22S Muzzleloader Bull Elk: Hunt Overview
Updated: Jan 6
The Mazatzal mountains of central Arizona form a prominent boundary between the Sonoran desert and the Mogollon Rim country. The cool peaks cutting through the desert air up to 7903 feet in elevation establish rugged habitat and wilderness in the heart of unit 22 South. The mountain range itself and the surrounding chaparral country encompasses a wide variety of quality elk habitat completely unique to this portion of the state.
Arizona is known for it's coveted and hard to acquire bull elk tags. The state is world famous for huge elk and inversely proportional low draw odds with our Arizona Big Game Draw. Some tags in the state may take upwards of two and a half decades to draw as a non-resident. This includes the premier trophy units 1, 9, 10, 23, and 27. Unlike these top-tier units 22S offers much greater draw odds for a trophy elk hunt in Arizona.
The 22 South muzzleloader bull elk hunt runs the week immediately following the two week long early archery unit 22 hunt. This time frame coincides with the peak of the elk rut and makes for an action packed experience. Requiring nearly half or less of the bonus points of other early season firearms hunts, 22S becomes a much more favorable option for the hunter interested in an incredible experience while not getting caught up in the waiting game of applying for the most premium Arizona elk tags.
So what does it take to draw a 22 South muzzleloader permit as a resident or non-resident? For residents of Arizona in 2019, 11 Bonus Points would guarantee you a tag. For non-residents 14 Bonus Points secured your spot to hunt 22S. We can expect that the 2020 season will reflect similarly on these numbers. Saving more than a decade in wait time to draw this tag could be a great advantage for many people waiting for an early season elk hunt.
How does the 22S muzzleloader bull elk hunt compare to the much harder to draw rifle tags in "trophy" units? 22 doesn't have the giant elk reputation of its neighbor unit 23 so don't expect to hold out for a 400+ inch bull any time soon. However, 22S does have many respectable bulls and the hunt averages between 320-360" bulls. Many larger bulls have been taken in the unit and are always a possibility but not the norm. With a high density of bulls in much of the prime elk habitat within the unit 22 South it offers an incredibly fun hunt. These bulls are vocal and often the terrain makes glassing bulls an option. This is the hunt for those interested in the full elk hunting adventure without the extreme wait time.
We have specialized in hunting unit 22S for multiple species and have become exceedingly familiar with the elk that call it home. Having guided multiple mature bulls during the muzzleloader season our experience has allowed us to consistently take bulls at the upper end of the average for the unit. Whether you have drawn the tag already or you are interested in applying for a tag and are looking for a 22 south bull elk hunt guide, contact us and we will help you make the most of your coveted Arizona elk hunt.