JP Vicente is a straight shooting outfitter who was instrumental in helping me choose AZ elk areas that had reasonable draw chances with 7 bonus points. He was very communicative with me thru 3 years of applying through him. I was put with a very self-sufficient guide (Opie) who, with his wife’s help, cooked for and guided me thru my 2-week trip. He provided his own vehicle and ATV for transport depending on the area hunted that day. He also enlisted the help of multiple friends that just like to be camping out and glassing for elk.
The 1st week, there was a full moon and the elk were only bugling for a little in the morning. The 2nd week was a rut frenzy.
Opie scouted and new multiple areas that held big bulls. Of course, it is public land and other people were screwing with the elk too.
We were into elk every day and saw shooters (320 or better) every day if I recall.
We saw a couple of giants including what I believe was a typical 6x6 that was pushing 400". His whale tails were over 20" each. I had him at 60 yards for 5 min but had no shot.
I'm sorry to say that I missed 5 times, 3 shots were long and quickly set up. 2 were slam-dunks that I simply choked on. In fact we had 3 chances (2 shots) on one beautiful 360" bull (who later had his butt whipped/lost his cows by the giant I previously mentioned.)
I have been so depressed about screwing up after a years worth of hard practice and shooting well to (practicing and grouping awesome out 70 yards every day in camp) that I can just now write about it now...
There are some definite hills and small mountains to climb, so be in shape- it will help. We would drive or ride an ATV to an area and then walk for 3-5 hours.
I expected the elk to be more callable than they were. That was a disappointment. We never really called in but that one mature bull (X2 missed bull). Small rag horns were callable.
We hunted from tall evergreen covered hills, to huge meadows, down to the junipers in the scrub desert.
The weather was hot most of the 1st week, which did not help, it was also around a full moon.
There were more hunters competing for the same elk than I expected. Perhaps there were better areas away from people but I don't know.
Overall, it was a very good hunt that I would do again.
The pressure of waiting years for a tag was harder on the psyche than I thought.
Big Chino was the real deal though. They did their part and I should have got it done.
Bill was with us this year and I appreciate his understanding and hard work on his hunt. I wish that he could have completed the hunt but do to his wife getting ready to have a baby he had to cut out a few days early It is hunters like Bill that keep us excited about Guiding I look forward to him drawing an Az tag again and he coming out to hunt with us again. One thing to remember in Arizona there are many factors that play a role in the overall success of the hunt. The moon, The weather, Hunt Pressure, Etc... That is why for those of you who have waited a long time for a tag hire a reputable outfitter!
JP Big Chino Guide Service 928-925-9395
upto 80 degrees, sweating in tree stands in the afternoon on a couple of days. The moon was full during a good part of the trip and the elk seemed more quite than they should during the day.