Elk Hunting in Arizona Game Management Unit 22

hunter success will increase with time spent glassing. A good pair of binoculars and spotting scope will improve the chance of taking a trophy bull.

Game Management Unit 22

Scores


Ease of Drawing
16
 
16
Success
61
 
61
Trophy Potential
0
N/A
Public Access
96
 
96
Ease of Terrain
75
 
75
Room to Breathe
81
 
81
Opportunity
14
 
14
Convenience
83
 
83
Ease of Effort
60
 
60
70
HuntScore

Access Notes


Bureau of Land Management
US Forest Service
US Fish and Wildlife Service
US Forest Service National Grasslands
Indian Reservation
State, County, City; Park and Outdoor Recreation Areas
State Wildlife/Wilderness Areas
Bureau of Reclaimation
Department of the Defense
National Park Service
State
Other Federal Land
Private

Land Ownership
Legend


Beginning at the junction of the Salt and Verde Rivers; north along the Verde River to Childs; easterly on the Childs-Strawberry Rd. to Fossil Creek; north on the creek to Fossil Springs; southeasterly on FS trail 18 (Fossil Spring Trail) to the top of the rim; northeasterly on the rim to Nash Point on the Tonto-Coconino National Forest boundary along the Mogollon Rim; easterly along this boundary to Tonto Creek; southerly along the east fork of Tonto Creek to the spring box, north of the Tonto Creek Hatchery, and continuing southerly along Tonto Creek to the Salt River; westerly along the Salt River to the Verde River; except those portions that are sovereign tribal lands of the Tonto Apache Tribe and the Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Community.

County

Yavapai, Maricopa, Gila

Size

1,372 Square Miles (877,854 Acres)

Land Ownership

3% Private, 98% Public, 96% USFS, 1% Indian

Latitude/Longitude

34.0213, -111.4410

Amenities

There are 0 hospitals, 9 hotels, 23 campgrounds, and 2 grocery stores within a 20 mile radius.

Elk Notes


Elk numbers in this unit are stable around the 1700 level, with a bull/cow ratio hovering around 35 bulls: 100 cows. Generally, good populations of elk exist throughout the northern portions of Unit 22. Unit 22 has been split into two subunits to better direct elk hunting pressure to areas where elk need to be harvested (see hunting regulations for a full description of subunit boundaries). Unit 22 north is basically the area north and west of Payson, and it holds the majority of the elk in the Unit.

Unit 22 south includes the entire area of Unit 22 south of the Unit 22 North subunit. Elk in 22 south generally occur in lower densities compared to 22 North, but nevertheless, elk numbers were expanding in 22 south and few hunters were taking advantage of these elk, so the 22 South hunt Unit was created for force hunters to harvest some of these elk.

The early 22 north and 22 south hunts will have the usual warm to hot daytime temperatures, so be prepared to transport the meat to a walk-in freezer location as soon as possible. Several walk-ins or butcher shops are located in the Payson area.

For all the hunts, hunter success will increase with time spent glassing. A good pair of binoculars and spotting scope will improve the chance of taking a trophy bull.

Unit 22 exists entirely below the Mogollon Rim. Annually, elk from Units 5A, 6A, and 4A migrate into northern Unit 22 when feed in the other Units dries out, or when the snow gets deep enough to make them want to move.

The peak of the winter movement depends on weather to a large degree, but generally occurs by late November of each year. With the increase of elk in the winter months, hunters will also face the inclement weather that pushes the elk off the rim. A 4-wheel-drive vehicle will be required if the weather turns to rain or snow. Temperature will average a daily high in the 40s to a low in the 20s.

Archery hunt success is closely related to the late October and early November temperatures. If rainfall patterns are normal, hunting around tanks from a tree stand will produce good success. It's still warm enough each day that elk will water in morning or evening. The September archery hunt success will be higher.

The area around and in the Dude Burn (northeast corner of Unit 22) is an excellent place to hunt for all the hunts.

Areas inside the burn with standing sections of live trees will hold elk in larger numbers. The burn area is now over a decade old so the regenerated forage is not as choice as it was in the mid 1990s. However, good numbers of elk can be found within the dude burn area, especially during the later hunts. The Mogollon Rim is a magnet to elk during the late hunts because of the extensive browse that is found along its expanse.

There are numerous roads that will take you under the Rim off the Control Road. Take any of these roads during the late hunt and pick a good spot to glass. More than likely you can find elk feeding one or just below the Rim itself. Take a pack frame with you if you hunt in this area because there are a lot of logs that have blown down since the fire and dragging a downed elk or driving to a downed elk in the Dude Burn is nearly impossible.

Hardscrabble Mesa (northwest corner of Unit 22) and the northern end of the Mazatzal Wilderness can be good depending on the current year livestock use.

The brush thicket below the Little Diamond Rim east to Diamond Point Area has produce some nice bulls in the past, but is limited to vehicle use. Recovery of downed elk can be difficult and pack animals are recommended.

The early hunt in Unit 22 South has several good places to check out including Round Valley northeast to the Lion Springs area, and the area around Little Green Valley.

For cow elk hunting in Unit 22 south, the two best places are National Forest land south of the Rim Golf Club and the Payson Municipal Golf Club. Elk feed on these golf courses at night and then move onto national forest land in the mornings to bed. They can frequently be intercepted in the mornings if you do your homework. To get to the Rim club elk, take Granite Dells Road off of Hwy 260 in Payson (next to Safeway).

Granite Dells Road will take you onto National Forest Land south of the Rim Club. Get there early and glass and look for sign where the elk are traveling in the area. Just be aware that it is illegal to fire a gun while taking wildlife within a quarter mile of any occupied building. That means both you and your target must be more than ¼ mile from any homes in the area.

So do a thorough job of scouting the area prior to the hunt to be sure you are familiar with private and public land boundaries as well as the locations of all the homes. If you are cited for shooting within a ¼ mile of an occupied residence you can also louse your elk!

The Payson Municipal Golf Course can be found by going east on Main Street in Payson off the Beeline Hwy. There is access to the National Forest directly south of the golf clubhouse. The city limits actually extend about ¼ mile south of the swinging metal gate in that area, so again, do your scouting early and be sure of your property boundaries and house locations.

National Forest land adjacent to both these golf courses can be great places to harvest elk if you do your homework ahead of time.

HuntScore Tip

Public land and private land percentages can sometime be misleading. A unit may have 80% public land, but a particluar species may only occupy 20% on the entire area. And that 20% species distribution may lie 100% within private lands. Does that sound confusing? Just remember that there are always exceptions to the rule, and land ownership is just one piece of the puzzle.

Photos and Terrain Notes


Terrain varies from relatively flat desert grasslands to high, forested mountains. The elevation in this area ranges from 1,500' at Saguaro Lake to 7,894' at Mazatzal Peak. Sonoran desert vegetation at lower elevations to mixed conifer, spruce/fir/ponderosa pine on Mazatzal Peak at 7,894'. pinyon/juniper and extensive chaparral in the Mazatzal Mountains and along the base of the Mogollon Rim.

Unit Elevation Profile

HuntScore generates thousands of synthetic hikes in the unit to create an elevation profile. This profile is what you can expect to experience within a 2 mile hike from a road or trail in this unit.

Elevation in this unit ranges from 1332' to 7253' with a median elevation of 2416'. If you are preparing to hunt this unit you should train for hiking up and down slopes of 6.8%.

Distribution of Slopes From Hikes
Common Slope

This is typical incline or decline experienced while hiking from a road or trail in the unit

Elevation Range
Max Elevation: 7253'
Median Elevation: 2416'
Min Elevation: 1332'

Common Elevation Profiles

Elk Drawing Stats (2020)


Total Quota
2,075
Licenses Drawn
2,075
Licenses Surplus
0
Resident Quota
2,075
Nonresident Quota
746
Landowner Quota
0
Youth Quota
0
15.4%
Overall Unit
1st Choice Draw Odds
Choose a hunt below to take a deeper dive into hunt scores, drawing trends, and harvest data. Arizona hunt codes change annually but don't fret! HuntScore makes AZ draw codes easy to read. Read our article on HuntScore AZ draw codes here
Stats Apply For Sex Manner Season Type Quota Drawn Surplus Resident Draw Odds NonResident Draw Odds Min Res. Points Min NonRes. Points
22N_1_M_A_A_LL
M
A
A
LL
325 325 0
94.1%
45.8%
2 2
22S_1_M_ALL_G_LL
M
ALL
G
LL
80 80 0
15.7%
1.8%
7 7
22N_2_M_ALL_G_LL
M
ALL
G
LL
475 475 0
20.4%
13.2%
5 5
22_1_F_A_A_LL
F
A
A
LL
75 75 0
57.9%
25%
3 3
22S_1_M_A_A_LL
M
A
A
LL
65 65 0
100%
23.1%
3 3
22S_1_M_M_M_LL
M
M
M
LL
50 50 0
7.4%
2.5%
12 12
22S_1_F_ALL_G_LL
F
ALL
G
LL
50 50 0
17.5%
0%
5 5
22N_1_F_ALL_G_LL
F
ALL
G
LL
275 275 0
16.5%
10%
5 5
22_1_F_ALL_G_LL
F
ALL
G
LL
200 200 0
32.5%
44%
3 3
22N_1_M_ALL_G_LL
M
ALL
G
LL
30 30 0
0.8%
1.4%
18 18
22_1_M_A_A_LL
M
A
A
LL
50 50 0
6.5%
1.2%
9 9
22N_3_M_ALL_G_LL
M
ALL
G
LL
400 400 0
30.8%
26.8%
5 5
HuntScore Tip: Any hunt permit-tags not issued in the three drawing phases are eligible for the first-come/first­serve process. Applications are made by mail (or online, if available) and hunt permit-tags are issued to the first individuals who apply for these hunts. In the first-come/first-serve process, a successful applicant retains all accumulated bonus points.

Elk Harvest Stats (2019)


Total Hunters
319
Total Harvest
196
Harvest Male
22
Harvest Female
174
61.4%
Average Success
Manner Season Type Sex Hunters Harvest Male Female Youth Success Rate Days Hunter
A
A
NA
M
66 30
0
30
0
45% 6
A
A
NA
M
45 22
22
0
0
49% 7
R
Y
NA
F
208 144
0
144
0
69% 3
HuntScore Tip: Ever hunt a unit with a 100% success rate and not see any animals? If you're nodding your head to any of these scenarios then you're one of the people who knows that statistics are a good guide, but they aren't a guarantee.

Harvests Trends


Overall harvests trends are broken down by hunt_code, manner, season, sex, type, and species of deer (if applicable) to the extent state wildlife managers provide such data.

Total Harvest

Success Rate

Days Per Hunter (To Harvest)

Weather Insights


Weather can vary by elevation. See how weather varies by elevation within a unit by selecting an elevation range. Elevation ranges are based on weather stations in or near the unit. Not all weather elements are available within the unit.

Average Temps

Use temperature ranges to plan and prepare for your hunt. Large swings indicate a good layering system should be used. Be sure to make note of the extreme temperatures as these often pose the greatest risk to hunters. If you plan on hunting in higher elevation, as a rule of thumb, expect the tempture to decrease roughly 5° for every 1000' in elevation gain.

WITH A FREE ACCOUNT GET:

  • Precip totals by month
  • Snow depth by month
  • Min/Max precip and snow depth
  • Average # of days between precip or snow event

Precipitation

The probability of precipitation is the likelihood of experience rain, snow, hail, etc... on a given day within the month. A good trick is to invert the probability to estimate how many days will pass, on average, between precipitation events. Hover or click a month to see how many days will pass between precipitation events.

Use the average and maximum precipitation events to set expetations for what rain gear to bring. Also remember that water availability can influence wildlife patterns, so be sure to check out the current weather patterns leading up to your hunt.

Snow

Each month of the year brings it's own challenges for weather. Select a month to see what you can expect and how to prepare for extreme events.

Likely Wind Directions

Wind Speed

Sunshine




Cloud Cover




Other Weather Events

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