Game Management Unit 24B
Species within this unit:
Black Bear, Javelina, Mule Deer, White-tailed Deer, Dove, Quail
Note that the boundary for Unit 24B has changed due to the creation of new Metro Units (25M and 26M).
Beginning on U.S. Hwy 60 in Superior; northeasterly on U.S. Hwy 60 to AZ Hwy 188; northerly on AZ Hwys 188 and 288 to the Salt River; westerly along the Salt River to the Tonto National Forest boundary near Granite Reef Dam; southeasterly along the Forest boundary to Forest Route 77 (Peralta Rd.); southwesterly on Forest Route 77 (Peralta Rd) to U.S. Hwy 60; easterly on U.S. Hwy 60 to Superior.
Overview: The upper elevations of central and eastern Unit 24B contain low to medium densities of black bears. These areas typically consist of oak or conifer woodlands mixed with chaparral, and are often located in rugged or mountainous terrain. Moist, cool canyons are a very important component for bear habitat in 24B. These provide good cover, food, and travel ways for the bears. A large part of the bear habitat is within the Superstition Wilderness. Since bear numbers tend to be low in the unit, a short hunting season and a one female harvest objective are in place. For Bear season dates refer to the current Arizona Hunting and Trapping Regulations for season dates, bag limits and other rules.Even at 5,000 feet or above, temperatures can still be hot in 24B.
Areas: The upper drainage systems of Campaign Creek, Pine Creek, and West Fork of Pinto Creek contain bear habitat. These areas are located within the Wilderness. Outside of the Wilderness, the country west and northeast of the Pinto Valley Mine also has a few bears.
Overview: Javelina occur throughout most of Unit 24B. They can be found on the lower desert flats all the way up to the oaks and pines of the higher elevations of the unit. They are most easily hunted in the intermediate desert and grassland habitats. In these areas the terrain tends to be fairly open, and numerous ridges and canyons provide excellent glassing opportunities. As far as numbers of javelina are concerned, Unit 24B is considered to have a population in the medium range. Since javelina are herd animals, this simply means that herd sizes within the unit tend to be of medium size. The average size for javelina herds in 24B is about eight animals.
The majority of 24B javelina habitat is on public land – either the Tonto National Forest or State Trust Land. Written permission (i.e. a permit) is required to be on state land, but if you are legally hunting, your hunting license is considered to be your permit. Private lands exist around the mining areas of Globe and Pinto Valley. The lands are usually posted as to whether or not hunting is allowed. The Superstition Wilderness comprises about one-third of the unit. The Wilderness is closed to all vehicular and mechanized travel, but it is open to hunting. The Tonto National Monument near Roosevelt Lake is closed to all hunting. A Tonto National Forest map will help to identify roads and trails, as well as land ownership topographical maps will provide information about the terrain.
Areas: Some of the more popular areas to hunt are listed below. While they may be of a general description, they can provide you with a place to start looking for javelina.
State Trust Land: This area is located in the southwest portion of the unit and is characterized by fairly level terrain consisting of Sonoran desert scrub. There are many roads within this area, and major access points are the Camino Viejo, and Queen Valley Road. There are several herds of javelina in this portion of 24B, but the relatively flat land makes it difficult to locate the herds. If you hunt in this part of the unit, concentrate on the major washes and drainages. These areas will provide good cover for javelina, and their tracks will be easier to find.
Queen Valley to Superior: Located in the south-central portion of the unit, this area varies in terrain from rolling desert ridges to steep mountains and canyons. A variety of habitat types also occur here, including upper Sonoran desert, desert grassland, and chaparral. This area provides good opportunities for glassing with binoculars, and several roads provide for good access throughout much of this area. Popular access routes to hunting areas include the Hewitt Canyon/JF Ranch (FS 172), Happy Camp (FS 650), and Silver King (FS 229) Roads. There are many other roads which branch off these main access routes.
Globe Vicinity: Northwest of Globe, Devore Wash (FS 344) and Gerald Wash (FS 225) provide access into country with javelina. Southwest of Globe, the Pinto Valley area also contains javelina habitat. Access is through the Pinto Valley Mine, which can be confusing. Routes through the mine continually change, but they are usually marked for public access.
Apache Trail: There are a few roads off the Apache Trail between Apache Junction and Globe that provide access for javelina hunting. These include the Horse Mesa Dam Road (FS 80), Tortilla Ranch Road (FS 213), Reavis Trailhead Road (FS 212), Davis Wash, and Two Bar Road (FS 49). Campsites tend to be limited along these routes, but developed campsites are located at Tortilla Flat and Burnt Corral (at Apache Lake).
Roosevelt Lake: Located along the northwest portion of the unit, this area can be accessed from Highway 88. Popular hunting spots near Roosevelt include Two Bar Ridge (FS 83) and Campaign Creek (FS 449). These areas are comprised of a variety of habitat types, ranging from flatlands and rolling country to steep mountains, all of which contain javelina herds.
Goldfield Mountains: This is the western-most portion of the unit and is located west of the Apache Trail and north of Saguaro Lake and the Salt River. It is comprised mostly of rugged, mountainous terrain of volcanic origin. There are several small valleys or basins that contain javelina and are not too difficult to hunt. Javelina can also be found in the more rugged areas as well, but the terrain can be tough to negotiate in many areas. Access into the Goldfields is rather limited. Most roads have locked gates that require a permit from the Tonto National Forest. Permits are free and can be obtained from the Mesa Ranger District. Combinations to the gates are provided with the permits.
Superstition Wilderness: Don't overlook hunting in the Wilderness area. It has a well –developed trail system that can take you into the backcountry - far away from roads and vehicles. Popular trailheads are located at First Water, Peralta, and Reavis (near Apache Lake).
Overview: Mule deer can be found throughout much of Unit 24B in areas that are generally below 4,500 feet in elevation. Such areas tend to provide the more open habitats that mule deer prefer. Typical mule deer habitat in 24B includes desert scrub in the peripheral portions of the unit, as well as the higher desert and grassland vegetation found within the mountainous interior portions of the unit. Due to the variety of habitat types found in Unit 24B, it is common for mule deer and whitetail deer to be found in the same areas. This requires careful identification by hunters.
Unit 24B is one of many units that experienced a decline in mule deer numbers over the past twenty years due to inconsistent rainfall patterns. Permit numbers for 24B mule deer reached an all-time low in recent years. During the mid 1980s permit numbers were as high as 2,000. For the 2010 season 550 permits are being offered, which is actually a slight increase from recent years. Despite the lower numbers of permits, there are still some nice mule deer bucks to be found, but pre-season scouting will be very important since deer densities are lower. Check for water sources such as springs, pools in drainages, stock tanks, and livestock troughs. Water has been fairly abundant this year due to widespread summer rains. Scouting for water prior to the hunt will still be important, since small, localized sources may disappear during the normally dry season during October and early November.
The majority of Unit 24B is public land – either Tonto National Forest or State Trust Land. Written permission (i.e. a permit) is required to be on State Trust Land, but if you are legally hunting, your hunting license is considered to be your permit. Large amounts of private land exist near Globe and also around the Pinto Valley Mine. These lands are generally posted as to whether or not hunting is allowed. About one-third of 24B is comprised of the Superstition Wilderness which is located centrally within the unit. The Wilderness is closed to all vehicular or mechanized travel, but it is open to hunting. The Tonto National Monument near Roosevelt Lake is closed to all hunting. A good set of maps will prove very useful while scouting or hunting. A Tonto National Forest map will help to identify roads as well as land ownership, and topographical maps will provide information about the terrain.
Areas: Some of the more popular hunting areas are listed below. They can provide you with a place to start if you are not familiar with the unit.
State Trust Land: This area is located in the southwest portion of the unit and is characterized by fairly flat terrain consisting Sonoran desert scrub. There are many roads within this area, and major access points are the Camino Viejo and Queen Valley Roads. Deer can be difficult to locate out in these flats, but some large mule deer bucks have been taken over the years in this area.
Queen Valley to Superior: Located in the south-central portion of the unit, this area consists of mountainous desert habitat types with considerable changes in elevation. This area provides good opportunities for glassing with binoculars. Popular access routes to hunting areas include the Hewitt Canyon/JF Ranch (FS 172), Happy Camp (FS 650), and Silver King (FS 229) Roads. There are many other roads which branch off these main access routes.
Goldfield Mountains: This is the western-most portion of the unit and is located west of the Apache Trail (Highway 88) and south of Saguaro Lake and the Salt River. It is comprised mostly of rugged, mountainous terrain of volcanic origin. There are several small valleys or basins where mule deer occur, however their numbers are fairly low. Mule deer can also be found on the mountains themselves, but the terrain is very rough. Access into the Goldfields is rather limited. Most of the access roads have locked gates that require a permit from the Tonto National Forest. Permits are free and can be obtained from the Mesa Ranger District. Combinations to the gates are provided with the permits.
Apache Trail: There are a few roads off the Apache Trail between Apache Junction and Roosevelt Lake that provide access to mule deer hunting. These include the Horse Mesa Dam Road (FS 80), Tortilla Ranch Road (FS 213), Reavis Ranch Trailhead Road (FS 212), Davis Wash, Pine Creek, and Two-Bar Road (FS 49). Campsites tend to very limited along these roads, but developed campgrounds are located at Tortilla Flat and Burnt Corral (at Apache Lake). Roosevelt Lake: Located along the northeast portion of the unit, this area can be accessed from Highway 88. Popular hunting spots near Roosevelt Lake include Two Bar Ridge (FS 83) and Campaign Creek (FS 449). These areas are comprised of a variety of habitat types, ranging from flatlands and rolling country to steep mountains. Don't overlook the flatlands. While they may be difficult to glass and hunt, they do contain decent numbers of deer, including some very nice bucks.
Globe Vicinity: Northwest of Globe, Devore Wash (FS 344) and Gerald Wash (FS 225) provide access into mule deer county. Southwest of Globe, the Pinto Valley area also contains mule deer habitat. Access is through the Pinto Valley Mine, which can be very confusing. Routes through the mine continually change, but they are usually marked for public access.
Overview: Whitetail deer may be found throughout much of Unit 24B. A general rule of thumb is that they occur in brushier habitats above 3,500 feet in the unit. However, whitetail have been showing up in the past few years at elevations of about 2,500 feet in what would usually be considered as mule deer habitat. The more typical whitetail habitat is located from the central to the eastern portion of the unit, and is comprised of chaparral, oak woodland, and conifers. Whitetail are also found on most of the mountain ranges in the western portion of the unit as well. These habitats are primarily high desert or chaparral and may also contain mule deer.
Whitetail in 24B were not as severely affected by the recent long-term drought conditions as mule deer. Permit numbers for whitetail have remained relatively stable for the past ten years. There are a total of 790 whitetail permits for the 2010 seasons.
Practically all whitetail habitat in 24B is located on public lands of the Tonto National Forest. A small amount of whitetail habitat is on private land owned by mines near Globe and Pinto Valley. These lands are usually posted as to whether or not hunting is allowed. A large portion of whitetail habitat is within the Superstition Wilderness. The Wilderness is closed to all vehicular or mechanized travel, but it is open to hunting. The Tonto National Monument near Roosevelt Lake is closed to all hunting. A Tonto National Forest map will help to identify roads, boundaries, and land ownership. Topographical maps will provide information about the terrain.
Areas: Some of the more popular whitetail hunting areas are listed below. If you are not familiar with the unit, these may provide you with a place to start.
Superior: North of the town of Superior you will find extensive whitetail habitat around Iron Mountain (FS 172), Montana Mountain (FS 650), and Fortuna Peak (FS 342). Expect to encounter other vehicles along the way, but don't let that discourage you – there is plenty of room to hunt away from the roads. Portions of the Fortuna Peak area were burned due to a lightning-caused fire during the summer in 2005. Isolated patches of habitat remain untouched in some of the drainages, and forage has returned in the burned areas. If you plan to hunt this area, it would be especially important to do some pre-season scouting to determine habitat conditions and deer activity.
Globe: In the Globe vicinity, Pinto Valley provides access into whitetail country. You must drive through the Pinto Valley Mine, which can be very confusing at times. Routes through the mine change continually, but they are usually marked for public access. North of Globe, the area around Webster Mountain has whitetail habitat also.
Roosevelt Lake: South of Roosevelt Lake good whitetail habitat may be found in the areas of Two Bar Ridge (FS 83) and Campaign Creek (FS 449).
Reminder: Whitetail can be found throughout the unit. The locations listed above are simply larger areas of whitetail habitat. If you already know how to look for whitetail, take some time to explore other parts of the unit, and you will discover pockets of whitetail habitat just about anywhere that is above 3,000 to 3,500 feet in elevation. Also consider backpacking or going horseback into the Wilderness. December can be a great time for a pack-in hunt in 24B.
Overview: Since there are no agricultural areas in Unit 24B, most dove hunting in this unit takes place around desert stock tanks. This has its advantages and disadvantages as far as hunting is concerned. The obvious disadvantage is that you will not encounter the number of doves that are found in some of the agricultural areas. The advantage is you won't have to get up quite as early in the morning to hunt. Doves typically leave the roost a little before sunrise and fly out to feeding areas. After feeding, they fly to water sources before resting during the mid-day. In desert habitats, a common practice is to locate one or more stock tanks (or other water sources), and wait there for the doves to come in for a drink. Activity around these desert waters usually picks up about an hour or two after sunrise – in some locations it may be as late as two-and-a half hours after sunrise before the hunting gets good. In the afternoon, doves will again visit these water sources prior to roosting. This activity usually takes place just before sunset. Another hunting method is to locate local flyways that are used by doves during the morning or afternoon flights. Look for doves following major washes or crossing over ridgelines.
Most of 24B is located on public land – either the Tonto National Forest or Arizona State Trust Land. Written permission (a permit) is required to be on state land. If you are legally hunting, your hunting license allows you to be on state land.
Areas: Doves can be found throughout most desert areas of the unit. If you are looking for a place to try some desert hunting, start with the State Trust Land in the southwestern part of the unit between Apache Junction and Queen Valley. This area is relatively flat, has good access, and there are several water sources to attract doves. The lower desert between Queen Valley and Superior would also be another area to look for hunting spots. Located on the Tonto National Forest, it also has several roads and is well watered.
Reminder: During the 2010 September dove season, hunters will once again be allowed to hunt all day. Legal shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. During the later hunt, which usually opens in November, legal shooting hours are also one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. Practice good sportsmanship and hunting ethics while in the field. Observe areas that are posted, hunt away from roads, corrals, and livestock. Pick up all litter – this includes empty shotgun shells and piles of feathers.
Overview: The outlook for the 2010/2011 quail season in Unit 24B is probably in the average to above average range. Ample winter rains between January and March of last year provided the necessary green-up that is required for good quail reproduction. It is this type of feed that influences breeding behavior and clutch size for quail. Simply put, the more winter rain there is, the more birds there will be the following fall, and conversely, the less rain, the fewer quail. There appears to be a number of birds that have nested later. Both hatchlings and larger juvenile birds have been observed as late as mid-August. This summer’s monsoons have provided good cover in many areas, which may help both the quail and quail hunters.
Gambel's quail are the only species of quail that are hunted in 24B. They are found throughout the unit primarily at elevations below 5,000 feet. In the lower desert areas, look for quail along mesquite-lined washes or arroyos. Another desert plant species that indicates good quail habitat is the desert hackberry. In the mid-elevation areas of the higher desert or grasslands, cover is again important. Concentrate on hunting around drainages that have mature vegetation. Quail also occur in the higher oak or juniper portions of the unit, but the larger trees and thicker vegetation make for difficult hunting conditions.
Cholla is very common throughout much of the lower desert in 24B, and it can be quite a problem for bird dogs. In general, the greatest amounts of cholla are found at lower elevations on the south side of the unit between Apache Junction and Superior. Cholla can also be problem in some areas south of Roosevelt Lake
Hunting access within 24B is very good since most of the unit is on public land – either the Tonto National Forest or Arizona State Trust Land. A permit is required to be on state land, but if you are legally hunting, your hunting license serves as that permit.
Areas: On the south side of the unit, major access roads into quail hunting areas include the Queen Valley Road, FS roads 357, 172, 650, 8, and 229. On the north side of unit, FS roads 49, 83, and 449 will take you into some good areas to hunt.
|Primary Game Species/ Hunting Month(s)|
|Deer (Mule, White-Tailed)||August-January|
|Secondary Game Species/ Hunting Month(s)|
Average # permits in past 5 years
|Month||Avg. Temp||Avg. Rainfall|
|January||Max 61°/Min 30°||0.69"|
|February||Max 66°/Min 33°||0.41"|
|September||Max 93°/Min 61°||1.12"|
|October||Max 83°/Min 49°||0.61"|
|November||Max 70°/Min 36°||0.35"|
|December||Max 61°/Min 48°||0.79"|
Other Pertinent Climate Information
Weather within the unit varies greatly by elevation and season. Temperatures range from summertime highs of 110° in desert areas to winter lows of -5° at higher elevations. Weather conditions change rapidly in the mountains, where falling temperatures coupled with high winds and precipitation pose dangers of hypothermia to the unprepared. In the desert, high temperatures can lead to heat exhaustion.
Cities, Roads & Campgrounds
Major Cities and Towns in or Near Game Management Unit and Nearest Gas, Food, and Lodging Apache Junction, Superior, and Globe/Miami
Major Highways and Roads Leading To
From the East: U.S. 60, U.S. 70, Hwy 88
From the West: U.S. 60, Hwy 88
From the North: Hwy 88, Hwy 188, U.S. 60, Hwy 77
From the South: U.S. 60, Hwy 79, Hwy 177
Lost Dutchman State Park, Canyon Lake, Tortilla Flat Campground, and Burnt Corral Campground (Apache Lake), all located on Hwy 88 between Apache Junction and Roosevelt Lake; Parker Springs and Schoolhouse campgrounds at Roosevelt Lake.
Oak Flat Campground, U.S. 60 about 4 miles NE of Superior; Coon Bluff, Gold Field, Phon D. Sutton, and Water Users recreation areas on lower Salt River about 1/2-hour drive NE of Mesa on Bush Hwy.
Brief Description of Terrain, Elevation, and Vegetation
The unit is characterized by great diversity in elevation, terrain, and vegetation. Elevations range from 1,600" to 6,300". Terrain varies from desert plains in the southwest, to steep rugged canyons and mountains in the west and central portions, to a mountainous region in the east. Vegetation includes lower Sonoran Desert and desert grassland, interior chaparral, encinal woodland, pinyon-juniper, and ponderosa pine stringers.
Government Agencies and Phone Numbers
Arizona Game and Fish Department, Region VI - 480 981-9400
Tonto National Forest - 602 225-5200
Tonto National Monument - 520 467-2241