KINGMAN - Friday marks the opening of the archery pronghorn antelope season in northern Arizona, with 327 permittees taking to the field in pursuit of the fastest mammal in North America.
The hunt will remain open until Sept. 1 for those lucky enough to have drawn a permit.
The legal method of take for these hunts are a bow and arrow as prescribed in R-12-4-318 or a crossbow as prescribed in R-12-4-216. Under the crossbow section, only those who have submitted a statement from a doctor saying that the sportsman has a permanent disability of at least 90 percent of function of one arm are allowed to use a crossbow on the antelope hunt. The Arizona Game & Fish Department is in charge of determining who qualifies for the special crossbow permit.
Antelope are usually taken by hunters using either the spot and stalk method or by sitting near water. Antelope are known to have eyes that are equivalent to ten-power binoculars, so stalking close enough to them to get a shot is tough, even for the most experienced archer.
Hunt success for archery antelope hunters is among the lowest in Arizona. Even with modern archery equipment and range finders, only about one in three archers will bag an antelope this year.
Antelope at this time of year are still in the rut so many bucks will still have groups of does around them, adding to the problem of being able to stalk close enough to get a shot.
Archery deer hunters are also going to be in the field starting Friday. There are unlimited over- the-counter deer tags available in most game management units in Arizona. Archers can hunt until Sept. 8 in 49 game management units throughout Arizona.
Only in game management units 12A North (Kaibab), 13A and 13B do archers have tags that have to be drawn.
Locally, two archers, Dr. Don Anderson and Jordan Fuqua beat some high odds when they drew tags for Unit 13B, the Arizona Strip. The Strip is considered by many to be the best mule deer hunting in the Southwest and every year huge bucks are taken by archers.
Due to the hot, dry weather, most archers this time of the year will be either watching water holes or trying the spot and stalk method.