Game Management Unit 17B
Species within this unit:
Antelope, Black Bear, Elk, Javelina, Merriam's Turkey, Mountain Lion, Mule Deer, Dove, Tree Squirrel , Quail
Beginning in Prescott; at the junction of Iron Springs Road and Williamson Valley Road (County Road 5) westerly on the Prescott-Skull Valley-Hillside-Bagdad road to Bagdad (County Road 10); northeast on the Bagdad-Camp Wood road (FS 21, or County Road 68) to Williamson Valley Road; south on this road to Iron Springs Road.
Overview: As with mule deer, Game Management Unit (GMU) 17 is divided into a north (17A) and south (17B) half, with Forest Service Road (FS) 21, and Camp Wood Road being the dividing line. Both units provide extremely high buck-to-doe ratios, with good trophy potential. Unit 17B has a larger population of antelope than GMU 17A. For both units, antelope occur in specific, limited areas where important access issues exist. Hunters should always pick up litter; leave gates as they are found (usually closed), and never drive off road in any vehicle, including ATVs. By cooperating with these landowners, hunter access will be available in the future.
Areas: By far, the majority of antelope in GMU 17B reside on the Las Vegas, Bar Triangle, and Long Meadow ranches in the northeastern part of the unit. These ranches are predominantly private property, and hunting is allowed by permission only and may involve an access fee.
A few pronghorn can also be found in the northwestern portion of the unit, west of the U. S. Forest boundary. These animals frequently move back and forth across Camp Wood Road, which is also the boundary between Units 17B and 18B.
Overview: Unit 17 is combined with GMU 18B, 20A and 20B for fall bear season, so refer to that page for additional information. Anyone going bear hunting must contact 1-800-970-BEAR (2327) to determine if a particular hunt unit is still open. If a hunter has harvested a bear, they must contact the Arizona Game and Fish Department within 48 hours of take. This can be done in person during business hours, or by calling 1-800-970-BEAR, which is a 24-hour number. In addition, within 10 days of taking a bear, the hunter shall present the bear’s skull, hide, and attached proof of sex for inspection. A premolar tooth will be removed during this inspection. Keep in mind that local Wildlife Managers may not be readily available to inspect a bear, which may require the hunter taking the animal to a Department office.
When in the field, care should be taken to watch for cubs near a potential game bear. Small bruins are not always visible in dense cover. Hunters cannot take a sow with cubs.
Overview: Game Management Units 17A and 17B have relatively low elk densities with herds that move back-and-forth across the unit boundaries. This nomadic behavior results in a challenging hunt that requires equal amounts of skill, pre-hunt scouting, and luck. Units 17A and 17B are combined with Units 18B, 19B, 20A, and 20C for the archery and general hunts. All included units are open in their entirety with no separate hunt areas as in the past.
The management objectives for Unit 17B are to maintain a limited number of elk far below the carrying capacity of the unit and to minimize conflicts on private land.
Areas: Elk in Unit 17B occur in low densities and are mainly located along the northern boundary of the unit on the Cross U, Las Vegas, and Yolo Ranches. The areas are best accessed from Camp Wood Road (FS 21) and Fair Oaks Road (FS 85). Unless you are very familiar with these areas, pre-hunt scouting is recommended.
Overview: Hunter success during javelina season is very weather dependent. If temperatures are low with cloud cover and precipitation, javelina will stay brushed up or in the bottoms of draws in an attempt to stay warm. This obviously makes them difficult to locate. However, on calm days, with the sun shining, javelina can be found, relatively easy, feeding on open slopes. When hunting in areas where thick vegetation precludes glassing, try sitting waters frequented by javelina.
General javelina seasons are relatively short in duration and if a storm moves in, much of the hunt can be lost due to poor weather. Archery season, however, lasts a full month, allowing a hunter to plan one or more trips during periods of optimum weather conditions. This is just food for thought when filling out the spring hunt applications.
Whenever you hunt, find high points that allow you to see large amounts of country, sit down, and start to glass. Many hunters make the mistake of just scanning the hillsides without really picking them apart, thus missing a lot of game. Attaching your binoculars to a tripod will make glassing easier, especially when looking long distances.
Once a javelina has been harvested, care should be taken to dress and skin it as soon as possible. A common misconception is that the scent gland on a javelina's back must be cut out. This is incorrect. The gland is contained within the skin, and simply skinning a javelina as you would any other animal will completely remove the scent gland. However, be sure not to touch a knife or fingers to the gland and then touch the meat.
A fall junior’s only general javelina season has been added to Unit 17B. This season runs concurrent with the junior’s only general deer season and should provide an excellent chance for kids to get in the field and have a memorable hunt.
Areas: Fair Oaks Road (FS 85). This road provides access to a huge amount of good javelina habitat. It does pass through some private property, however, so be sure to watch for “posted” areas and ask permission where applicable.
Tonto Road (FS 102). Hunt east of this road towards Granite Mountain Wilderness. Once again, be aware of areas of private land.
Scott's Basin/Bear Flat. This area is State Land and can be accessed from County Road 68 (Camp Wood Road) out of Bagdad.
Much of the southern part of 17B offers quality javelina hunting. Focus on the areas between Kirkland and Bagdad. Once again be aware of posted private property.
Overview: The turkey population in Game Management Unit 17 has experienced a sharp decline over the past several years. However, the biology of these birds suggests that they will recover quickly once conditions improve. In the meantime, permits will be reduced and hunters should expect much lower hunt success than in years past.
When hunting turkeys during the spring season, make sure the bird you’re about to bag has a visible beard. Don't rely on a colorful head or even the sound of a gobble when making a decision to shoot. Also be sure no other turkeys are behind or adjacent to the bird you decide to take. Accidentally killing multiple birds with one shot is more common than one might think.
With the exception of some of the open grassland savannas, mountain lions are found in good numbers throughout Game Management Unit (GMU) 17. Annual lion harvest in GMU 17 is consistently among the highest in the state. Lions are reclusive animals that spend most of their time in rough, more remote country. By far, the most effective lion hunting method is trailing them with hounds. However, lions will respond to predator calls, and hunters using this tactic harvest many each year.
When setting up to call mountain lions, pick an elevated calling location that allows you to view a lot of country from one point. Lions will generally come in slow and cautiously, so call on-and-off for at least 45 minutes while glassing open areas and rock-piles. Calls that imitate a cottontail or jackrabbit in distress are effective.
Special Note: Successful lion hunters must report their kill by contacting an Arizona Game and Fish Department office, or by telephone (1-877-438-0447), within 48 hours of taking a lion. In addition, within 10 days of taking a lion, the hunter shall present the lion’s skull, hide, and attached proof of sex for inspection. A premolar tooth will be removed during this inspection. The premolar tooth (very small) is located on the upper jaw just behind the large canine. Keep in mind that local wildlife managers may not be readily available to inspect a lion, which may require the hunter taking the animal to a Department office. Also, it is unlawful to harvest a spotted kitten or a female accompanied by spotted kittens.
Overview: Game Management Unit (GMU) 17 is divided into two separate mule deer hunts. Unit 17A to the north and GMU 17B to the south are divided by Camp Wood Road (Forest Service Road 21, a.k.a. County 68). Unit 17A is dominated, to the north, by rolling hills with pinyon/juniper and oak woodland with interspersed grasslands. To the south and western portions of the unit, large areas of ponderosa pine are present. Unit 17B is a little more diverse in terms of vegetation and elevation. While ponderosa pine is common in the northern part of the unit, pinyon/juniper woodland, chaparral, grassland savannas, and sonoran desert to the southwest typify other areas. Arizona Game and Fish Department (Department) personnel have worked with many of the ranches in GMU 17 to obtain access for hunters on private land. Problems such as vandalism, littering, harassment of livestock, and cross-country travel may cause these landowners to revoke this privilege and lock their gates. Hunters who observe these types of actions, and report them to an officer, help ensure private lands remain open in the future.
During the early archery season and the general season, sitting on waters can be a productive tactic. Areas of open slopes, ridges, or mesas should be meticulously glassed for deer during early morning and late-afternoon periods. As with any hunt, pre-hunt scouting will increase your chance for success. A Prescott National Forest map is a good place to start (refer to the west half).
Areas: Tank Creek Mesa, Sycamore Mesa, Cedar Mesa, Smith Mesa, South Mesa, and Anderson Mesa and the associated canyons. Reaching these areas will require a 4X4 vehicle. Look closely at the edges of the mesas and the side canyons leading off the tops.
Tonto Road (FS 102, or County Road 66). Accessed from County Road 10 out of Prescott. Many roads lead both east and west from Tonto Road, entering good deer habitat.
Cottonwood Canyon (FS 705). This area can be reached from Camp Wood Road (FS 21). Glass the bald slopes such as those at the base of BT Butte.
Overview:Game Management Unit 17 lacks large areas of irrigated cropland that provide optimum dove hunting associated with many other units. Although a few irrigated fields are maintained, they are on private property where permission to hunt is required.
Some of the tanks in the southern and eastern portion of the Unit may provide good hunting opportunities. Scouting potential areas shortly before the season will greatly improve your hunting success.
Overview: Tree squirrels are associated with ponderosa pine/oak woodland. This type of habitat can be found around the Camp Wood area off Forest Service Road 21. Hunters can enjoy success by slowly walking through the forest looking and listening. Another tactic is to get in an area with fresh sign, such as cut pine limbs, then sit and wait.
Overview: Quail breeding activity and the survival of young Overview: Quail breeding activity and the survival of young birds is directly related to precipitation. Late winter and early spring moisture generally translates to a good hunting season.
Early in the season, birds will most likely be tied to water. As the season progresses and temperatures fall, they will move away from tanks and washes to the uplands.
For locations, refer to the Prescott National Forest Map (west half).
Areas: Gambel's quail are found throughout the unit, although some of the best hunting is in the southern portion. To get there, take County Road 10 (Iron Springs Road) out of Prescott to the following areas:
Tonto Road (Forest Service Road 102, a.k.a. County Road 66). Hunt the hills and draws on both sides of the road. Be aware of private land and obtain permission to hunt where applicable.
Bismark Mesa. Turn off just before Cottonwood Canyon. This road was constructed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, in a cooperative agreement with the Y-4 Ranch, to provide access for hunters. As always, please respect the rights and property of the ranch to ensure future access.
Much of the southern part of 17B offers quality quail hunting. Focus on the areas between Kirkland and Bagdad. Once again be aware of posted private property.
|Primary Game Species/ Hunting Month(s)|
|Secondary Game Species/Hunting Month(s)|
|Month||Avg. Temp||Avg. Rainfall||Avg. Snowfall|
|January||Max 50°/Min 20°||1.72"||4.50"|
|February||Max 54°/Min 23°||1.51"||3.50"|
|March||Max 59°/Min 23°||1.53"||3.90"|
|April||Max 68°/Min 33°||0.72"||1.10"|
|August||Max 86°/Min 56°||3.45"||0.0"|
|September||Max 85°/Min 50°||1.49"||0.0"|
|October||Max 72°/Min 38°||1.22"||0.20"|
|November||Max 60°/Min 28°||1.33"||1.90"|
|December||Max 52°/Min 23°||1.80"||5.60"|
Other Pertinent Climate Information
Temperatures and precipitation levels vary considerably due to the wide range in elevations. High-elevation climate information is from Prescott. Higher elevation areas, such as Camp Wood, will experience cooler temperatures and considerably more snowfall.
Cities, Roads & Campgrounds
Major Cities and Towns in or Near Game Management Unit and Nearest Gas, Food, and Lodging
Prescott, Bagdad, Seligman
Major Highways and Roads Leading To
From the East: State Hwy 69
From the West: State Hwy 97
From the North: Williamson Valley Rd
From the South: State Hwy 89
The Forest Service administers Granite Basin Recreation Area, just northwest of Prescott near Granite Mountain.
Brief Description of Terrain, Elevation, and Vegetation
Elevations range from roughly 2,500' in the southwestern portion of the unit to more than 6,400' near Camp Wood. Terrain is very diverse, encompassing many large mesas with associated canyons, steep mountains, and wide flats. Vegetation varies from Sonoran desertscrub, to large expanses of chaparral and short grass meadow with interspersed pinyon-juniper, to coniferous forests.
Government Agencies and Phone Numbers
Arizona Game and Fish Department, Region III -928 692-7700
Prescott National Forest -928 771-4700