Game Management Unit 16B
Species within this unit:
Bighorn Sheep, Dove, Quail, Waterfowl
Beginning at I-40 on the Colorado River; southerly along the Arizona-California state line to the Bill Williams River; east along the Bill Williams River to AZ Hwy 95; north on AZ Hwy 95 to I-40 (Exit 9); west on I-40 to the Colorado River.
Overview: The 2010 sheep permit for 16B will encompass both the north and south portions of the unit. The Needle Mountains are located in the north portion and the Aubrey Hills in the south. The latest combined population estimate for the Needles and the Aubrey Mtns. is 70 sheep.
Both mountain ranges are relatively small and can be covered very thoroughly during the hunt. The class III and IV rams observed in this area would score between 140 to 170 Boone and Crockett points. These rams tend to score lower, for their age, because of the low rainfall and harsh living conditions.
Areas: The north portion (Needles Mountains) has vehicle access to the base of the Needle's on both the north and south ends. To access the north end you must take Interstate 40 to the Needles Mountains Exit (exit 2). This exit is located about three miles from the Arizona/California border. To access the southern part, there is a two-track dirt road that heads west from State Route 95 at milepost 191. Both of these access routes eventually end at the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge boundary. Motor vehicles are not allowed on the refuge, even on existing roads. Another alternative is to access the area by boat. There are boat launches in Lake Havasu City and Topock. Both launch areas are only within minutes of the Needle Mountains. This would be a good way to hunt the area around Devil's Elbow and Picture Rock. Sheep are frequently seen in both of these locations by boaters. Navigating the river at night is difficult and should be avoided if a boat is used to access hunting areas.
The south portion (Aubrey Hills) is also very small. This area is not as rugged as the Needles however vehicle access is not permitted west of State Route 95. Boat access is allowed, and would be the easiest way to access the heart of the sheep country. The area along the lake shoreline most frequented by sheep is from Pilot Rock to Steamboat Cove.
Overview: Population surveys for dove are not conducted in this unit. Dove in this unit are drawn to the habitat created by development in Lake Havasu City. The majority of these birds are found along the lake's shoreline adjacent to the city. This area has plenty of food, water, and cover for dove. Dove numbers drop as you move further into the desert and away from the city and the river.
The harvest over the last few years has been variable, influenced by both the numbers of hunters and dove. Generally the first couple days of the season result in a quick bag limit but numbers taper off for the second weekend due to hunting pressure. The late hunt this fall should be fairly good. Dove will be more spread out in the desert areas and should be concentrated around available water. The majority of the birds harvested in this unit are mourning doves although a few white wings are taken each year.
Areas: A popular hunting location is located west and north of the Havasu Gardens area. This area is North of the Lake Havasu City limits and between London Bridge Road and the river. The area is made up of sand dunes, salt cedars, and thick mesquite groves. This location is subject to NO SHOOTING within a 1/4 mile of a building. The Refuge golf course and residential area (not the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge) is unlawful to hunt in.
The land ownership is private, State Land, and National Wildlife Refuge. The posted portions of private land are not lawful to hunt unless the owner grants permission. All the State Land in this area is open to hunting. The Havasu Wildlife Refuge has portions both open and closed to hunting. The portion of Refuge that lies within the Lake Havasu City limits is closed to hunting. The area that lies north of the city limits to Vista Drive in Crystal Beach is opening to hunting. The portion of Refuge that extends from Vista Drive North to Interstate 40 is closed to all hunting. Hunting done on the Havasu Refuge must be in compliance with Refuge Rules and Regulation. Please note that you may only be in possession of NON-TOXIC SHOT while hunting on the Refuge. For additional Refuge information call (760) 326-3853.
This unit falls into the southern hunt zone where the hunt begins one half-hour before sunrise and ends at noon. Hunters can hunt after noon across HW 95 in GMU 16A as this unit falls in the northern zone. Be sure to pick up a copy of the current Dove Regulations to check bag and possession limits and season dates before going in the field.
Overview: Population surveys for quail are not conducted in this unit. Quail will be located near a permanent water source and along wash bottoms lined with trees. These areas provide the best forage and hiding cover for wildlife. Quail numbers are relatively low compared to other areas of the state due to the extreme climate.
Areas: The best location to start hunting is south of Lake Havasu City across from the Standard Wash OHV area. This area is closed to motorized vehicles. This area contains a high density of washes with increased vegetation near the wash.
Overview: Lake Havasu and the Colorado River on the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge provide ample opportunity for waterfowl hunting. Generally the latter portion of the season provides the best opportunity with December being the best month. Mallards, Pintails, Widgeons, and Teal are the most common species taken on the refuge. Waterfowl can be found in the backs of most coves on the lake where cattails provide sufficient cover. Hunters are reminded to remain within the state for which they hold a hunting license and stamps while hunting from the water. The Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge is closed to waterfowl hunting and portions of the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge north of Castle Rock are also closed to waterfowl hunting.
Areas: Colorado River from Castle Rock south to the north basin of Lake Havasu provides the best waterfowl hunting. The backwaters with isolated areas of open water surrounded by cattails and other aquatic vegetation hold high numbers of migrating and resident waterfowl. Castle Rock Bay typically receives the highest hunting activity along the river. On the lake, the backs of coves with cover sufficient enough also hold resting waterfowl.
|Primary Game Species/ Hunting Month(s)|
|Secondary Game Species/Hunting Month(s)|
|Small Game, Predators||Various|
Average # permits in past 5 years
|Month||Avg. Temp||Avg. Rainfall|
|January||Max 67°/Min 45°||0.71"|
|February||Max 73°/Min 49°||0.13"|
|March||Max 80°/Min 53°||0.49"|
|April||Max 89°/Min 60°||0.05"|
|May||Max 98°/Min 70°||0.02"|
|June||Max 107°/Min 76°||0.0"|
|July||Max 112°/Min 84°||0.15"|
|August||Max 112°/Min 85°||0.16"|
|September||Max 105°/Min 78°||0.44"|
|October||Max 92°/Min 63°||0.01"|
|November||Max 76°/Min 51°||0.19"|
|December||Max 66°/Min 44°||0.31"|
Other Pertinent Climate Information
This is a very hot, dry unit. Average annual precipitation is only 2.67". Travelers are advised to carry a lot of water and to tell someone their travel plans in case they fail to return. Boaters sometimes encounter rough, windy conditions on Lake Havasu.
Cities, Roads & Campgrounds
Major Cities and Towns in or Near Game Management Unit and Nearest Gas, Food, and Lodging
Lake Havasu City, Parker, Needles, CA
Major Highways and Roads Leading To
From the East: State Hwy 72
From the West: I-40
From the North: I-40
From the South: State Hwy 95
Lake Havasu City manages Cattail Cove Campground on Lake Havasu.
Contact the Bureau of Land Management for information on camping on public lands throughout the unit.
Brief Description of Terrain, Elevation, and Vegetation
Terrain varies from relatively flat desert plains to rugged rocky slopes. Elevations range from 200' to 2100'. Vegetation is Sonoran desertscrub of the lower Colorado River Valley, primarily creosote, white bursage, ironwood, and foothill paloverde.
Government Agencies and Phone Numbers
Arizona Game and Fish Department, Region IV - 928-342-0091
Lake Havasu City Parks and Recreation - 928-453-8686
Bureau of Land Management - 928-505-1200
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bill Williams Refuge - 928-667-4144
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Havasu Refuge - 760-326-3853 (Needles, CA)