Arizona Deer Hunting Season 2023-2024

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Arizona is known for its southern desert terrain, home to over 50 000 Coues White-tailed deer. At the same time, approximately 80 000 Mule deer populate the arid northern territory of the state.

Arizona has some considerably harsh deer hunting conditions. There are several deer hunting regulations that you must know before heading into the desert for a prized pair of antlers. Read further to find out more about hunting deer in Arizona. 

Season Dates 2023 – 2024

Deer hunters in Arizona are spoilt for choice with several opportunities to harvest an antlered Mule deer or Coues White-tailed deer, with seasons running from late August until the end of January. Below is a list of dates for the different types of deer seasons in Arizona.  

Deer SeasonDates (start-to-end)
Archery DeerAugust 25th – September 14th
Archery Deer December OTCDecember 15th – December 31st
Archery Deer January OTCJanuary 1st – January 31st
Mule Deer Early RifleOctober 27th – November 5th
Mule Deer Late RifleNovember 24th – December 3rd
Coues Deer 1st RifleOctober 27th – November 2nd
Coues Deer 2nd RifleNovember 10th – November 16th
Coues Deer 3rd RifleDecember 1st – December 10th
Coues Deer 4th RifleDecember 15th – December 31st
CHAMP ( Challenged Hunter Access Mobility Permit)September 16th – September 22nd
October 21st – October 27th
November 11th – November 17th
General Youth-Only Season October 7th – November 27th
Youth-Only MuzzleloaderSeptember 30th – October 9th
November 18th – November 27th

Only hunters between ten (10) and seventeen (17) can hunt during the General Youth-Only and Youth-Only seasons. 

License and Tag Fees

Hunters interested in hunting Coues White-tailed deer or Mule deer must apply at Arizona Game and Fish to enter a draw lottery system for permit deer tags. Applicants are charged a non-refundable $15 that must be attached to each application.  

Arizona residents aged ten (10) years or older must purchase a valid hunting or combination license before harvesting any wildlife. Non-resident hunters can only buy a combination hunt and fish license and purchase a deer permit tag.

Hunters over ten (10) must have completed a hunter education course before they are eligible to apply for deer hunting tags. 

General Hunting License$37Not available
Combination Hunt and Fish$57$160
Youth Combination Hunt and Fish$5$5
Deer Hunt Permit-tag$58$315
Archery Deer Non-Permit tag$45$300
Youth-Only Hunts$387$407

Deer hunting licenses are available for purchase online or from any Arizona Game and Fish offices and are valid for 365 days from the date of purchase.  

Bag Limits and Hunting Hours

Arizona is divided into Game Management Units (GMU). Each unit has its own hunting regulations and specifies which species of deer may be harvested. The Arizona Game and Fish Department restricts deer hunters to harvest one (1) deer per calendar year.

Hunters may not harvest an additional deer in either general or archery season. All harvested deer must be reported to AZGFD within 48 hours of the harvest. Hunting hours are strictly confined from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.  

What Weapons can you Hunt Deer with in Arizona?

Arizona gun control laws are one of the least restrictive in the U.S. However, deer hunters are still restricted to use the following weapons:  

  • Archery- Bow & Arrow
  • Muzzleloading Rifles
  • Black Powder Handguns
  • Centerfire Firearms
  • Handguns
  • Shotguns
  • Crossbows


RiflesA rifle must be a centerfire cartridge larger than .35 caliber to use legally.
ShotgunsMust have a barrel length of 18 inches or longer and shoot slugs only
HandgunsMust use black powder or synthetic black powder
Prohibited FirearmsAny automatic firearms are prohibited, including firearms capable of selective automatic fire
Prohibited AmmunitionTracers, incendiary bullets, full metal jackets, full steel, and full steel core ammunition are prohibited.

Bow and Arrow:

ArrowsArrows must be 16” from the nock to the tip of the broadhead.
BroadheadsMust be 7-8 inches at the widest point. 
Bow characteristicsMust have a peak draw weight of 30 pounds or larger.


Crossbow draw weightMinimum draw weight of 125 pounds or more and requires a mechanical safety function
Arrows and boltsBolts must have a minimum length of 16”; arrows and arrowheads containing firearm ammunition or poison may not be used.
BroadheadsMust be 7-8 inches at the widest point with metal cutting edges

Muzzleloading Rifle and Musket:

PowderBlack powder or black powder substitute only.
CaliberMuzzleloading rifles must have a single barrel 18 inches or longer and be capable of firing a single projectile.
Legal ProjectileSabot round, lead ball, lead bullet, semi-jacketed bullet, or metal alloy expanding bullet.
Muzzleloading HandgunsMuzzleloading handguns must be capable of being fired from the hand, incapable of firing fixed ammunition, have a single barrel, loaded through the muzzle with black powder or synthetic black powder, and a single projectile.
IgnitionMuzzleloaders must use flint, percussion cap, primer, or electronic pulse, must have the bullet loaded through the muzzle, and cannot fire a cartridge.

What Types of Deer are popular in Arizona?

Arizona’s wide-open arid desert is a popular deer hunting destination, home to two common species of deer.  The Rocky Mountain Mule deer is predominantly found in the northeastern areas of Arizona, while Coues White-tailed deer are spread throughout the entire state.

Mule deer are noticeable by their large mule-like ears and brownish-gray color. Male Mule deer grow antlers in the summer and shed them in the springtime, while Coues White-tailed deer have a white underbelly and are smaller in stature.

What else is Popular to Hunt in Arizona?

Arizona has exceptional big game hunting with a selection of ten huntable species. The state also offers many small game species for hunters to target. The most popular species of animals to hunt are:

  • Black Bear
  • Pronghorn Antelope
  • Elk
  • Desert Bighorn Sheep
  • Javelina
  • Mountain Lions
  • Merriam Turkeys
  • Gould’s Turkeys
  • Bison
  • Dusky Grouse

Hi there! I'm a passionate bowman and a fan of all target sports in general. You'll often find me at my local archery and shooting ranges honing my skills.

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