Game Management Unit 5B
Species within this unit:
Antelope, Black Bear, Elk, Merriam’s Turkey, Mountain Lion, Mule Deer, Bison, Whitetail Deer and Waterfowl.
Landowner Compact Program
The Bar T Bar, Flying M, and Hopi Hart Ranch are all enrolled in the Landowner Compact Program. Each ranch allows access and has their own set of ranch rules. To get a free access permit for Flying M and Bar T Bar visit https://www.azgfd.com/landowner-compact/. Please make sure to read and understand the rules for the ranch you will be hunting. To gain access to the Hopi Hart Ranch you can contact the Hopi Tribe Wildlife and Ecosystems Management Program by email at email@example.com or by calling (928)734-3673, (928)734-3672 or (928)734-3671 Monday-Friday 8am-5p (MST).
Raymond Wildlife Area, located in Game Management Unit 5B, is closed to public access from May 1 until July 29. This annual closure allows the Raymond bison herd to calve undisturbed. Bison become very skittish while calving and protective of young calves. The department apologizes for any inconvenience and encourages the public to visit Raymond Wildlife Area other times of the year to see bison or scout for fall hunts.
USFS Travel Management Rule
The Coconino National Forest has implemented new travel management rules resulting in changes to motor vehicle access on national forest lands. These changes include motorized big game retrieval, road closures and camping restrictions. The Travel Management Rule only allows motorized use on designated roads, trails and areas as identified on a Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM). These maps are available for free at Forest Service offices. Because of the Forest rule changes, motorized retrieval of wildlife, including all big game species, is not permitted on national forest lands in Game Management Unit 5B. For further information regarding the Travel Management Rule, please contact the Coconino National Forest.
Beginning at Lake Mary-Clint’s Well road (FH3) and the south rim of Walnut Canyon (mp 337.5 on FH3); southeasterly on FH3 to AZ Hwy 87; northeasterly on AZ Hwy 87 to FR 69; westerly and northerly on FR 69 to I-40 (Exit 233); west on I-40 to the bottom of Walnut Canyon (mp 210.2 on I-40); southwesterly along Walnut Canyon to Walnut Canyon National Monument; southwesterly along the northern boundary of the Walnut Canyon National Monument to the south rim of Walnut Canyon; southwesterly along the south rim of Walnut Canyon to FH 3.
5B South Hunt Unit – That portion of Unit 5B located south of the following roads: Beginning at the junction of FH 3 (Lake Mary/ Clint’s Well Road) and FR 125; east on FR 125 to FR 82; south on FR 82 to FR 69B; east on FR 69B to FR 69.
5B North Hunt Unit – That portion of Unit 5B located north of the following roads: Beginning at the junction of FH 3 (Lake Mary/ Clint’s Well Road) and FR 125; east on FR 125 to FR 82; south on FR 82 to FR 69B; east on FR 69B to FR 69.
Twin Arrows, Two Guns, Grapevine, Diablo Combined Hunt Area in Unit 5B North – That portion of 5BN beginning at the junction of FR 69 and the rim of Anderson Mesa (at Chavez Pass); northwest along the rim of Anderson Mesa to FR 125; north along FR 125 to FR 126; northwest on FR 126 (Twin Arrows road) to I-40; east along I-40 to the Meteor Crater road; south along the Meteor Crater road to FR 69 (Chavez Pass road); south along FR 69 back to the Anderson Rim (at Chavez Pass).
Raymond Wildlife Area – RWA
Raymond Wildlife Area Rules
Please obey the posted rules to reduce disturbance to the bison herd.
- All terrain and utility type vehicle use is prohibited on Raymond Wildlife Area (this includes ATV’s, UTV’s, and 3-wheelers)
- Travel is permitted on existing roads only. Roads marked with a red sign are closed to public access. Only roads marked with a green sign post are open to access.
- Any off road travel is prohibited except for big game retrieval (cannot be done with any type of OHV)
- Some roads will be closed during wet and muddy conditions.
Overview: Antelope can be found in any open grassland area of Unit 5B and areas that are moderately forested. The population is divided between Anderson Mesa and the lower country between the Mesa and I-40. During hunting season, most of the population will be on Anderson Mesa. . The antelope population decline that took place in the early 2000’s has reversed itself in the last several years and the population in 5B appears to be stable with good recruitment. For the foreseeable future permits should be relatively stable.
Areas: Antelope can be found on Anderson Mesa from Vail Lake south to Long Lake, Melatone Mesa and Duke Tank Mesa near Jack’s Canyon. There are many large and small open areas within this area and though pronghorn aren’t always in every one of these areas they do use them all at some point. The area between Kinnikinick Lake and Ashurst Lake is the most well-known habitat in the unit, but gets the most hunting pressure and often has the lowest buck to doe ratio on the Mesa. While a little more difficult to hunt, it is advisable for hunters to at least scout the areas south of the Sawmill Hills, the area between Willow Valley Dam and Tremaine Lake and south of Yaeger Lake. At lower elevations, antelope are found throughout the grassland between the Winona and Meteor Crater roads (including the Hopi Hart , Flying M and Bar T Bar Ranches). In recent years pronghorn have increased their use in the area burned by the Jacket Fire which is located between the power lines near Winona and Twin Arrows Road.
Whether a person chooses to hunt the Mesa or the low country they should focus on areas that receive good monsoon precipitation. These areas will have significant green up and more water available. The pronghorn will seek them out and spend most of their time there. Scouting just a week or two before the hunt will allow the hunter to locate these areas better than early scouting.
Overview: The current fall hunt structure for Unit 5B black bears consist of one general firearms hunt starting in early October. This hunt season has non-permit tags that can be purchased over the counter.
Areas: In the fall, bears are frequently found in or near Gambel Oak thickets when acorns are available. In 5B North, hunters should concentrate on the canyons coming off of the North and East sides of Anderson Mesa. These include, but aren’t limited to, Walnut, Cherry, Mormon, Padre, Grapevine and Diablo. In 5B South look around Jack’s Canyon and the Hutch Mountain area.
Special Regulations: Legal animals include any bear, except a sow with cubs. This restriction requires hunters to study located animals prior to harvesting them, and establish that cubs are not nearby and simply out of sight. Studying bears prior to the kill allows hunters to select for mature animals.
Female harvest limits are in place in Unit 5B, and may vary annually. The female harvest limit is also affected by female bears destroyed by the Department by policy because of human-wildlife conflicts. Hunters are responsible for calling 1-800-970-BEAR to determine if Unit 5B, or any other desired hunt unit, is still open. Bear hunt seasons in Unit 5B will close on the Wednesday immediately following a completed female harvest limit.
All hunters must contact an Arizona Game and Fish Department office in person or by telephone at 1-800-970-BEAR (2327) within 48 hours of taking a bear. The report shall include the hunter’s name, hunting license number, tag number, sex of the bear taken, management unit where the bear was taken, and telephone number at which the hunter can be reached to obtain additional information. Within 10 days of taking a bear, the hunter shall present the bear’s skull, hide, and attached proof of sex for inspection. If a hunter freezes the skull or hide before presenting it for inspection, the hunter shall prop the jaw open to allow access to the teeth and ensure that the attached proof of sex is identifiable and accessible. A premolar tooth will be removed during the inspection. Successful hunters are encouraged to contact the nearest Department office by telephone to coordinate inspections.
About 5B Elk
- The elk herd was historically more dense in 5B south than in 5B north and there used to be a higher bull: cow ratio in 5B north, but that is no longer the case as the elk populations and bull:cow ratio seems to be fairly equal across the north and south.
- There are more elk staying year round in the low elevations below the mesa and south of I-40.
- Generally speaking there are bigger bulls in 5B north than 5B south although some of the large 5B north bulls will move into 5B south for the rut and be available to archers.
- Every inch of 5B south is elk country so generally there are no “bad” spots.
- Elk use open grasslands and sparsely forested areas more than most people think, and since these areas usually have fewer roads it is much easier to escape hunting pressure in these areas.
Overview: Elk can be found throughout the entire unit. An increasing number of resident elk persist in traditional winter range, which is mostly on state trust and private lands. These lands are not public land, but they are open to hunting. Concern over the forage base (from elk residing year-round) and hunter distribution, led to the creation of the Twin Arrows, Two Guns, Grapevine, and Diablo Combined Hunt Area in Unit 5B North.This allowed AZGFD to increase hunting pressure on the resident elk population in this area. Hunters need to pay close attention and be knowledgeable of their hunt unit boundary during each hunt. Three large private ranches occur on the winter range: the Flying M, Bar T Bar and Hopi Hart Ranch. Please be respectful of these landowners. Close gates, stay on roads and pack out all of your trash.
The elk population in 5B is healthy and is currently being managed for the current forage conditions to prevent habitat damage and minimize competition with other species.
After opening morning of a rifle season it will become more difficult to find elk out in the open areas on Anderson Mesa.. Travel corridors to and from feeding areas are a good place to look after opening day. Elk will still use the open grasslands but primarily at night. Being on a travel route to and from a bedding area in the morning or evening is a good strategy Look for trails that connect a mountain or canyon bedding area to a feeding area. The area above and below the Anderson Mesa rim from Chavez Pass to Walnut Canyon has numerous well used travel corridors.
Early Seasons: Elk will be found throughout Anderson Mesa. As noted above they will not likely be in the wide open areas for very long after daylight. Look around the rim of Anderson Mesa. If water is a critical factor elk will likely be found within a mile of standing water both early and late in the day. Some areas to check out include the stretch from Jaycox Mountain to Kinnikinick Lake, Ashurst Run, and the area between Ashurst Lake and Marshall Lake. There are also good numbers of elk below Anderson Mesa. Elk tend to concentrate around the canyons on the east side of the mesa. Elk can be found anywhere from Walnut Canyon on the north side to Diablo Canyon in the south. Elk can also be found south of I40 between Winona and Padre Canyon.
Late Seasons: Elk locations don’t change a lot during the hunting season unless there is significant snowfall on Anderson Mesa. If the mesa has a fair amount of snow on it then most elk will move to lower elevations. If there is little to no snow then all of the above mentioned areas will still be viable places to hunt. The possible exception would be for mature bulls. After the rut many of the older age class bulls will move to lower elevations whether there is snow or not. The canyons on the north and east side of Anderson Mesa are a good place to find bulls. In the late season one can expect to find spikes or raghorn bulls still running with the cows but the mature bulls will be by themselves or in bachelor herds. Generally one should look for rugged country with few roads and very little disturbance.
This unit is about half the size of 5B north but the elk population is almost double.. There is no part of the unit that is not elk habitat and elk can be found just about everywhere. 5B south consists primarily of national forest land but there are a few residential areas in the unit. Hunters should be aware of the locations of these developed areas and be cautious not to trespass on private property and not to shoot within ¼ mile of an occupied structure.
The early season hunter has numerous options. Since elk can be found throughout the unit the hunter only has to decide how many people they want to deal with. Most hunters will be in the vicinity of Hutch Mountain, Pine Mountain and Duke Tank Mesa. Those looking to get away from others should look at areas without a popular name on the map. In areas of high road density the elk will tend to stay away from roads during daylight hours. In areas with high hunting pressure elk will often get “pushed around” and by sitting on or near an “escape” trail a person can let others push the elk to them.
As with 5B north it takes a lot of snow to get elk to move to lower ground. A couple of inches of snow in the high country will not mean that all of the elk have moved out. Snow will only make them easier to track. For antlerless elk all of the areas mentioned above will have elk. While bulls can be found throughout the unit during the late season the best places to look are going to be those that offer security. Look for areas with low road density such as the area between the Sawmill Hills and Tremaine Lake. This area is also the lowest elevation of 5B south and may serve as a “staging” area between summer and winter range. Within these areas bulls will tend to gravitate toward canyons or hills as bedding and cover areas.
Special Note: The Hay Lake property is now in public ownership and is open to hunting. However, a vehicle closure for the area is in effect and there is no vehicular retrieval of game.
Areas: Mountain lion can be found throughout the unit however, they will concentrate mostly in and along the rougher canyons, rims and mountains of the unit. 5B has a moderate but healthy lion population. The eastern rim of Anderson Mesa and the canyons extending north offer the best lion habitat. Some of the better canyons include Padre, Mormon, Cherry, Kinnickinick, Grapevine, Diablo, Anderson and Jacks Canyons.
*Note: The mountain lion hunting regulations have changed as of 2018. Starting in 2018 the Department has implemented annual harvest limits for mountain lions and GMU 5B falls within zone “G”. Refer to the regulations for more details.
Lion hunters should be familiar with the following laws and regulations prior to going lion hunting. All hunters must contact an Arizona Game and Fish Department office in person or by telephone at 1-877-438-0447 within 48 hours of taking a lion. The report shall include the hunter’s name, hunting license number, tag number, sex of the lion taken, management unit where the lion was taken, and telephone number at which the hunter can be reached to obtain additional information. Within 10 days of taking a lion, the hunter shall present the lion’s skull, hide, and attached proof of sex for inspection. If a hunter freezes the skull or hide before presenting it for inspection, the hunter shall prop the jaw open to allow access to the teeth and ensure that the attached proof of sex is identifiable and accessible. A premolar tooth will be removed during the inspection. Successful hunters are encouraged to contact the nearest Department office by telephone to coordinate inspections. Legal lion is any lion except spotted kittens or females accompanied by spotted kittens.
• Hunters are responsible for calling 1-877-438-0447 before hunting to determine if their desired hunt unit is still open.
• MANDATORY REPORTING (R12-4-308): All hunters must contact an Arizona Game and Fish Department office in person or by telephone at 1-877-438-0447 within 48 hours of taking a mountain lion. The report shall include the hunter’s name, hunting license number, tag number, sex of the mountain lion taken, management unit where the mountain lion was taken, and telephone number at which the hunter can be reached to obtain additional information.
• MANDATORY PHYSICAL INSPECTION (R12-4-308): Within 10 days of taking a mountain lion, the hunter (or their designee) shall present the mountain lion’s skull and hide with attached proof of sex to a designated Arizona Game and Fish Department employee for inspection. If the skull is frozen, it should be defrosted prior to presenting for inspection as a premolar tooth will be removed from the mountain lion. If the hide is frozen, ensure that the attached proof of sex is accessible and identifiable. Successful hunters are encouraged to contact the nearest Department office by telephone to coordinate inspections.
• The harvest threshold for each zone is a total harvest threshold. There is not a specific annual female harvest threshold. The percent of adult females in the annual harvest by management zone will be one of several factors monitored to determine if harvest thresholds should be adjusted. If the 3-year average adult female harvest comprises greater than 25% of the total harvest for a management zone, the harvest threshold may be reduced for that management zone. The 3-year average will be evaluated annually. Additionally, the proportion of all females in the harvest, total management zone harvest, and trend in annual population estimates parameters will be monitored and used to guide harvest thresholds.
• In accordance with R12-4-305(H), an individual may retain the carcass of a mountain lion taken under ARS 17-302 when the season is closed by attaching their mountain lion nonpermit-tag and following the harvest check in procedures.
Overview: The mule deer population in 5B seems to be stable.. Most bucks that hunters see will be young but there are mature bucks scattered throughout the unit. A deer’s forage is more specific than elk so hunters should familiarize themselves with deer biology to determine if the area they are scouting is good deer habitat. The best habitat types to find deer in include mixed conifer and pine/oak woodlands. Mature bucks seem to hang out in areas dominated by junipers that have browse species nearby.
Some good deer densities can still be found around the Hutch Mountain from approximately the 125 (Kinnikinick Lake) Road down to Bargaman Park. Other areas to check include the fringes of the Jacket Fire between Winona Road and Twin Arrows roads, the vicinity of Long Lake, and the western fringes of Anderson Mesa along the Lake Mary Road corridor. Areas with cliff rose and a good water source will likely have deer nearby.
There is a small population of coues whitetail deer in 5B. . They are primarily located in and around Walnut Canyon, Cherry Canyon and Jacks Canyon.
Overview: Unit 5B has a moderate turkey population concentrated mostly in 5B south. Hunters trying to locate turkeys in 5B should make themselves familiar with what makes good turkey habitat and seek that out. Turkeys can be found just about anywhere where there is a hill, ridge or canyon with mature ponderosa pines and good cover and forage nearby. The small patches of mixed conifer within the unit are also good areas to find turkeys.
Areas: In 5B north the hunter is limited to the northern and northeastern rim of Anderson Mesa. Good places to find turkeys are the areas around Marshall Lake and Walnut Canyon down to Mormon Canyon. In 5B south the western portion of the unit from the 124 road all of the way down to Hwy 87 is turkey country. The Hutch Mountain complex and Pine Mountain are good choices as are the canyons and ridges in the southern portion of the unit.
Anderson Mesa has numerous small lakes spread across it that can hold water during the waterfowl season. Following a good winter most of the lakes will hold water and therefore will hold ducks. There are very few resident ducks on 5B waters so the hunter will primarily find migratory birds. The availability of birds is dependent upon weather in more northern states. Some lakes to look at include Marshall Lake, Vail Lake, Horse Lake, Tremaine Lake and Long Lake. Jump shooting can also be productive and there are several smaller lakes and stock ponds that lend themselves well to this technique.
|Primary Game Species/ Hunting Month(s)|
|Elk||September to December|
|Deer (Mule & White-tailed)||August, October/November|
|Secondary Game Species/ Hunting Month(s)|
|Average # permits in past 5 years|
|Elk||2500 (all hunts)|
|Deer (Mule & White-tailed)||415 (combined 5A & 5B)|
|Antelope||22 Rifle, 10 Archery|
|Month||Avg. Temp||Avg. Rainfall||Avg. Snowfall|
|January||Max 42°/Min 15°||2.04″||20.5″|
|February||Max 45°/Min 18°||2.09″||19.0″|
|March||Max 49°/Min 21°||2.55″||24.4″|
|April||Max 58°/Min 27°||1.48″||11.9″|
|May||Max 67°/Min 33°||0.72″||1.9″|
|June||Max 78°/Min 41°||0.40″||0.0″|
|July||Max 82°/Min 50°||2.78″||0.0″|
|August||Max 79°/Min 49°||2.75″||0.0″|
|September||Max 73°/Min 41°||2.03″||0.1″|
|October||Max 63°/Min 31°||1.61″||2.5″|
|November||Max 51°/Min 22°||1.95″||10.7″|
|December||Max 43°/Min 16°||2.40″||17.8″|
Other Pertinent Climate Information
Average annual precipitation is almost 23 inches.
Cities, Roads & Campgrounds
Major Cities and Towns in or Near Game Management Unit and Nearest Gas, Food, and Lodging
Flagstaff, Clints Well
Major Highways and Roads Leading To
From the East: State Hwy 87, Meteor Crater Rd
From the West: Forest Hwy 3
From the North: I-40
From the South: State Hwy 87, Forest Hwy 3
Lakeview Campground at Lake Mary and Ashurst Campground at Ashurst Lake, both administered by the Forest Service.
Kinnickinick Lake Campground and Long Lake Campground, both administered by the Forest Service.
Brief Description of Terrain, Elevation, and Vegetation
South and east portions of unit are higher elevation, reaching approximately 7,000′, with ponderosa pine forest and scattered grasslands-summer range. The north portions are lower elevation at approximately 5,000′, with grasslands and pinyon-juniper woodlands.
Government Agencies and Phone Numbers
Arizona Game and Fish Department, Region II – 928-774-5045
Coconino National Forest, Flagstaff – 928-527-3600
Walnut Canyon National Monument – 928-526-3367