San Carlos Hunting

  1. Dates to enter Big Game Hunting lottery drawings will be November 01, through to January 25th 2020. Lottery will be closed 12.00 pm on January 25th . The public lottery drawing will be held on January 27th, 2020 at the San Carlos Apache Recreation & Wildlife Department.  

  2. There is a $25.00 non-refundable application fee for entering the Big Game Hunting lottery for the Antelope, Deer, and Elk drawing.

  3. Successful hunters that are drawn will be charged accordingly to their draw choices starting with their first choice through eighteen etc, per species. 

  4. An alternative list will be made available by the Recreation & Wildlife Department for hunters unable to hunt and/or were drawn successfully in other areas (if you draw your first choice your credit card will be charged immediately or submitted check will be processed.

  5. Only one application (one lottery ticket) per person for the Antelope drawing.

  6. Licenced San Carlos Apache Tribal Guide Required. Hunters must be guided and the hunter cannot separate from their guide.

Elk & Deer Lottery Application
Non Member Other Game Species
Tribal Member Application Form
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Q: "Do you have a lottery for elk permits?"
A: No, all six tags that are available for non-Indians to hunt the Hilltop and Dry Lake elk are sold to the first takers. First come, first serve is the same approach to selling the other 53 elk tags available to non-Indians during fall and winter seasons on the San Carlos reservation.


Q: "Do I need an Arizona state hunting license to hunt on the reservation?"
A: No, tribes within the United States are sovereign nations, and state licenses are not required for any hunts on Indian land. Waterfowl hunters must obtain the required federal duck stamp, however.

Q: "How do I apply for one of your hunts?"
A: Contact the San Carlos Apache Recreation & Wildlife Department with a toll-free call to (888)275-2653 or else (888)475-2344. You may also call (520)475-2343/2653 or write to the department at PO Box 97, San Carlos, AZ, 85550. Licenses to hunt big game must be purchased directly from the department, either in person or through the mail.

Q: "Am I required to hire a tribal guide?"
A: Yes and no; a tribal guide is required for the premier trophy hunts for elk, sheep, and white-tailed deer. However, most of the hunts available - such as for turkey, bear, or javelina - do not require a guide.

Q: "How can I learn more about what it is like to hunt on the reservation?"
A: The Recreation and Wildlife Department provides lists of the names and phone numbers of sportsmen who have hunted here (broken down by species and hunt season and unit) and who are willing to talk to other hunters about their experiences on the reservation. Additionally, information is available regarding success rates and other data (such as number of animals seen per day, average number of days hunted, size of animals harvested) for all big game hunts.

Q: "With so many 400+ bulls harvested are there any left?"
A: Absolutely. The Hilltop and Dry Lake elk herds are managed to produce several 400+ point bulls annually. Aerial surveys are flown each year to monitor the herds and several 400+ point bulls are generally seen during those surveys as well as during ground surveys. Hunting pressure is very limited and bull survival is high, which is key to producing huge bulls. The largest elk harvested at San Carlos tend to be older than 10 years of age, and biologists maintain high bull-to-cow ratios in the trophy herds, about 60-to-100. The department also conducts habitat improvement projects to maintain high quality habitat.

Q: "How long is your waiting list?"
A: San Carlos hunters are not kept on waiting lists; tags are offered and sold during each hunting year. Regulations are set annually, and new commission orders usually are issued each January. Many reservation hunts sell out very quickly so it is best to contact the department as soon as you are interested in a hunt.