Game Management Unit 44B
Species within this unit:
Bighorn Sheep, Mule Deer, Dove, Quail
Beginning at Quartzite; south on U.S. Hwy 95 to the Crystal Hill road; east on this road to the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge; north and east along the refuge boundary to the Vicksburg-Kofa National Wildlife Refuge road; north on this road to AZ Hwy 72; northwest on AZ Hwy 72 to U.S. Hwy 95; south on U.S. Hwy 95 to Quartzite.
The area north and east of Quartzsite was annexed by the town but is still open to hunting as part of an agreement between the Town of Quartzsite and the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Overview: Unit 44B is divided into two units (north and south) for the Bighorn Sheep hunt.
In Unit 44B north, population surveys are conducted every three years, with the next survey planned for October 2010. Most of the sheep in this unit can be found between I-10 and the Plomosa Road, with a lot of herds concentrated in the greener areas following summer rains. The Plomosa Pass along I-10 is one of those areas that consistently catch plenty of summer rainfall and greens up earlier and for longer periods of time. The rams taken from this unit have average scores around 160 with several larger rams taken in recent years. Access for glassing is good off I-10 at Gold Nugget road and from Hwy 60 in Brenda.
The sheep herd in unit 44B south was last surveyed in fall of 2007, with another survey planned for October 2010. The population trend has been in decline since 1997, but rams taken over the past three years have been scoring well with an average of 163. And permit holders have reported seeing good numbers of class 2 and 3 rams. A good portion of the sheep habitat is within Wilderness, which restricts the use of mechanized vehicles. Glassing and hiking are the more productive way to hunt this area. The sheep hunt in this unit also includes those portions of 45 A & B (Kofa NWR) north of the El Paso Gas Line.
Overview: The deer population estimate for 44B has declined slightly in recent years. The population average is still holding around 250 animals. Winter rains have improved the range condition going into this summer and should help support the dispersed herds until the summer rains arrive. Trail cameras documented plenty of regular deer use on the waters with good numbers of bucks, does and fawns, during the summer of 2009 and into early October. Additional data will be collected in 2010.
For hunters who like to glass, look to the area south of I-10 and work the rolling hills between the interstate and Wilderness boundary.
Most of Unit 44B is public land managed by the BLM. Off highway travel is limited to existing roads, trails, and washes. The exception to this is the New Water Mountain Wilderness, which is closed to all motorized vehicles. Much of the area between Bouse, Brenda, and Vicksburg is a mixture of state trust land, BLM, and private property. Access should not generally be an issue but be sure to check land status before hunting in this area of the eastern portion of 44B.
Areas: North of the Plomosa road, which runs from Highway 95 just north of Quartzite east to the town of Bouse, a number of jeep trails parallel the mountains. At the north end of the Plomosas is a complex of sand dunes that most hunters overlook but which can hold a surprisingly large number of deer. South of the Plomosa road, a similar set of jeep trails can be found on either side of the mountains. On the East Side, in the area known as ram pasture, small groups of deer can be found in the low rolling hills between Ibex Peak and Boxcar. On the West Side, the washes make up the majority of the deer habitat.
Interstate 10 divides the remainder of the unit into north and south halves. There are several areas that can be accessed in the southern half. Southeast of Quartzite are two long-term camping areas called LTVA's. These LTVA's are heavily used in the wintertime, which pushes most deer into the nearby mountains. Outside the LTVA boundary, the BLM allows camping for up to 14 days in designated areas. Gold Nugget exit, south of Interstate 10, leads to the Apache wash. This area usually holds some deer but has also traditionally seen a lot of OHV traffic and some camping both by hunters and winter visitors.
Further east, between Black Mesa and the Vicksburg-Kofa road, the New Water Mountains can be accessed from several locations. Ramsey Mine road heads south from Hwy 60 and Brenda and leads to the central part of the northern wilderness boundary. From Interstate 10 near milepost 40, the New Water Mountain Road provides access to the New Water Mountains and the eastern side of the wilderness. The eastern boundary of the unit is accessed off the Vicksburg road which offers some small ATV trails to the west.
Overview: Both White wing and Mourning Dove can be found in this unit. White-wing tend to gather near areas with large seeds such as melon fields and wheat. Mourning Dove is more opportunistic and will feed on grain, seed, or whatever else is available. After the summer monsoons, dove can be widely dispersed across the desert with few areas of concentration, making hunting a bit of a challenge. Most local hunters focus on areas around towns and agriculture. Look for areas that offer edge habitat between food, shelter or roosting areas, and water. And pay attention to when flights begin. In some areas, dove do not begin flying in great numbers until later in the morning so be patient. Hunters are also reminded to clean up after themselves, including spent shotgun shells and boxes when done hunting.
There are some great junior hunting opportunities in the late afternoon especially around water. Look at stock tanks, or sloughs around agriculture for large concentrations of birds late in the day.
The Eurasian Collared Dove has become established throughout the area but is generally found near developed areas. Hunters should check current regulations to determine if there are any restrictions on the take of these birds.
Overview: The unit has one species of quail, the Gambel's quail. Local populations are dependent on winter rains. Quail are generally found up in the steep canyons in the New Water and Plomosa Mountain Ranges especially where some of the manmade potholes are located or in the larger densely vegetated washes. The majority of the unit is managed by the BLM with most of the unit accessible from existing roads, trails, and washes. The only exception is the New Water Mountain Wilderness that is closed to all motorized vehicles.
Areas: The northern part of the unit has the least numbers of permanent water sources. Jeep trails parallel either side of the Plomosas and cross numerous washes. Walking these washes may be productive. On the East Side of the Plomosa's some of the washes have natural potholes that may hold water from late summer rains. Bouse wash is the largest drainage in this part of the unit and flows from Hwy 60 near Brenda, through Bouse, and around the northern end of the Plomosas towards the Colorado River. Large, dense mesquite and palo-verdes in this wash can provide good cover for coveys.
South of the Plomosa road, a number of large washes flow from the inner areas of the mountains. Stop and listen where roads cross for calling quail. County road 42E, between Bouse and Brenda, has a number of livestock tanks and some thick patches of mesquite. Just keep in mind that there are a number of homes also scattered along this road. Don't shoot within a 1/4-mile of these structures and be sure to ask permission before hunting on private land.
The area south of Interstate 10 is almost completely BLM land. A number of jeep trails provide access to most of the unit. New Water Mountain Road, Ramsey Mine road, and Gold Nugget Wash are the three main access routes. Just outside of Quartzite, a couple of roads pass through the Long Term Visitor Areas and head east up into the Plomosas. Be aware that this area will increase in off-highway traffic as it gets closer to December and January and more winter visitors start migrating south.
|Primary Game Species/ Hunting Month(s)|
|Secondary Game Species/Hunting Month(s)|
Average # permits in past 5 years
|Month||Avg. Temp||Avg. Rainfall|
Cities, Roads & Campgrounds
Major Cities and Towns in or Near Game Management Unit and Nearest Gas, Food, and Lodging
Parker, Quartzsite, Brenda, Bouse, Blythe, CA
Major Highways and Roads Leading To
From the East: I-10, State Hwys 60, 72
From the West: I-10
From the North: State Hwy 95
From the South: I-10, State Hwy 95
Some privately owned facilities in Bouse, Brenda and Quartzite.
Long Term Visitor Areas, south of Quartzite, Contact Bureau of Land Management, Yuma Resource Area. Also available, no fee, 14-day limit camping throughout unit.
Brief Description of Terrain, Elevation, and Vegetation
Unit 44B is located on the transition zone between the Mohave and Sonoran deserts. Numerous jeep trails make for easy access to most parts of the unit. Elevations range from 850' in the flats to over 3,600' at Black Mesa. Palo Verde mesquite, cat-claw acacia and ironwood are primarily confined to the washes in the lower elevations, but are more evenly dispersed in the uplands of the New Water Mountains.
Government Agencies and Phone Numbers
Arizona Game and Fish Department, Region IV - 928-342-0091
BLM Yuma Resource Area - (928) 726-6300
Havasu Resource Area - (928) 855-8017
La Paz County Sheriff - 911 or (928) 669-6141