Raymond Wildlife Area
Raymond Wildlife Area is located approximately 20 miles southeast of Flagstaff in Coconino County. The wildlife area consists of approximately 14,637 acres with a topography of gently rolling plains with low ridges. Elevations vary from 5,000 to 6,000 feet with a habitat dominated by desert scrub grassland and pinyon-juniper woodland. The area now functions as year-round range for pronghorn antelope, mule deer and bison; and as winter range for elk.
Due to the fact that the wildlife area is winter range for elk and year-round range for pronghorn antelope, mule deer and bison, Raymond Wildlife Area is highlighted as a premier location in northern Arizona for watchable wildlife 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.
Camping: Camping is permitted year round on RWA for no more than 14 days within a 45-day period (see other Other Restrictions below). There are four primitive camping sites for public use just west of RWA headquarters. Overnight public camping permitted in designated sites only, for no more than 14 days within a 45-day period. Beginning in the summer of 2019, camping will be allowed anywhere within the wildlife area.
Hunting: Open to all hunting in season as permitted under R12-4-304 and R12-4-318, except posted portions closed to hunting periodically during hunting seasons. Motorized big game retrieval is allowed within the wildlife area. Game Management Unit 5B.
Wildlife Observations: The Raymond Bison Conservation Herd is a sub-population of the greater Wind Cave bison meta-population. This conservation bison herd–Plains Bison–is managed with other bison originating from Wind Cave National Park in other states to form a collective herd of at least 1,000 bison, ensuring their genetic integrity. They contain high levels of genetic variation and no evidence of domestic cattle introgression.
- Pronghorn Antelope
- Home to approximately 50 other wildlife species
Hiking: Yeager Canyon Trail- Located on the east side of headquarters. It is approximately 2 miles long and is a light to moderate hike.
- Wood collecting limited to dead and down material, for on-site noncommercial use only.
- Motorized vehicle travel permitted on designated roads, trails, or areas only, except as permitted under R12-4-110 (G). All-terrain and utility type vehicles are prohibited. For the purpose of this subsection, all-terrain and utility type vehicle means a motor vehicle having three or more wheels fitted with large tires and is designed chiefly for recreational use over roadless, rugged terrain. This subsection does not apply to Department authorized vehicles or law enforcement, fire response, or other emergency vehicles.
- The Wildlife Area is closed to all public entry from May 1 through July 29 annually for the bison calving season.
- Members of the public are prohibited from being within 1/4 mile of the Raymond bison herd while on Raymond Wildlife Area, except when taking bison or accompanied by Department personnel.Beginning in the summer of 2019, there will be no restriction on how close the public can get to the bison.
- Prior to entering Raymond Wildlife Area, members of the public shall sign in at a posted sign-in kiosk and by doing so acknowledge they have read and shall comply with the posted Raymond Wildlife Areas restrictions. Beginning in the summer of 2019, this requirement will be removed. Sign in will be strictly voluntary and not a requirement.
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.
Wildlife Observed in the Area
Birds: Northern Harrier, Golden Eagle, Sharp-shinned hawk, Great horned owl
Mammals: Gunnision Prairie dog, elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope
Plants and Vegetation: The Raymond Wildlife Area consists of mostly mixed Plains Grassland, with some pinyon-juniper woodland. The terrain is flat to gently sloping and is dissected by steep-sided drainages. Elevations range from about 5,500 feet to over 6,700 feet.
Directions: RWA is approximately a one hour drive east of Flagstaff off I-40. To get there, take I-40 east to exit 225, the “Buffalo Range” exit. Proceed south of I-40 following the signs approximately 10 miles on a maintained gravel road to the RWA headquarters.