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Bear Hunting In Arizona

Hunting Methods  Fair Chase - Pursuit With Dogs

Bear hunting in Arizona increased with the arrival of early settlers whose fears resulted in the complete eradication of grizzly bears in the State. The last grizzly bear in Arizona was killed sometime in the 1930s.


When Did Bear Hunting Start In Arizona?

In 1928, black bears were classified as predatory animals and were legal to shoot or trap anytime. In 1929, the first bear hunt season was established after a new "game code" classified bears as big game animals. 

Is The State Broken Down Into BMUs (Bear Management Units?)

The State is broken down into 81 Game Management Units (GMU).

The 41 Units open to bear hunting are: 1, 2A-2C, 3B-3C, 4A-4B, 5A-5B, 6A-6B, 7, 8, 9,10, 10A,17A-17B, 18B, 19A,19D, 20A-20B, 21, 22 North and South, 23 North and South, 24A-24B, 27, 28, 29, 30A, 31, 32, 33, 34A, and 35A-35B.

What Weapons Are Permitted?

Archery: Bows with a pull weight of 30 pounds or more using arrows with broadheads no smaller than 7/8 inch in width. Crossbows with a draw weight no less than 125 pounds, using bolts no shorter than 16 inches, and broad-heads with a minimum width of 7/8 of an inch.

Firearms: Center-fire Rifles and Handguns; Shotguns only using shooting slugs; Pre-charged Pneumatics of .35 caliber or more.

Muzzleloaders: Muzzle-loading Rifles; All other rifles shooting black or synthetic black powder; Handguns using black powder.
Note: This is for Spring and Fall seasons

Can Hunters Kill Cubs?

No. It is illegal to kill cubs or mothers who are with cubs.

Can Hunters Kill A Bear Over Bait?

No. Baiting is prohibited.

Is Dog Hunting Allowed In Arizona?

Yes. Dogs may be used to tree and/or corner bears, so long as the hunter is present at all times during the hunt, and the animal is killed or released immediately after treed, cornered, or held at bay. 


What Procedure Must Hunters Follow After Killing A Bear?

Within 48 hours of taking a bear, all hunters must contact an Arizona Game and Fish Department office either in person or by telephone at 1-800-970-BEAR (2327). The report needs to include the hunter's name, hunting license number, tag number, sex of the bear harvested, management unit where the bear was taken, and a telephone number. Hunters are encouraged to contact the nearest Department office by telephone to coordinate inspections within ten days of killing a bear.

What Is The Reason For Hunting Bears?

  • Regulating bear population

  • Controlling nuisance problems

  • Recreational opportunity for sportsmen and women


What Is The Government Organization(s), That Is In Charge Of Bear Hunting/Wildlife?

  1. The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD)

  2. The U.S. Forest Service

  3. The Bureau of Land Management 

  4. Indian Reservations

  5. National Wildlife Refuges

When Does The Arizona Game and Fish Department Hold Their Meetings?

Meeting dates will be posted here and on all Department websites.

Are The Meetings Open To The Public?

Yes. The AZGFD encourages the public to attend all meetings. 
They also encourage the public to watch their live webcast at

Who Has The Power To Stop The Hunt?

The Governor and Arizona’s elected General Assembly Members have the authority to introduce and vote on proposed law changes.

James S. Zieler- Commission Chairman of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.​

Groups And Organizations That Oppose Bear Hunting

Defenders of Wildlife  Arizona -

Hunt Clubs And Organizations That Participate In And Fund Bear Hunting

Outdoors International -

Raging Point Outfitters -

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