Unit 23 Rifle Coues Whitetail Deer: Hunt Overview
Updated: Jun 14
Unit 23 is a vast and variable unit. Coues whitetail deer live in nearly every portion of it, form the Saguaro covered hills just north of Roosevelt Lake to the dark timber of the Sierra Ancha and Mogollon Rim. Of the Central Arizona units, 23 is perhaps the most coveted of all for Coues deer hunting. The habitat is predominately thick and rugged. Aside from a bit of private property most of the unit lies within the Tonto National Forest. These public lands allow for great access from top to bottom in the unit.
Rifle Coues hunts take place in three seasons in unit 23. The late October "general" hunt is first. A second "general" season takes place two weeks later in mid-November. The third rifle season take place though the later half of December. The second season tags offer the best draw odds. First season tags are the next best for draw odds and offer a generally better hunting experience than second season tags. The third season December tags are the most difficult to draw, offer the longest period of time to hunt, and take place during the pre-rut period when the hunting conditions are much cooler than the early hunts.
What does it take to draw a 23 Coues Whitetail permit for residents and non-residents?
First season October tags for Residents of Arizona in 2019 took from 3-7 Bonus Points to guarantee. With no Bonus Points the draw odds were 12.7%. For Non-Residents 2-7 Bonus Points secured your spot to hunt 23 and at 0 points odds were 11.9%.
Second season November tags again took Residents 3-7 Bonus Points. At zero points odds were 18.6%. For Non-Residents it took 2-6 Bonus Points and had the same 18.6% odds at 0 points.
The late December rifle (third season) tags for Residents took 8-11 Bonus Points and for Non-Residents 15-16 Bonus Points. With 0 points Resident odds were 1.9% and NR odds were 1.5%.
We can expect that the 2020 numbers will reflect similarly upon the 2019 draw odds. Each season offers a different hunting experience and different opportunities. Our preferences are both the third and first seasons, respectively.
How do the 23 rifle Coues hunts compare to other draw rifle tags?
GMU 23 tags are some of the most coveted of all of the AZ Coues Whitetail tags. The unit consistently produces trophy quality whitetail bucks. 100" is often the benchmark for big Coues deer but unit 23 is know for having multiple 110-120"+ deer harvested every year. Deer densities are moderate. The rugged, remote, and dense habitat of the unit makes for the perfect environment to keep deer alive into old age and hidden from many hunters. This is in drastic contrast with many of the very open units of Southeastern, AZ that have tons of deer but the terrain and tag numbers do not allow for nearly the trophy potential of Central, AZ.
We have hunted in unit 23 for multiple species including Coues Whitetail, Mule Deer, Elk, Turkey, Javelina, Mountain Lion, and Black Bears over multiple decades and generations. We have learned many of the most productive and obscure corners of the unit over the years. Whether you have drawn the tag already or you are interested in applying for a tag and are looking for a unit 23 Coues Whitetail hunt guide, contact us and we will help you make the most of your premier tag. Pure hunting, no gimmicks, no cut corners, and no excuses. You'll always have our dedication and genuine passion behind your hunt.
The 2020 Arizona Deer Draw Deadline is 6/9/2020. Do not miss out on your chance to hunt Arizona!