Hunt Guidelines and Hunt Recommendations Process

The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s current Hunt Guidelines are effective for the Fall 2023 through Spring 2028 Hunting Seasons.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department uses the Hunt Guidelines to create Hunt Recommendations where season dates, permit numbers, and open areas are established for all game species. Proposed Hunt Recommendations will be posted for public comment at least two weeks before they are reviewed and approved by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.
To comment on the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Hunt Guidelines or current proposed Hunt Recommendations, email

Hunt recommendations for fall 2024 and spring 2025 seasons will be presented to the Commission for consideration during its April 12 meeting in Buckeye, Ariz. AZ Hunt Recommendations – Fall 2024 and Spring 2025

Hunt Guidelines Overview

The Arizona Game and Fish Department follows a multi-tiered process for setting hunting season structures, hunting season dates, hunt permit allocations, and other controlling elements for regulating hunting of game animals.

AZ Hunt Guidelines for Fall 2023 through Spring 2028
Hunt Guidelines comments Jan 1-30 and AZGFD responses

the process

Hunt Guidelines – set every five years.
Survey & field data – hunter harvest reporting & game surveys collected annually.
Hunt Recommendations – occurs three times a year.
Commission Orders – approved by the Commission and published in the hunting regulations.

AZ Hunt Guidelines for Fall 2018 through Spring 2023

The Department’s big and small game programs are responsible for setting hunt guidelines, and their mission is to protect and manage game wildlife populations and their habitats to maintain the natural diversity of Arizona, and to provide game wildlife recreation opportunities for present and future generations. This is done by using science-based methods to assure wildlife is managed within the biological limits of each species. Management strategies are also developed to consider social acceptability and responsibilities.

Public involvement is critical for two reasons. In North America, wildlife is held in the public’s trust and belongs to all citizens, unlike in other countries where access is restricted by financial or social class. Law regulates hunting and that too is a public process – both are core principles of the North American Wildlife Conservation Model, founded by hunters and conservationists more than 100 years ago.

Guidelines and Recommendations Process Details

Information about how we form these guidelines.


It all starts with the Hunt Guidelines. Every five years, the department revises the guidelines for the Commission to approve. The public’s input is encouraged. The Hunt Guidelines provide the biological and social parameters that make up the “recipes” used by wildlife managers to formulate the annual hunt recommendations (season dates, permits allocated, etc.) in which sportsmen participate. The Commission approves the guidelines at its public meetings.

Guidelines process timeline & public involvement

Annual – Public outreach on hunt guidelines and hunt recommendations.

Anytime – Collect and compile comments from the public for the next hunt guidelines or hunt recommendation cycles.

Jan – Initiate hunt guidelines review process; Informal public input via news releases, website and publications.

Feb-May – Collect public input; Agency Review Team evaluates comments.

June – Present draft guidelines and potential changes via a webinar and public meetings across the state.

June – Commission provides direction on proposed guidelines.

July – Formal public comment on proposed hunt guidelines.

Late August – Release final proposed hunt guidelines for Commission and public review.

September – Final proposed hunt guidelines presented to the Commission for adoption at its public meeting.
– Public input accepted via blue slips
– Commission approved hunt guidelines posted on Department website

Hunt recommendations

With the guidelines in place, and survey data in hand, wildlife managers and game specialists propose the permit allocations on a unit-by-unit basis resulting in the proposed Hunt Recommendations. After the public comment period and once approved by the Commission, the recommendations are incorporated into the hunting regulations. Hunt recommendations are now approved for two years. The commission has the ability to amend hunts prior to the second year, if they determine it is necessary. The hunting regulations contain all the information needed for applying for a hunt permit-tag through the draw, what hunts are over-the-counter nonpermit-tags, open areas and season dates, and youth hunting opportunities.

Hunt recommendation process timeline & public involvement

The hunt recommendations process now occurs during two cycles every two years. The approved hunts are then published in the three hunting regulation booklets – The main Arizona Hunting Regulations in June, Spring turkey, javelina, bison and bear supplement in September, and the pronghorn, elk and fall turkey supplement in January – February.

Once annually, the Department will host a webinar and public outreach to solicit input on game species management, all hunt recommendations and hunt guidelines.

Want to Go Hunting in Arizona?

Find ways to experience big game and small game hunting or find a mentored hunt camp.

buy your hunting license

Arizona residents and non-residents 10 years and older need a valid hunting license to hunt in Arizona.

buy now

find a mentored hunt camp

The award-winning Outdoor Skills Network is your source for public, hands-on, “learn how to hunt” events.

view the outdoor skills page

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