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What Animals Can You Hunt in Arizona? 31 Common Game Species

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bison close up

Arizona is one of the most diverse states in terms of wildlife. In fact, it is within the top five states in the US when it comes to native bird, mammal, and reptile species. In total, there are over 800 species in Arizona. 

That being said, most of these species are protected or not suitable for hunting, but Arizona still offers a variety of hunting opportunities. You just have to know which animals you can hunt.

Below, learn about over 30 species you can hunt and trap in the state of Arizona.

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The 31 Common Game Species You Can Hunt in Arizona

1. Bighorn Sheep

bighorn sheep in the mountain
Image Credit: RJA1988, Pixabay
Classification: Big game
AZFTD Info: Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep are not as popular as they used to be, but you can hunt them in Arizona. It wasn’t until 1953 that hunting the sheep was legal. Every year, there are only about 80–100 hunting permits authorized for the Bighorn Sheep, most of which are Desert Bighorns. The hunting success is between 90% and 95%.

2. Bison

bison in the wild
Image Credit: WikiImages, Pixabay
Classification: Big game
AZFTD Info: Bison

There are two Bison herds managed by the State Game and Fish Department. It is believed that bison are native to the southwest area, meaning they may be native to eastern Arizona. Bison are proof that American conservation efforts work given that Bison almost went extinct.

3. Black Bear

black bear near canim lake
Image Credit: ArtTower, Pixabay
Classification: Big game
AZFTD Info: Black Bear

The Black Bear is one of the most common bear species in all of North America. These bears can be haunted in most states, including Arizona. The department monitors their reproduction rates carefully, but there is no sign that these bears are going endangered anytime soon.

4. Elk

A male elk with large horns
Image Credit: Josef Pittner, Shutterstock
Classification: Big game
AZFTD Info: Elk

At one time, elk were believed to be the most widely distributed deer type in the nation. Over time, their numbers decreased, but conservation has allowed the species to increase once again. Today, elk hunting is legal, and the game has kept a high annual harvest.

5. Javelina

Image Credit: caltatum, Pixabay
Classification: Big game
AZFTD Info: Javelina

The javelina looks like a hog, but it isn’t a hog at all. It is believed to have been native to South America, but it has migrated north and landed in Arizona. It can also be found in the states of Texas and New Mexico. It has been legal to hunt javelina since 1929.

6. Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion Up Close
Image Credit: Barbara Smyers, Shutterstock
Classification: Big game
AZFTD Info: Mountain Lion

A mountain lion is a fearsome cat. They can be easily distinguished from other Wildcats in the state due to their distinctive look and size. Since 1990, as many as 10 states have reported additional mountain lion sightings. As such, mountain lion hunting is legal in Arizona.

7. Mule Deer

mule deer
Image Credit: Nature-Pix, Pixabay
Classification: Big game
AZFTD Info: Mule Deer

The Mule Deer is actually Arizona’s most popular big game deer. There are two distinct species of deer, including Mule Deer and Whitetail Deer. Deer permit numbers were increasing over the 1900s, but issues with droughts have caused a decrease in numbers.

8. Pronghorn 

pronghorn in the middle of the field
Image Credit: mdimock, Pixabay
Classification: Big game
AZFTD Info: Pronghorn

Pronghorns, more commonly called antelopes, are native to the prairies of our country. It is believed that pronghorns were found all over the nation at one point, but today they are mainly in the southwestern United States.

9. Turkey

turkey in the grass
Image Credit: create219, Pixabay
Classification: Big game
AZFTD Info: Turkey

Arizona has two native turkey species and one additional turkey subspecies. Because there are so many turkey subspecies, turkey hunting is common. Today, you can hunt all three species in Arizona.

10. Whitetail Deer

whitetail deer
Image Credit: Linzmeier1, Pixabay
Classification: Big game
AZFTD Info: Whitetail Deer

Whitetail Deer are some of the most popular big game animals throughout the entire nation. The Whitetail Deer is the second deer species in the state of Arizona. Today, Whitetail Deer account for nearly 40% of the total deer harvest.

11. Band-Tailed Pigeon

band-tailed pigeon perched on a branch
Image Credit: PublicDomainImages, Pixabay
Classification: Small game
AZFTD Info: Band-Tailed Pigeon

Band-Tailed Pigeons look a lot like domestic or feral pigeons. These birds are only present in Arizona during the summer, coming to the state in late March and leaving in mid-October. Hunting the species has come and gone over the years, but it is currently legal.

12. Chukar

Image Credit: MyCoolPhotos, Pixabay
Classification: Small game
AZFTD Info: Chukar

The chukar is a unique bird native to the Middle East. This bird is distinctive with black-barred flanks and purplish-blue breasts and backs. There is a limited number of hunters allowed to hunt chukars. You will have to get a specific license to hunt this species.

13. Cottontail Rabbit

cottontail rabbit on the ground
Image Credit: meganzopf, Pixabay
Classification: Small game
AZFTD Info: Cottontail Rabbit

There are three different species of cottontail rabbits in Arizona: the Mountain, the Eastern, and Desert Cottontail. Rabbit hunting is yearlong in Arizona, though the popularity of hunting rabbits varies from year to year.

14. Dove

Pair of Mourning Doves on Shepherd's Hook
Image Credit: Bonnie Taylor Barry, Shutterstock
Classification: Small game
AZFTD Info: Dove

The Mourning Dove is the most common game bird in the state. It can be found all over Arizona and the country. There are other doves you can hunt in Arizona as well, including the White-Winged Dove and Collared Dove.

15. Dusky Grouse

dusky grouse on the rock
Image Credit: iTopLoveliness, Pixabay
Classification: Small game
AZFTD Info: Dusky Grouse

The Dusky Grouse has a blueish gray plumage. It prefers to stay roosted in Douglas Fir trees, even in the winter. These birds have only been legal to hunt since 1964. The number of legal bags varies from year to year.

16. Pheasant

ring-necked pheasant on the grass
Image Credit: jstoner22, Pixabay
Classification: Small game
AZFTD Info: Pheasant

For a long time, people have pressed to make the pheasant a legal game bird in Arizona. It wasn’t until recently that hunting pheasants was allowed, but you can only hunt them in the game management unit 40B around Yuma. There are only a limited number of permits that are available through the draw.

17. Quail

Image Credit: terforeign, Pixabay
Classification: Small game
AZFTD Info: Quail

Although there are different quail species in Arizona, three are most commonly hunted, including Gambel’s, Scaled, and Mearns’. During the 1900s, quail hunting was so popular that they had to decrease the bag limit to preserve the species. Today, there is still a limited season, but it is expanding.

18. Sandhill Crane

sandhill crane on the grass
Image Credit: Steppinstars, Pixabay
Classification: Small game
AZFTD Info: Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Cranes can be spotted during the winter. They migrate to specific areas within the state. Hunting has been allowed in the past, but the specifics of hunting Sandhill Crane vary from year to year due to struggling numbers.

19. Tree Squirrel

tree squirrel
Image Credit: GregReese, Pixabay
Classification: Small game
AZFTD Info: Tree Squirrel

There are four species and eight subspecies of squirrels in Arizona. The state goes back and forth on allowing the hunting of tree squirrels. Today, hunting tree squirrels is allowed, though the bag limit varies based on species.

20. Bobcat

bobcat in the forest
Image Credit: Miller_Eszter, Pixabay
Classification: Predator and furbearer
AZFTD Info: Bobcat

Bobcats, also called Wildcats, are twice the size of a house cat. Bobcats run into a lot of conflicts with small pets and small domestic livestock like chickens, goats, and sheep. Bobcats are both hunted for game and trapping purposes with proper licensing.

21. Coyote

coyote in the wild
Image Credit: rauschenberger, Pixabay
Classification: Predator
AZFTD Info: Coyote

The most common predator in Arizona is the coyote. It is found throughout the state, though it is not always seen. Hunting coyotes have been stable over the last 10 years. There are about 700 trappings per year.

22. Fox

fox standing in snow
Image Credit: Alain Audet, Pixabay
Classification: Predator
AZFTD Info: Fox

There are three species of foxes in Arizona. The vast majority of foxes taken and trapped in Arizona are Gray Foxes. There are about 3,500 foxes hunted every year. The biggest cause of mortality in the fox population is actually disease, not hunting.

23. Skunk  

a skunk
Image Credit: sipa, Pixabay
Classification: Predator
AZFTD Info: Skunk

There are four skunk species in Arizona. The most common is the Striped Skunk, which is the skunk most people are familiar with. Although hunting skunks is legal, there are only about 100 skunks taken per year.

24. Badger

Image Credit: Beeki, Pixabay
Classification: Furbearer
AZFTD Info: Badger

The Badger is a type of weasel. It is a burrowing rodent that is praised for its unique coat. Badger pelts were very popular in the mid to late 1900s, but there are only about 50 badgers taken a year today.

25. Beaver

beaver in the water
Image Credit: miloszelezny, Pixabay
Classification: Furbearer
AZFTD Info: Beaver

The beaver is one of the biggest rodents in the world. It is difficult to miss. Today, it is illegal to hunt beavers, but you can trap them. Trapping beavers has decreased in popularity over the years because of how many limitations are in place.

26. Muskrat

muskrat on the grass
Image Credit: Bru-nO, Pixabay
Classification: Furbearer
AZFTD Info: Muskrat

The muskrat is a water vole. Muskrats have never been an important part of the fur trade, especially not in Arizona. Although trapping muskrat is legal, there have been virtually no reported muskrat trappings since the 1980s.

27. Otter

otter on the rock
Image Credit: InspiredImages, Pixabay
Classification: Furbearer
AZFTD Info: Otter

Everyone loves otters because they are fun and exciting. Back in the day, otters were rarely used for fur purposes because their numbers were not high enough. Through transplant, trapping otters has become more popular, but there are only a limited number of otters eligible for trappings.

28. Raccoon

Image Credit: SHAWSHANK66, Pixabay
Classification: Furbearer
AZFTD Info: Racoon

Everyone knows about raccoons. They are very common in Arizona and the United States as a whole. They are popular amongst hunters with guns and dogs. In fact, raccoons are one of the only animals that are allowed to be hunted at night with a gun.

29. Ringtail

two ringtails on the ground
Image Credit: RGY23, Pixabay
Classification: Furbearer
AZFTD Info: Ringtail

Ringtails are technically a type of cat. They are not common and are typically only trapped by accident. There are only about 50 Ringtails taken a year by trappers.

30. Weasel

Weasel on the ground
Image Credit: Ghost Bear, Shutterstock
Classification: Furbearer
AZFTD Info: Weasel

There is only one weasel in Arizona: the Long-Tailed Weasel. The number of weasels that are trapped in the state is insignificant because of the animals’ limited distribution and small pelt. Though it is legal to trap weasels, it is incredibly uncommon.

31. Waterfowl

Wild motley waterfowl on the lake
Image Credit: Frezi Gate, Shutterstock
Classification: Waterfowl
AZFTD Info: Waterfowl

Finally, last on our list is waterfowl. There are 15 waterfowl species in Arizona eligible for hunting. Here is a list of the waterfowl species you can hunt in the state:

  • American Wigeon
  • Blue-Winged Teal
  • Bufflehead
  • Canada Geese
  • Canvasback
  • Cinnamon Teal
  • Coleman Merganser
  • Gadwall
  • Green-Winged Teal
  • Mallard
  • Northern pintail
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Redhead
  • Ring-Necked Duck
  • Ruddy Duck
  • Greater/Lesser Scaup

scope crosshairs divider 1 Where Can I Learn More About Hunting in Arizona?

If you want to hunt in Arizona, it’s important to visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department. This department allows you to buy a hunting license and apply for a draw. It also gives you all the information you need to know about hunting season and hunting stipulations by species.

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If you are a hunter in Arizona, you are in luck. There are over 30 game species you can hunt in the state. You can hunt big game, small game, predators, furbearers, and waterfowl. Just make sure to check with the Arizona Game and Fish department to make sure you are hunting within the bounds of the law.

Featured Image Credit: marlon_charlotte, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.