People have traveled from all over the world to chase trophy Elk. They have gone to the Rocky Mountains of Montana, to the high plains of North Dakota. Eastern – American elk growing now and thriving in Kentucky and Tennessee are now available to to be bagged by hunters. Yet without a doubt the trophy elk found in East-Central Arizona on land managed by the White Mountain Apache Tribe are some of the most sought after. Arizona in general has been known to produce some of the largest trophy elk the world has seen. So it really is no wonder that this area is so popular. It is not just the Elk hunts that prove to be a major draw to this region for hunters. There are a also bighorn sheep, pronghorn (antelope) and Turkey! This area is known to house some of the largest Black bear in Arizona. Having an opportunity to hunt one of the mighty predators yields not only in trophies and meat but also in the memories. There are also abundant opportunities for hunting other predators. Mountain Lions are the apex predator of the region and as such need to be properly managed, there is also an abundance of bobcat in the area. If predator hunting is not your bag and you have some extra time to quite literally kill, you can always try after the local small game and waterfowl. You cannot have a proper southwestern Barbacoa without at least one Javalina after all! The White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Fort Apache reservation offers both guided (Predator hunts and bear hunts are required to have a tribal guide) and self-guided (Most Elk Hunts are Do-it-yourself hunts) so you will have plenty of opportunity.
Since this area is known to produce some monster Trophy Elk, it is popular. A lot of people want to be able to say that they traveled down to Arizona and were able to harvest an animal worth bragging about. It is popular for a reason but this means that the hunting requires some effort and planning. Since the Elk are so large and in such abundance the chances are tipped in your favor. So you can plan yourself out a Do-it-yourself hunt and take on the journey much like most other public land hunts. If you want to have the odds forever tipped in your favor and want to take a chance at true trophy, the tribe offers guided Trophy Elk hunts. These same guides are outfitted to help you in every way possible and you have a chance to also chance other quarry such as Bighorn sheep or pronghorn. It is important to not here that the tribe allows self-guided hunts but only for Elk. If you wish to go after Black bear, Bighorn Sheep, Pronghorn, Turkey, Mountain lion or Bobcat, you are going to require the use of a guide. It will help cut down on a lot of the hassle as they will take care of you tags and permits through the tribal fish and game office.
The guided bear hunts are worth noting in particular. This region has some bears and has some very BIG bears. Hunters are given two opportunities a year to harvest a black bear in this area. One in the spring/Summer (April 1 through August 30) and another one in the fall (October 10 through November 30) so you have plenty of time. However tags are limited to only 400 being sold through the year. So booking early will be a requirement if you want to chase after some of these world class black bears. The guides will take care of everything except taking the shot and carrying your gear. So it is well worth the price when you aren’t the one having to carry out 150-200 pounds of meat and pelt. Plus being safe is key and these guides are professionals that are trained and skilled to make sure that everything is as safe as possible. Just remember if you use a guided hunt you are required during your entire hunt to be in their presence. Listen to them, they know more than you. They are guides after all.
Now there are other animals worth harvesting in the area and with the use of a guide there are plenty of small game and flying opportunities. Turkey, geese, ducks and other waterfowl, tree squirrels and of course the legendary Javilina. As mentioned before an authentic Southwestern Barbacoa requires at least one Javilina, which are large rodents that live in the high desert. Prepared property these ugly looking rodents are quite tasty and it will come with an unforgettable story. Hard to spot, hard to find, and hard to hit these animals are a blast to chase and even better to eat! The turkey in the area are some of the largest in the state and you won’t want to miss out on the waterfowl. With plenty of lakes to call home you won’t be able to throw a rock and not hit at least a dozen ducks.
The White Mountain Apache Tribe has a lot to offer the hunter. World class and trophy elk are just the tip of the iceberg when talking about this area. Bighorn sheep, pronghorn, Black bear, Turkey, Waterfowl, and yes Javilinas are available to you to hunt. Be sure to check all the regulations in the area, and make sure you are legal. The best way to avoid all the headache and to get more opportunities is to go with one of the White Mountain Apache Tribe guides. You will not be disappointed with the experience, memories and the thrill of the hunt. Book early or miss out!