickiup Mesa. A Coconino National Forest (US Forest Service) map is helpful in locating area boundaries, access, and roadways. Elk may be found in these locations year-round in low numbers. Throughout much of the year, elk use here is tied closely to available water on these mesas. In the summer months, stock tanks and water troughs may dry up, so these elk will live in the canyons and ravines adjacent to the mesas, above the Verde River, Beaver Creek, and Clear Creek.
Hunting is not allowed on the Yavapai-Apache Reservation or within Montezuma Castle & Montezuma Well National Monuments; hunters should be aware of these boundaries.

Temperatures in the summer months will exceed 100 degrees. Especially if hunting from April through September, hunters should have a plan to remove elk from the field quickly and get the meat to cold storage without delay, to avoid meat spoilage.

Please note that this hunt area does not follow Game Management Unit boundaries.  More information about Verde Valley Hunt Area boundaries, season dates, and legal weapon types can be found at:

All Hunts: There are two places in Unit 6A where vehicles are not allowed for any reason, including recovering game. These are great spots because animals like to be in places where they are not disturbed. These areas are the Pine Grove and Rattlesnake Quiet Areas.

The Pine Grove Quiet Area is especially good during the earlier seasons. The boundary is from Upper Lake Mary south along Lake Mary road to the Mormon Lake road. Head west on the Mormon Lake road to the 132 road. At the junction of 132 and 132D, take the 132D road back towards Upper Lake Mary. Note: The 132D road is very rough.

The Rattlesnake Quiet Area is located west of Stoneman Lake. It begins at the Stoneman Lake exit at Interstate 17, north to the Rocky Park exit. Then travelling south down the 80 road to the 239 road. From the 80/239 junction, head east to the 665 road, then south to the junction of roads 665 & 213. This area always has elk in it. But it is a rough place to hunt. You will need horses/mules or a pack frame to get your elk out.
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Mule Deer
Overview: Mule deer can be found throughout the Unit, but the best areas are the pinyon-juniper woodlands and ponderosa pine forests. To successfully locate deer, pre-season scouting is a must. Like most big game animals, deer are most active at sunrise and sunset. Deer numbers are down statewide, and unit 6A is no exception.

Areas: The highest densities of Mule Deer occur in the "transition zones", these are areas where the habitat is changing from ponderosa pine to pinon-juniper. Look for areas that have oak trees, when acorns are present on the ground, you will find deer feeding on them. Other cool season type forage materials that deer like are cliffrose, mountain mahogany, and juniper berries. Water is always important, and stock tanks are abundant in the Unit.

Look for areas where you can see a lot of country, such as hills, mountains, and canyon rims. These are good areas to glass, and concentrate on the large open flats to find deer feeding at sunrise.

Other Concerns: The general season deer hunt is open for mule deer only. There is a healthy population of whitetail deer in Unit 6A also. Be sure of your target before shooting. Whitetails are much smaller and look grayer in color. When whitetail deer are frightened, they "flag" by raising their bushy white tails when the run off. Mule deer tails look more "rope-like". Whitetails are most often encountered in the chaparral areas. If you find yourself taking the wrong species by accident, I can assure you the Court respects those who call and report it, rather than being caught later. Mistakes can and do happen.

There are two keys to harvesting a mule deer, a lot of scouting and getting away from the vehicle and out into the woods. Unit 6A falls within the boundaries of the Coconino National Forest. Maps of the Coconino National Forest can be obtained at map stores or by calling (928) 774-1147. Be prepared for a wide variety of weather, including rain or snow. Good luck.
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Merriam's Turkey

Notice: The fall hunting season is now a limited weapon-shotgun shooting shot season only. There is still a fall archery-only, over-the-counter permit hunt available in the fall.

Overview: Turkey populations are improving in Unit 6A. This is a result of reduced permits and better rainfall patterns. Despite more favorable conditions, their population is still below optimum. Turkeys spend a lot of time foraging for food. During the hunting seasons, they are in the ponderosa pine forested areas of the Unit. In the spring, they follow the snow line working their way up to the higher elevations. In the fall, they rely heavily on acorns from oak trees. Turkeys favor canyons containing large ponderosa pines to roost in. They are usually off the roost by sunrise and return to it an hour or so before dark.

Fall Season: A good strategy for the fall hunt is to scout by checking for tracks and droppings around the stock tanks in the area. Also look for areas with high densities of oak trees, as turkeys will be in there searching for acorns. On some years acorns are almost nonexistent, but most years, that is where you will find turkeys in the fall.

Spring Season: In the spring, follow the snow line up the mountains and hills. Listen for birds at sunrise and hope for no wind. Park at closed roads and walk up them at first light. Males like to strut in small openings, but generally, turkeys prefer heavy cover. Males are looking for females to breed with in the spring. By imitating the sounds of a hen, the Toms are drawn to you. Good, full camouflage is an absolute must. Sit still and do not make sudden movements, turkeys have excellent vision. If you are a beginner, try a box type call with a plunger and invest in a turkey calling tape to learn to proper sounds. Remember that shotguns shooting shot are the only legal weapons during the spring hunt.

Other Concerns: Never wear black, red, or blue when hunting turkeys. Never stalk up to noises you believe are turkeys, you will most likely never get close enough for a shot, and it could be coming from another hunter.

Unit 6A falls within the boundaries of the Coconino National Forest. Maps of the Coconino National Forest can be obtained at map stores or by by contacting the US Forest Service. Be prepared for a wide variety of weather, including rain or snow.


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White-tailed Deer
Overview: Whitetail deer in Unit 6A are somewhat restricted to the lower half of the unit. If you plan to hunt Unit 6A, it is recommend you hunt the lower elevation canyons that generally fall below the Stoneman Lake Road. The whitetail population in the unit seems to be stable, with many above average bucks being taken every year.

Areas: Whitetail deer prefer dense chaparral cover and can be very difficult to locate. All the major drainages in the lower half of the unit contain whitetail. One must be careful to properly identify the species before shooting, as both types of deer occupy the area. Plan on spending many hours glassing. Quality optics are a must. Good spotting scopes and binoculars can save you many miles of walking. If you climb to a high point to glass, you need to spend several hours at that location looking for movement.  This hunt requires a lot of pre-season scouting.

Other Concerns: A Coconino National Forest map is helpful, you can obtain one at any Forest Service office or at the Forest Service website.

Plan for cold windy conditions; dress in warm, windproof camouflage type clothing. Fire starting materials are essential.
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Overview: Unit 6A supports a healthy population of javelina, but they are restricted to the lower half of the Unit. Javelina hunting is a lot of fun. It is a nice time of year to be out in the woods, in an area that is otherwise quite warm. Javelina can be difficult to find, but once located they are fairly easy to get close to. They like to be out feeding in good weather, and usually are not out feeding in rain, high winds, or snow. They bed under trees, like most animals, but also seek out caves and rocky outcrops as shelter. Normally, if you see one javelina, there are many more around. Javelina respond fairly well to varmint calls, as the entire herd will protect the young of the herd, even when they are not the parents. Normally, the call will spook them. When you want to blow it is after the herd has scattered. Javelina are not as vicious as they are rumored to be, but if cornered they can inflict serious bites on you or a pet.

Areas: Javelina are restricted to the southern half of the Unit. They may be found up higher, but it is unusual. It is very important to have binoculars for locating them. They are very active in the mornings, but you don't necessarily have to be out at sunrise. They like sunshine, so look for them feeding on sunny hillsides in the mornings.
Mountain Lion

Overview: Lions have very large home ranges (up to 150 square miles), and except when rearing young, are constantly on the move. Lions establish territories and defend them against intrusion by other lions. Lions feed primarily on deer and other ungulates. Lions will move seasonally as their prey moves to and from winter range. Lions breed year round, and females care for their young alone.

Areas: Mountain lion can be found throughout Unit 6A; however, they will concentrate mostly in and along the rougher canyons, rims and mountains of the unit. Most lion hunting takes place in the cooler winter months on deer and elk winter range. Calling with predator calls on canyon rims may be effective. Most lions are taken in Unit 6A by houndsmen.

Access: The Forest Service manages most of the lion habitat in Unit 6A. Access to these lands may be closed due to heavy snows. Maps of the Coconino National Forest are available at most Forest Service offices in the state.

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Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

Overview: From 2005-2007 approximately 80 Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep were transplanted into Unit 6A in the area of West Clear Creek. Since that time, the population has been doing very well. Lamb recruitment and mature rams have been observed during survey flights. As the population grew, the first bighorn hunt in 6A was offered in 2010.
As bighorns are usually highly visible and not as elusive as other big game, the most difficult aspect of hunting bighorn is locating the rams and then negotiating the rugged terrain they inhabit. Essential equipment for a successful bighorn hunt would include: good, quality hiking boots; spotting scope and binoculars; a flat-shooting rifle with telescopic sight; and plenty of help to pack out your trophy. Pack-out weights for bighorn rams (boned out meat, plus head and cape) commonly exceed 200 pounds.
Areas: The 6A bighorn sheep are located primarily in West Clear Creek, Fossil Creek, and the East Verde River. Some animals have been observed along highway 260 and near Camp Verde. For the 2013 hunt season the boundaries for the 6A bighorn sheep hunt have been expanded to include GMU 22 North.  Boundaries for GMU 22N are:  That portion of Unit 22 located north of the following: Beginning at the confluence of the Verde River and the East Verde River; easterly along the East Verde River to FR 406; easterly on FR 406 to AZ Hwy 260 in Payson; easterly on AZ Hwy 260 to Tonto Creek (the Unit Boundary).

Special Regulations: All successful bighorn hunters must personally submit the intact horns and skull of their bighorn for inspection at a Department office within three days of the close of the season. Even if unsuccessful, hunters are still required to check out through a Department office within three days of the close of the season.

Tree Squirrel
Overview: Hunting for tree squirrels is great fun and an excellent opportunity to introduce a youngster to the art of hunting. Unit 6A has an abundance of squirrels and success only requires a bit of patience.

Areas: Look for tree squirrels wherever you find ponderosa pine trees. My favorite place is to find a road that is closed to motor vehicles, park, and walk on down the road. Generally speaking, good hunting opportunities exist from Flagstaff south to Stoneman Lake. Also try down around Clint's Well.

Other Concerns: As with any type of hunting, be sure of your backstop and cognizant of other hunters around you. Remember that using a vehicle to hunt with is both dangerous and illegal.
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Overview: There is a lot of quality waterfowl hunting in Unit 6A, be it puddle jumping or setting decoys. This can be a cold and miserable time of year, so dress warm.

Areas: Many tanks are scattered throughout the unit. Scouting is a must to find those hidden ones. Hunters also find waterfowl on Upper Lake Mary, Stoneman, and Mormon Lake. When hunting at Stoneman Lake, be aware that you cannot discharge a firearm within 1/4 mile of an occupied structure. This limits hunting to the western half of the lake. Also, gas motors are prohibited on Stoneman Lake. Unfortunately, many hunters find themselves receiving citations when they get carried away and shoot too close to homes.
Arizona Game and Fish has obtained a “permit” from the Coconino National Forest to allow waterfowl hunters access to the “Berry Road” on the east side of Morman Lake through the fall waterfowl season .
To obtain access call the Flagstaff Regional office during normal business hours (MF 8-5) at 928-774-5045 or after hours call Arizona Game and Fish Dispatch at 623-236-7201.

Other Concerns: During waterfowl season, possession or use of lead shot is prohibited. Also, don't forget you need a state and federal waterfowl stamp affixed to your license.


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Unit Summary
Primary Game Species/ Hunting Month(s)
Elk September/November
Mule Deer October
White-tailed Deer October/ December
Turkey April-May/October
Secondary Game Species/ Hunting Month(s)
Antelope September
Javelina January/February
Average # permits in past 5 years
Elk 3800
Deer (Mule & White-tailed) 1900
Turkey 800
Antelope 5
Javelina 300
Climate Information
Month Ave. Temp Ave. Rainfall Ave. Snowfall
January Max 42°/Min 15° 0.6" 16.0"
February Max 45°/Min 18° 0.4" 14.0"
March Max 49°/Min 21° 0.5" 19.4"
April Max 58°/Min 27° 0.7" 9.9"
May Max 67°/Min 34° 0.7" 2.1"
June Max 75°/Min 41° 0.4" 0.0"
July Max 79°/Min 48° 2.5" 0.0"
August Max 76°/Min 48° 2.9" 0.0"
September Max 72°/Min 40° 1.7" 0.2"
October Max 63°/Min 20° 1.1" 0.9"
November Max 50°/Min 22° 1.0" 6.8"
December Max 42°/Min 15° 0.4" 15.2"
Other Pertinent Climate Information
Heavy snowfall can be expected in the northern half of the unit during the fall and winter seasons. Carry warm clothing, food, water, and matches or other fire starters. Weather reports can be heard on 92.9 FM and 600 AM. Early snowfall usually results in road closures.
Cities, Roads & Campgrounds
Major Cities and Towns in or Near Game Management Unit and Nearest Gas, Food, and Lodging
Camp Verde, Sedona, Flagstaff, Morman Lake, Strawberry, Clints Well
Major Highways and Roads Leading To
From the East: State Hwy 87 from Winslow
From the West: Interstate 40 from Williams
From the North: State Hwy 89 from Page
From the South: Interstate 17 from Phoenix, State Hwy 87 from Payson
Developed Campgrounds
Pine Grove Campground near Upper Lake Mary, Dairy Springs and Double Springs campgrounds at Morman Lake, both managed by U.S. Forest Service, Morman Lake Ranger District; Pine Flat, Cave Springs, and Manzanita campgrounds on Oak Creek, Sedona Ranger District; Beaver Creek Campground, north of Rim Rock, and Bull Pen Campground on West Clear Creek, Beaver Creek Ranger District; Clints Well Campground at the intersection of Lake Mary Road and Hwy 87, Blue Ridge Ranger District.
Undeveloped Campgrounds
Beaver Creek Ranger District manages two undeveloped campgrounds at southern tip of unit; Childs, on the Verde River, and Stehr Lake. Camping is allowed on Forest Service administered lands over most of the unit (two-week limit).
Brief Description of Terrain, Elevation, and Vegetation
Lower half of unit is high desert, open grasslands, and pinyon-juniper woodlands. Upper half, north of Stoneman Lake, is predominately ponderosa pine with some mixed conifer. Elevation ranges from 4,000' to 8,000'. Unit is cut by numerous canyons, including Oak Creek, Beaver Creek, and West Clerk Creek canyons.
Government Agencies and Phone Numbers
Arizona Game and Fish Department, Region II – 928-774-5045
U.S. Forest Service, Mormam Lake Ranger District – 928-527-3650
Happy Jack Information Center – 928-477-2172
Sedona Ranger District – 928-282-4119
Blue Ridge Ranger District – 928-477-2255
Peaks Ranger District – 928-526-0866
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