Raymond Wildlife Area
The Raymond Wildlife Area is tucked away in the pinyon-juniper forest of Anderson Mesa. This location allows for a quick getaway from the fast-paced city life to the soothing tranquility of the pines. While enjoying the forest quiet, remember to have binoculars ready to take advantage of the fabulous wildlife watching opportunities.
Raymond Wildlife Area, located in Game Management Unit 5B, will be closed to public access from May 1 until July 29. The closure is put in place during this time of year to allow the bison to give birth and take care of their calves undisturbed and without human pressure or activity. Bison can become skittish at times, especially when there is too much activity nearby. The department apologizes for any inconvenience and encourages the public to visit Raymond Wildlife Area when the closure is lifted.
Recreational Opportunities: Bison provide a popular and unique hunting and viewing opportunities for the public. In addition, the wildlife area provides habitat (particularly winter range) for pronghorn.
Raymond Wildlife Area Rules
- All terrain and utility type vehicle use is prohibited on Raymond Wildlife Area (this includes ATV’s, UTV’s, and 3-wheelers)
- It is unlawful to approach buffalo within ¼ mile
- Public camping is permitted in designated sites only, located directly west of the Wildlife Area Head Quarters
- 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
Wildlife watching: The combination of ponderosa pine forest and grasslands on Anderson Mesa provide important habitat for a wide variety of watchable wildlife, from migrating birds to pronghorn antelope, bison, mule deer and elk. Habitat protected within Raymond Wildlife Area, particularly wetland and riparian areas, may provide homes for several sensitive and rare wildlife species.
Hunting: Hunting is allowed during open seasons. Bison harvesting practices have changed in the past in Arizona. In the early 1970s, the corral type hunt was discontinued in favor of an open range hunt with department personnel serving as hunter guides. Each bison hunter is provided with a department guide, who designates which animal to take. Raymond Wildlife Area is in Game Management Unit 5B.
Camping: Camping is allowed in designated sites only; located directly west of the Wildlife Area Head Quarters.
- Motorized vehicle travel permitted on designated roads, on designated trails, or in designated areas only. Roads marked with a red sign are closed to public access. Only roads marked with a green sign post are open
- Open to hunting in season.
The Raymond Wildlife Area is approximately 40 miles southeast of the I-17/I-40 interchange in Flagstaff with an estimated driving time of 1 hour and 10 minutes. However, visitors should be aware the drive is subject to road and weather conditions due to the last 10 miles to the wildlife area is a relatively unmaintained dirt road with many drainage points and crossings (Feb. 4, 2011).
Directions: From Flagstaff, go east on I-40 to exit #225 (Buffalo Range Road). Continue nine miles south and look for wildlife area signs.
Wildlife Eighty-five to 90 bison are maintained at RRWA. View more information on buffalo. Fifty to 100 elk use the wildlife area at one time or another during the year, along with pronghorn antelope and mule deer. Waterfowl, shorebirds and other wildlife are known or believed to occur seasonally, including several special status species.
No fish species are known to occur at Raymond Wildlife Area, although unauthorized introductions in stock tanks have occurred in wet years. As water is not permanent in the stock tanks, these fish eventually die out.
Area Description: The Raymond Wildlife Area is made up of gently rolling plains with low ridges. Elevations vary from 5,000 to 6,000 feet. Temperatures can vary seasonally, so visitors should be prepared for heat, wind, rain or even snow.
Habitat types include desert scrub-grasslands (75%) and pinyon-juniper woodlands (25%). The desert scrub-grassland provides grazing opportunities for game animals like bison and elk. The pinyon-juniper habitat provides cover and relief from insects and weather conditions. The pinyon-juniper habitat also provides nesting and perching areas for many songbirds such as the olive-sided flycatcher. Management History, Objectives and Goals Before 1942, this area was operated as a livestock ranching operation. In 1942, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission purchased 8,960 acres of deeded land in checker-boarded sections known as Raymond Wildlife Area, to provide winter range for the Anderson Mesa pronghorn antelope herd. To supplement the deeded land, in 1942 an additional 5,199 acres of state trust land were acquired from the State Land Department under a grazing lease. The leased parcels are interspersed in a checkerboard pattern with the deeded lands. In 1945, when the management emphasis was expanded to include bison, 28 animals were released. A later exchange with the Hart Cattle Company brought the total deeded land to 9,438 acres.
The area now functions as year-round range for pronghorn antelope, elk, mule deer and bison. Livestock grazing has been prohibited on all Commission leased or owned lands since 1942. The primary management emphasis is to maintain bison while ensuring adequate forage for wintering big game species. Secondary management emphasis is to maintain high quality habitat for resident and migratory nongame and small game species.