Elk Hunting Check list and Elk Hunting in AZ What to expect

Elk Hunting Check list and Elk Hunting in AZ What to expect

What to expect when you come to hunt elk in Arizona with Days in The Wild:

Hunting Elk In Arizona is quite possibly the most sought after elk hunting experience in the country, with a well-managed herd, milder terrain, milder weather than most elk hunting destinations and some of the best rutting action on public land in all the elk woods, its hard not to say its the #1 elk hunting destination in the west.  If you are lucky enough to draw a rut tag in Arizona most years the season falls on very good rutting behavior and you should see and hear plenty of bugling bulls. Our late season hunts in the units we hunt are high producing units for those looking for a good solid hut with a chance at a mature bull. These late hunts are fairly easy to draw especially the late archery hunt which with our help can be a very successful hunt.

Late season archery bull Arizona

Although we customize our hunts to suit your needs, abilities and goals  Physical fitness  should not be over looked. It is not a necessity to be the ultimate mounatin man becuase we can adjust tactics to your abilities However, all these hunts can be very physical at times and I suggest you work on getting yourself ready for the hunt it will improve your success and be a lot more comfortable hunt for you. Get on a good workout program  to prepare yourself physically. To mentally prepare for Elk hunting in Arizona or anywhere for that matter here are some of my favorite elk hunting podcasts  

Our Elk Hunts:

We have several different seasons with different weather conditions and different hunting conditions and depending on the unit you draw there could be variability there as well.

Early archery Hunts (EA): typically take place from 2nd Friday in September and run for two weeks. Weather we usually will get a fair amount of rain during the archery elk hunts, mornings can be fairly cold, the days typically are warm and often hot, with the evenings being pretty cool. I like to utilize a layering system that is easy to shed on the go and each layer being camo so i don’t need to take stuff off and put other stuff back on. My system is generally sitka merino base layer top ( depending on how cold i may wear bottoms as well) a mid-weight core top, mountain pants, and kelvin light hoodie. On this years that we have really warm weather I swamp the Core mid-weight for an ascent hoodie shirt. I always keep a packable rain jacket in my bag as well. This or something similar will keep you comfortable. As far a boots are concerned I wear “light” mountaineering style boots, not super ridged but not light hikers. We will cover a lot of ground and good support and a stiff shank will help you last much longer. On these hunts you can expect to incorporate several different hunting styles and tactics since the rut is typically reaching full stride by the second week of the season of course we will be chasing bugles during the peak hours in the mornings and evenings, but you can expect to do a fair amount of still hunting as well. We will also utilize ground blinds and tree stands during the mid-day and some evening as well. Plus we will be glassing quite a bit In those units that lend themselves to it.

Glassing for Elk AZ

First Rifle Hunt (FR): This hunt typically starts the day after the archery season ends.  In all honesty this hunt isn’t much different than the early archery as far as tactics or gear. It may be a bit colder and I have been snowed on during this hunt especially those units with higher elevation. The rut is in full swing on this hunt so we will be taking advantage of rutting behavior however we may be doing a lot of glassing if the terrain lends itself to it and will be doing a lot of still hunting ( walking slow and glassing ahead)

Late Archery Hunt (LA): This hunt is typically in mid-November, the rut is over… however, bulls can still be with cows and even still be bugling a bit but typically they have bachelor up again and are doing their own thing. Depending on weather and snow usually determines how we will be hunting them. However for the most part we will be treating them like big deer….lots of glassing. We recommend you bring big binos and a tripod for this hunt. Most of these hunts we operate out of a trailer camp or our preferred is out of a motel if it lends itself to it. This hunt is a cold one and usually windy so while we are glassing and sitting sedentary you will be cold but once we spot a bull that we want to work 9 x out of 10 we will be moving fairly quickly and generating a lot of body heat so again I recommend a good layering system so that you can shed your heavy outer layer quickly and not work yourself into a heavy sweat on the stalk.  My system is generally sitka merino base layer a heavyweight core top, Timberline pants, mountain vest and kelvin light hoodie.

Late Rifle Hunt (LR): This hunt starts the day after the late archery hunt and is a hunt managed for opportunity.. what does that mean? It’s a war zone, there are many tags and tons of people in the field. The weather conditions are very similar to the late archery hunt and often even a bit worst. We will be glassing a lot and covering ground moving from glassing area to glassing area. Only thing I really change clothing wise is I may go to the heavyweight base layers from the merinos because we are a bit more sedentary

Arizona eraly archery Bull

Hunting Gear

  • Backpack (2,000-3,500 cu. in., since we will be oporating out of trucks)
  • Waterproof pack cover
  • Bow I suggest a minimum 400grn weight /Rifle I suggest 7mm or larger caliber and
  • 10 hunting arrows 2 practice arrows a least one full box of the same ammo you sited your gun with
  • Extra broadheads
  • Extra Release aid
  • Rangefinder
  • Binoculars in good glassing units we suggest 15×56 mounted on tripod if you have it and 8 power binos to wear on your chest

    Glassing for elk AZ

  • We suggest you use a bino harness to keep everything covered and out of your way
  • Calls (grunt tube, mouth diaphragms) are not necessary but if you want to do some calling yourself be sure to bring on the early hunts
  • Flashlight/headlamp (both)
  • Emergency fire starters
  • small First-aid kit although we will have this with us in the very unlikely event you are by yourself its good to have
  • Knife
  • 50 feet of nylon cord
  • Signal whistle

Camping Gear Most of the big stuff will be provided for you 

  • Therm-a-Rest (or similar superlight) mattress
  • Sleeping bag (lightweight for early archery season heavy for late season hunts)
  • Small pillow
  • Toiletry kit / Toothbrush and paste etc
  • Soap
  • Towel and washcloth


  • Hunting license/tags
  • Camera/extra batteries
  • extra batteries for your flashlight and headlamp
  • Water bottle/bladder for your hunting pack
  • Unscented baby wipes in Ziploc bag
  • butt pad for glassing or sitting blinds
  • shooting rest some of the shots on the late hunt can be very long we suggest you use a shooting bag or rest 

Elk in arizona

Clothes read my article on layering typically on truck camps or motel set ups bring as much as you can better to have too much than not enough if we need to do a spike camp or back pack camp we will discuss your gear specifically with you.

  • Hiking boots
  • Lightweight camp shoes
  • Lightweight socks  or Heavyweight socks depending on season. see my sock review 
  • T-shirts
  • base layers or Long johns
  • Lightweight shirt
  • Lightweight pants
  • Fleece shirt or jacket
  • Fleece pants
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Heavy gloves preferably water proof
  • Lightweight hat
  • Warm hat
  • Down or fleece heavy jacket
  • wind breaking west
  • knee pads are good to have
  •  neck gaiter
  • boot gaiters 
  • Raingear


elk hunting arizona, elk hunting gear list, what to expect while elk hunting

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