Shhh Best Kept Secret In The West – OTC Deer Tags In AZ During The Rut with JP Vicente


WTR | OTC Deer Tags

Hunting has become not just a hobby but a way of life for many people. Hunters seeking for dynamic and various shooting consider Arizona as one of the best sites, but some say that you have to wait twenty years to get a tag and hunt a great mule deer or a Coues whitetail deer in the state. This belief gets debunked by JP Vicente, Founder of Big Chino Guide Service. Known for calling in monster bulls and shooting trophy bucks, JP reveals the biggest secret in western Arizona as he uncovers how to hunt deer in the area and the opportunities to get over the counter tags. Learn more about the Big Chino Outfitters – from their cutting-edge facilities to their offers to passionate hunters aiming to get archery tags that are on a budget. Also, discover if bucks are better on private or public land, the limited opportunity areas in Arizona, the most essential gear you need to hunt, and more DIY tips and techniques for an extraordinary hunting experience in the West.

Listen to the podcast here:

Shhh Best Kept Secret In The West – OTC Deer Tags In AZ During The Rut with JP Vicente


We’re heading down to the Prescott, Arizona area. We’re going to talk to Big Chino. Who’s Big Chino? He runs Big Chino Outfitters. Is that right, JP?

Yeah, Big Chino Outfitters at Prescott, Arizona. That’s correct.

Vicente is your last name?

Yeah, JP Vicente.

We connected on Instagram and he started talking to me about the biggest secret in the West, Arizona and the opportunities to get tags. I know all of you our audience, you talk to me all the time when I see you in the fall or at shows and you say, “I don’t want to hunt the West too. I want to go for a smoke. It’s so expensive. It’s this, that. How do you do it?” I tell you about goHUNT. That’s a shout out for Lorenzo and the crew there. I want JP to come on the show to have somebody that’s lived his life in Arizona and this is what he’s done. He does it really well. He might mention some people’s names and that’s great. He allows people to come and have an experience that maybe it could be once in a lifetime but maybe once they experience they go, “I can do this every couple of years. I can do this every year.” I wanted JP to come on and talk about the big secret in the West. JP, let’s roll.

First of all, I want to shout out to goHUNT too. I work hand-in-hand with goHUNT. Chris, Lorenzo and the crew over there, Brady Miller, all those guys are phenomenal. I’ll start off by saying that people anywhere in this country who want to find out about great hunting opportunities, they need to join goHUNT. That outfit has done some phenomenal stuff. Thanks for everything you do and support us. We’ve been doing business with them and using them as an avenue to get information out about what we do here at Big Chino Outfitters in Arizona. Thank you for having me on the show. I’m honored and humbled that we’d have the opportunity. What my goal here is to get some information out. It appears that people from all over the country, especially whitetail hunters from East and the Midwest, if you’re not necessarily in Arizona, you don’t really realize that there are some incredible hunting opportunities.

The myth out there is it takes twenty years to get a tag in Arizona for an elk, antelope, mule deer and obviously a lifetime to get a sheep tagged or something, but there’s really incredible hunting opportunities. I want to talk about those. The first thing I want to talk about is I consider the biggest secret in the West. The word is getting out. It’s the over-the-counter archery mule deer and Coues deer hunting. In Arizona, you’re only allowed to kill one deer per calendar year. From January 31st and December 31st, you can only kill one deer. If you shot a Coues deer, then you can’t come back and shoot a mule deer. If you shot a mule deer, you can’t come back and shoot a Coues deer. The bottom line here is that you have this opportunity to come out and hunt these deer. That’s the over-the-counter archery tag. Here’s what’s cool about that.

That’s over-the-counter. No draw. I show up with my money. I walk into Walmart and get a tag.

That’s exactly how it works. You don’t have to draw. Everybody thinks you’ve got to wait twenty-plus years to get a tag when the reality of it is you do not. You can walk into Walmart or Game & Fish or Cabela’s, and you can get yourself a tag and you can hunt. Here’s the other thing that’s cool about it. If you were to buy an over-the-counter tag, let’s say you came January 1 which is the peak of our rep by the way. Think about hunting running bucks in Arizona, it’s 60, 65 degrees out and you’ve got these phenomenal bucks out there running. If you came out, hunted and bought that tag and you did not harvest either Coues deer or mule, that hunt is open for the entire month of January. You can turn around and come back and use that tag in August.

Around August 23rd, it opens through September 12th. You’ve got the velvet bucks to summer bucks. A lot of people like to hunt bucks, the velvet is a lot more docile. You could use that tag but here we go again. Let’s say you don’t harvest one then, you can turn around and hunt that tag again in December because the hunt opens back up around mid-December until December 31st. This is our trail. That’s the only thing that’s going to be over-the-counter for deer, archery only. In nowadays world, there are so many archeries. There’s so much technology out there and the hunting opportunities are phenomenal. We’ve got guys coming out of here and they’re hunting 170-inch caliber average box or what they’re hunting. We harvest 180 to 200-inch mule deer every year. Our biggest buck ever killed was 223 inches.

WTR | OTC Deer Tags
OTC Deer Tags: In today’s world, there are so many archers and so much technology out there. Bow hunting opportunities are phenomenal.

What about up on the Strip? Can I hunt archery on the strip?

You cannot hunt on the Strip with archery unless you draw. That’s what I was going to get at. Everything south of the ditch, the Kaibab, 12B or the Arizona Strip, that’s draw only. Everything south of the Grand Canyon, there are open opportunities for over-the-counter. You have to look at the reds because some areas are open for two weeks, some are open for a month, some are open for the entire season. We can certainly help you with that. Think about this, what separates us from the Strip? As a crow flies from where our camps are set up or our ranches are set up, that’s about 100 miles. The only way that really separates us is a little bit of terrain and the Grand Canyon.

You could have that hole on the ground.

I could show you videos, pictures, bucks that we’ve killed, 180, 200. We killed a 223 buck. The caliber of bucks was there. On average, our hunters can expect to hunt 170 in caliber here.

Are you hunting private or public land?

We’re hunting both public and private. I have about 140,000 acres of leased land that has the hunting leases on it, but there are millions of acres of public. You can have public or private. The difference is if there’s controlled pressure on private versus uncontrolled pressure on public. You never know what you’re going to face in the public. It’s become a very popular hunt. You’re starting to see a lot more public land pressure. A lot of questions get asked to me, “Are the bucks better on the private than they are on the public?” I’m going to tell you collectively across the board, no, but where are the bucks going to go if they get a lot of pressure?

During the rut, they’re going to go where the does are.

You’re 100% right and that’s a great statement to make because wherever the does are, it’s where the bucks are going to go. When a deer gets pressured from the public and a lot of people start pressuring them, they’re going to move to spots where they’re not going to be pressured.

They’re going to go to the sanctuaries.

They’re going to a sanctuary and that’s where the private comes in. Even though we have residents that herd bucks and deer on there, we’ve got great deer hunting opportunities on our private but we don’t have to hunt private. Some guys like it because they don’t like the hunting pressure. Some guys would rather hunt on the public because they can’t afford or don’t want to spend the extra money. We try to make the hunts affordable. We have scouting patches for do-it-yourself all the way to fully-guided hunts and standard hunting lodges. It all depends on what the hunters are looking for. That’s what our intent is. The message I want to get out is that I want people to know that you don’t have to wait twenty years to come here and hunt a great mule deer or great Hoosier bucks. You can buy a tag over-the-counter.

WTR | OTC Deer Tags
OTC Deer Tags: You don’t have to wait twenty years to come to Arizona and have a great mule deer. You can buy a tag over the counter.

Going back to our early conversation, I’m going, “Really?” I was talking about the Kaibab and the Strip and all that. I knew huge iconic bucks are coming out of there. You corrected me that that’s a draw area but now you get south of the Canyon. There are millions and millions of acres. In Colorado, there are millions of acres too and in Montana and Wyoming, it’s the same thing. Colorado has got a 200-inch deer, Georgia, Wyoming and all these other states. Now you’re hunting not in the blizzard. You’re hunting in shirt sleeves, in tennis shoes and shorts if you want to.

In August definitely, all the guys are pretty much in shorts because it’s so hot. It’s 90 to 100. In January, it’s 65 degrees in Arizona. In some days if we’re on our Southern Arizona camp, it might be 80 degrees out.

It gets cool at night. It is not a blizzard. I am not worried about chaining up my King Ranch to get out.

There are times in Northern Arizona when we will get some snow and stuff. Snow in Arizona lasts two days. As soon as the sun hits it, it’s melted, it’s gone. The key factors here is that you’re going to be hunting bucks that are in the rut and the peak of the rut. That’s an incredible opportunity. I can show you tons of phone scope footage, phone scope picks with just phenomenal bucks. We’ve got a high demand. A lot of people contact us about the hunt. We have some pretty great guys. Adam Greentree was here for instance. He killed a phenomenal buck with us. Cameron Hanes is going to be coming. Kip Fulks is going to be here. Bert Sorin from Sorinex will be here. Ryan will be here as well. We’ve got a nice clientele and we’ve got a great hunting facility.

Tell me a little bit about your setup because we’re not standing wall tents and we’re not staying in nice fifth wheels or whatever. You’ve actually got a lot set up.

We took over this lease and then tied in for many years about 140,000 acres now. Joining that, we acquired our own personal property that we built a hunting facility on. We have a 1,500-yard range that we’re working with Leupold on right now to help finish the design on for that. We would put in long-range shooting schools on there as well as hunting cabins. You’ve got these three-bedroom hunting cabins with bunk beds and they’ve got 60-inch flat screen TVs, Wi-Fi, shower, a camp cook. Every day after a long day of hunting, you can come back and relax. If you choose to have a cocktail drink, you have a nice warm meal and you’ve got a nice bed to go to, take a shower. It’s a really phenomenal facility, which is not typical in Arizona.

Typical in Arizona, you’ll hire a guide, you’re going to be standing on wall tents or maybe an RV. You might have to spend some money and get a motel room, eat at a restaurant and stuff. We’re invested into this OTC hunt and what it provides. It’s a great hunting opportunity that you can walk right off my porch and it happens every year and hunt 180 to 200-inch mule deer right off the porch. You could be drinking coffee. A lot of times some of the hunters would literally be set up with their tripods right on the porch of where they slept having a cup of coffee, glass and bucks. It’s phenomenal.

It sounds too good to be true but you’ve got a reputation. How does somebody get ahold of you, JP? Where can they reach out to you?

First of all, they could get ahold of us at Big Chino Outfitters on Instagram. They can get ahold of us at They could email me at They could call me direct, area code (928) 925-9395. Absolutely, Instagram is probably the easiest way that people reach us. Send us a message on there and we’ll get back to you right away. I’ll send you all the information you want, pics, references, whatever you need. That’s an incredible hunting facility. Let’s talk about some other opportunities. The OTC hunt, I wanted to get the message out because I want hundreds to know they can come here and hunt.

Let’s talk about the cost of that before we move on because some guys get scared to hunt in the West and you can still hunt Colorado for gas, food, lodging, license and everything. You can still do it with archery hunt for $1,000. DIY, public land, archery hunt for $1,000 and guys do it every year and they’re successful. I’m not saying 300-inch bulls but they’re still successful. Put it in a framework. A couple of guys said, “That sounds great. January, it’s great weather and rut, I’m in.” What’s the minimum a guy could really get into hunting DIY in Arizona?

Outside of their expenses, they’ve got travel expenses and their own margin expenses on a DIY to do their camping and stuff. They come and see us, and we provide some scouting packages for them. Our scouting package varies from $1,500 to $2,500 depending on the hunter and what we could do for them. We actually even do a drop camp if necessary but for $1,500, we’ll give you a full-fledged scouting package with flatline map. You can download the flatline map. We’ll even print for you an accurate to-date information of Arizona and we’ll pick a unit. We’ll give a very popular unit. Unit 9 is a popular unit for elk and mule deer. It borders the Grand Canyon National Park on one end. It’s got the Navajo Nation on one end. It’s got to Hualapai the other end. They have Havasupai. There are some great bucks. They come off of there during the rut.

We’ll provide you great hunting opportunities there in hunting. The great big mule deer and bucks are there. Unit 9, Unit 10, Unit 8, Unit 7, all the areas that we spend on multiple days throughout the year. We have trail cameras running, we have a very good sense of where these deer are at. I’ll give you an example. I had a guy come and do it yourself. He has never been to Arizona before. He shot 107 Coues deer. That’s big with his bow, phenomenal. We posted it on Instagram. You can take a look at this buck in velvet. It’s a phenomenal buck. We’ve had guys come and shoot 170, 180-inch mule deer on do-it-yourself stuff. We provided accurate information. It’s do-it-yourself so you can tailor the cost to meet you. I’ve had guys come here with drop camps. We set up a wall tent. We stock it with water and put a stove in there. We bring you a barbecue and some cots and you bring your bedroll. We give you the scouting package.

We try to tailor the hunts to meet your need or you can go the full-pledge hunt. You might spend up to $8,500 to $10,000 depending on how many days would come. Our average hunts for a seven-day hunt in our lodge, public land, you’re looking at about $5,000. If you’re going to go on to private land, you’re looking at $7,000 to $7,500. If you draw an elk tag, you want to come hunt on our private, it could be in the upwards up to $10,000. We will tailor the hunt to meet your needs if you’re going to pay for public land access or private land access. Private land obviously is going to have more money because we have ranch leases. We’ve got to pay those ranch leases and include our land owners as our partners in there. We pay them, which is common in the West as everybody understands.

That’s just the way it is. There’s no surprise there.

Customers meet their needs. They come with me with a budget, I’ll put it together. We do a lot of two on ones. They help cut the costs down. People just got to give us a call and we can discuss what their options are, try to beat their budget. They’ve got to be realistic about what their budget is. If they’re do-it-yourselfers, I think it’s a phenomenal opportunity. They can come here and hunt some great country that we hunt. We can’t cover every piece of country and we’re not going to be in competition with do-it-yourselfers. We put them in areas that we don’t hunt that are proven successful and that have great mule deer bucks, great elk in it, whatever it is that they’re looking for on a do-it-yourself.

Let’s talk about where these deer live. I remember I hunted in Unit 2 the first time and along the creek bottoms and stuff, they were in cedars. I go, “This isn’t black timber or dark timber.” It’s a little bit of a shock. All of a sudden, you’re in a desert-like environment in some areas, other areas you’re not.

Up in Northern Arizona, there are some similarities that you mentioned. That’s what we call a Chaparral Pinyon-Juniper. It’s what most of the country is. You’ve got a lot of scrub buck, you’ve got a lot of Pinyon-Juniper but you’ve got a lot of grasslands. There’s been a big push in Northern Arizona for ranching communities that they take out a bunch of the juniper areas so they can grow grass. The mule deer and all the wildlife benefit from that habitat. There are a lot of great opportunities. Definitely, it’s not big, thick, dark timber that you’ll see like New Mexico and even the Eastern part of Arizona. You’ve got that really big Alpine juniper that’s thick. It’s not like that here in Arizona.

There are a lot of opportunities where you can jump on and off with great optics on a tripod and spotting scopes. You’d be able to glass and make a spot and stalk on your animals but you’ll see a deer. This is not so thick that you can’t. Our deer are residents here too. Remember, they’re fair-weathered animals here in Arizona. You think about Arizona, you think about everybody’s in flip flops and shorts. If our deer could wear flip flops, they would. They don’t migrate. They reside where they reside year-round. The only thing that moves forward is water. If we’ve got a drought a year, they’re going to move to where the water is. If it’s regular season here, we’ve got great water, they just stay right where they’re at. They literally do it. We have phenomenal water. This is one of the best years of my entire time over 30 years. We have some of the best, wettest winters we’ve ever had. Still in the spring, we’ve got a lot of moisture. This year’s horn growth in Arizona is indicative of how much moisture we’ve got which is going to be great.

It’s going to be crazy. I haven’t hunted there but I’ve heard, when you have a lot of water, then it disperses the animals a lot more. They’re not coming to that stock tank in that section of the land.

Here’s what the benefit is when you hunt with somebody who has been doing it for 30 plus years, who grew up here. My grandad cowboyed with this. My dad was involved in ranching and worked on somebody’s ranch when he was a kid. I grew up hunting in this country. I hunted this stuff before. We understand where these deer go and understand their habitat, on top of the fact that we’re a full-time outfitter. When I say full-time outfitters, we’re in a field year-round. I had guys out and my guys were out, shed horn hunting. We picked up 160 horns in two weeks. The point is we’re in the field all the time. We have a good understanding of where these deer are at and because of that, we’re not the weekend warrior outfitters. We’re out there all the time. We know where those deer are at and we understand what the disbursement is going to be and the place that they’re going to go. You’ve got to think outside the bubble.

There’s been a generation here of folks that grew up during that drought time. There was a twenty-year drought in Arizona. When the drought was tough and a lot of those animals were definitely isolated to those areas. They’re dispersed back out. You’ve got to open up your avenues. You’ve got to think outside the box and that’s been proven to be very successful for us. 2018 was a great example. We had phenomenal rain and we have some incredible success. We were able to go to places that the deer and elk were inhabiting where most people didn’t go, didn’t think about. They’d never ventured that deep into it because they never had to. They just go around that water tank and hunt within a mile of that water tank and be able to find what they found. When you have that water dispersed those deer and elk are going to be dispersed further. You’ve got to go out a little further and search but that’s where good optics comes in. That’s where an understanding of the terrain, understanding of the habitat, what deer and elk are going to do to be able to find it.

You've got to open up your avenues; you've got to think outside the box. Click To Tweet

We’re not hunting the Mogollon Rim area. You talk about glassing, how do I glass through that Pinyon juniper?

You’ve got to understand in this country there are a lot of elevations, it’s not flat. You’ll jump, there are knobs all over the place. You jump up on a knob. You can see it for miles especially with optics on a tripod, that’s exactly what we do. We have so many glassing locations and do-it-yourselfer is the same. They’ll be able to climb up on the knob with good optics and be able to glass every piece of country that they can certainly glass. It’s very conducive. I think even the Mogollon Rim is a little bit more difficult at times in some spots because of the plateaus here. We have rolling knobs and hills all over the place in this country in Northern Arizona. The only place that you start to struggle at, there could be places in Unit 9 for instance, because that is a great big plateau. Even then, understanding the terrain, understanding the country, knowing where the glassing points are, we set up our hunters phenomenally. That’s not an issue for us whatsoever.

That’s one thing, folks, if you come out west and no matter where you come, you’ve got to invest in good optics. Your boots have got to be the best that you can get and your optics are going to be the best you can get. Spend your money on your bow or in the arrows and bow heads but that’s my two cents. You have to have these optics because you’re covering thousands of acres. Is that a true statement, JP?

That is a true statement. It’s funny you say that because four of my sons when they were little boys, I give them my hand-me-down Swarovski Optiks before they ever got a rifle or a bow. They learned on a tripod how to glass at the age of four, five and six years old before they’re even shooting guns. They were glassing with the optics. I taught them how to glass. I taught them how to grid. I taught them how to use optics. You need to be more invested in your optics if you’re going to come to hunt the west, especially in Arizona and your boots. I love that you said that because people don’t understand that this stuff is rocky. There’s granite, there’s cinder, it tears your feet up. Have a good broken pair of boots and great optics. That’s more important, there’s no doubt about it. You’ve got to find the animal. You’ve got to get to them. You’ve got to find them before you can hunt.

WTR | OTC Deer Tags
OTC Deer Tags: You need to be more invested in your optics and boots if you’re going to come hunt the West, especially in Arizona.

Before you can put an arrow in them. We’re talking mostly archery hunting. I stopped him from going into the other species and everything. JP, tell them about the secret. We talked about the water, we talked about the overcoming opportunities. Recap that one more time.

In Arizona, you can come and buy the over-the-counter mule deer tag for Coues deer tag. That tag is good for the calendar year. Kill one deer a year but you could come hunt deer with your bow and you can hunt them in velvet, you can hunt them during the rut; pre-rut, full-rut, post-rut. You hunt them when it’s colder than back East, in the Midwest, be here in Arizona in December, January, when it’s 60, 70 degrees or hunting deer in the rut. They’ll find a place to be, caliber bucks. You’re going to be on around 170, I would say is your average top in. Some guys shoot lesser bucks 150, some guys shoot over 200 inches.

Every year you’ll see that’s happening but on average, I tell you that we’d be expecting about 170 caliber deer to hunt. That’s what our goal is for our hunters and that’s what we do. You come out, you can buy that tag over-the-counter. Walmart, Sportsman Warehouse, Cabela’s, wherever they sell hunting licenses. You buy a hunting license, it’s $160. You buy over-the-counter near tags for $300 and you’re here. We can provide you all sorts of hunting opportunities from for do-it-yourselfers all the way to fully-guided, outfitted hunts on private land. It’s not a problem. We will tailor your hunt to meet your needs and your budget. Get ahold of us and let us know how we can help you.

You have to have the best optics you can afford. If it’s between buying a new Mathews bow, Leica, Swarovski, Leupold, good quality optics, you’re going to spend on over $1,000 for spotting scope or a set of 10x55s. You’re going to set up on a tripod and put your butt down in a chair, on the ground whatever and you’re going to sit there until you find what you’re looking for. If you don’t find them, then you’re going to go someplace else until you find them because you can’t cover the ground. It’s impossible. Is that a true statement?

That’s a true statement and I want to reach out to them about the optics. There are so many great optic opportunities out there but I would tell you, find something the most money that you can afford. I know that we’re big on Leupold because Leupold just came out with an incredible new line and their optics are phenomenal. If somebody is looking for a very affordable price, take a look at the Leupold optics set. Their new 15x56s or 12x50s and their spotting scope, the Santiam are phenomenal. We spend a lot of time behind the optics and we’re excited about what Leupold is doing but if Swarovski is your brand, if Leica is your brand or Vortex, that’s fine too. Get what is best affordable for you. Make sure, if you’re going to come out, you learn how to use them and you understand that tripods are critical.

You can’t hand hold them. If you picked it up, you pick it apart by a grid and you’re looking for an antler on the grid. You’re looking for a flick of an ear. You’re looking for a patch of white where it doesn’t belong. That’s what you’re looking for. You’re not looking for deer. You’re looking for pieces of the deer then it takes skill over the years. You can look at a bush and there’s no deer there, then all of a sudden there’s a deer there. He’s bedded down and it’s magic. I’ve been there and I’ve done it. He was there all the time and I spent five hours trying to find this deer.

WTR | OTC Deer Tags
OTC Deer Tags: It’s imperative to be in the best shape you can be. The better shape you are, the more muscle memory and accurate you are, the more it increases your opportunities.

Another thing I want to tell people is it’s imperative too to be in the best shape as you can be. Shoot your bow and get in good shape because this stuff is not easy. The better shape you are, the more muscle memory and accurate you are with your bow. It increases your opportunities, no doubt about it.

Let’s talk about the opportunities that you wanted to bring up.

One of the things that I think people need to understand is Arizona is pretty much a draw state. Everybody wants to come and hunt and most everybody wants to hunt elk for instance. In theory, everybody has been told that it takes twenty plus years and a lifetime to draw an elk tag. A fact of the matter is that there are a lot of hunting opportunities out there in Arizona that you can actually draw an elk tag. It was interesting, there were some leftover permits. They come out every unit and gave out all the tags. There were fifteen leftover permits and I looked at some of those permits. There were a couple of bull tags, believe it or not.

By Arizona standards, some people think, “That’s not such a great unit,” but think about this. Anywhere in Arizona, you can come here and hunt elk and shoot a 300-inch caliber elk. You can kill a bull at 300 inches, and people are paying big money to go to Colorado, Montana and that’s what they’re typically going to kill. There are some hunts out there that you could literally draw as a non-resident every other year or every couple of years. One of them has got a limited opportunity hunter, some limited opportunity areas in Arizona. We actually live right in the heart of one of the best ones, and that’s what we call the block Unit, there’s 17, 18, 19, 20.

Some southern border of Unit 10, which is a legendary area for big bulls and it’s on the western border of Unit 8. That’s right in the middle of a ranch. I had Rizza from Leupold. She never ever applied. She drew a tag this year. It’s the first time she applied and that typically happens but it takes about two or three bonus points. You can draw that permit in Arizona and you can be hunting elks. I talked to these guys that had been waiting twenty years. “I’m 22 years, I’m waiting from elk day.” Think about this, they might have been here already ten or eleven times if they would’ve done it that way. The caliber of bulls on average, we’re killing 330, 340 caliber bulls on that hunt.

Is it this DIY or is this private land?

There’s public land and private land. There are some guys who come here and killed 400-inch bulls on that hunt. I tell people, “Talk to us about the opportunities here. I can educate you to get yourself the elk tag number one in your hands. You can DIY at public lands. You can come and hunt the public land and private land with us but I know this much, we’re 100% successful on our harvesting.” In 2018 with ten hunters, all ten killed bulls. 335 is our average in 2018 in a drought year.

That’s a late season rifle hunt. It’s five weeks long. You can hunt with your bow if you want. The archery hunt during the rut is very difficult anywhere to get in Arizona. That is the one tag that the stigma of it may take you five, ten, fifteen years to draw a tag but you might go to a lesser unit. Everybody is trying to draw the Unit 9 tag, Unit 10 tag, Unit 1, the 3A, 3Cs. How about some of these other Units, 4A, 4B, 22? You go over there and shoot a 300-inch bull to 350 bull and you don’t have to wait twenty years to draw that tag. If they contact, they tell us what their expectation is.

What you’re saying, you’re sharing it to thousands and thousands of people but if somebody called and said, “I don’t want to wait ten years. I can’t afford $5,000 or $10,000. How can you help me get an archery tag with the fewest points?”

Here’s what I tell people. First of all, we have no problem sharing information there. Knowledge is power if you share it. That’s our goal. That’s what we want to do. I tell people to get involved and sign up to goHUNT. They can look at their statistics and their odds and that we take their bonus points, what they have and we take a look at what their plan is. Together with using all the different resources that are out there, we come up with a best possible plan to get them to tag for the type of hunt that they want to get. They’ve got to be realistic because you could go on goHUNT and look at the hunting odds. You can type in that you have five bonus points.

Knowledge is power if you share it. Click To Tweet

They can give you the spit out exactly where your best opportunities are to draw the tag. You can put it in you want to hunt archery. You can hunt during the rut or if it’s the late season, but again, think about this. Is it worth waiting twenty years for a tag when most people’s goal is to shoot a 350 bull when you could have come out of here to Arizona and hunted seven or ten times and probably had that opportunity in that caliber of bull? Those bulls live and exist in Arizona. I believe there’s not a Unit in Arizona that doesn’t hold out that a guy couldn’t come here and shoot it a 350 bull if he put his time and effort in.

That’s a pretty bold statement but you live there and I don’t. You mentioned Brady Miller. He does it every year. He comes in and kills one 180 mule deer and Brady works for goHUNT. He does it every single year in 180 class in areas that people wouldn’t put in. He comes and figures it out. He lives out in Nevada and he figures it out. I’m trying to support the information that JP is sharing and the information out there. Do your research. 180 class deer is a great deer. Are you going to shoot 200 in every single unit in Colorado? Maybe, but I know there are 180s.

That’s the same thing. The magic number everybody seems to be stuck on is 400 but I’m saying to you is you can look statistically. You can pay attention, especially with nowadays social media. People are shooting 340, 350 bulls in every unit in the state for elk. The opportunity is there. This is a limited opportunity. There weren’t supposed to be elk here in the first year that they opened it and they killed seven bulls over 400-inches.

Isn’t that something?

That’s crazy. It’s phenomenal and we’re excited about this year’s elk season in Arizona.

They get the protein when they’re growing their horns. Let’s talk about other opportunities.

Over-the-counter mule deer hunting that we talked about, drawing for elk isn’t so difficult. Antelope tags are very difficult to draw. You’ve got to put your time in but I know guys that are applying. This could hit on that lottery if they don’t have two or three bonus points and draw antelope tags but again, it’s the same thing with the antelope. You don’t have to draw the Unit 10 tag. You don’t have to draw the 19A tag or the 19B tag. There are great hunting opportunities anywhere in the state. Draw yourself an antelope tag. You go to 21, you go up to the Strip. Very few people like to go hunting antelope in the Strip. There are great bucks in all that. People need to do their research and take a look at what the opportunities are out there. There are some other great opportunities down here.

People just need to do the research and take a look at what the opportunities are out there. Click To Tweet

You can buy over-the-counter about mountain lion tags. You can buy over-the-counter black bear tags and come hunt them. You come hunt during the archery mule deer hunts in January. If you can buy yourself a Javelina tag and hunt Javelina, everybody knows that God put the Javelina on the earth to bow hunters. That’s why they exist. There’re all sorts of great hunting opportunities. We want to get that information out and let people understand that they can come to Arizona and they don’t have to wait twenty years and take advantage of it.

It’s the most hidden secret in the West. We want people to know it. We want people to come out and have those opportunities, whether they book with us is irrelevant. Come and hunt the opportunities in Arizona and you don’t have to hunt Northern Arizona. Southern Arizona it’s phenomenal and that’s where most of the mule deer are but think about this. You talk about Sonora mule deer. Sonora border right there south of Tucson, all that country got some giant mule deer in it too as well. We do host a camp down there. We tied in with Arizona Trophy Outfitters. We worked together with them and we put hunters in Southern Arizona as well. They wanted Coues deer and see if they can’t lay their eyes on one of those big snoring bucks, absolutely.

That’s desert because you get those big Saguaro cactus.

If you’re hunting January in the desert that’s where it’s about 80 degrees out there too. It’s not 100 but our deer is in the rut in January. In Northern Arizona and Southern Arizona, the deer are rutting. There are great opportunities out there, for sure.

Let’s talk about DIY techniques. They don’t have a guide. Is it still spot and stalk where I’m setting up on water and I’m waiting to come in or am I calling it? What am I doing?

All of the above. First of all, most DIY guys like the spot and stalk. That’s been my experience with them. If they don’t have time to scout and they buy a scouting package, we will tell them and show them on trail cameras what deer are coming in the water. They could set up blind and shoot one out of a blind if they wanted to, if that’s how they wanted to hunt. You brought up a good point. Our Arizona deer do not get called a lot, so your bleating works here. That’s a great hunting opportunity if guys are trying to figure out how to get some deer to come. That deer bleating is a great hunting opportunity for people. You hit a deer bleat and you’d be surprised those deer would come running. It’s fun to do but all of the above, spot and stalk is the most common way.

Get a good optics, good shape when you shoot your bow, make your moves. Understand it. You’ve always got to pay attention to that wind and know what the wind’s doing. The most common way that people get busted is that wind and Arizona winds, because of the thermals and we have predominant winds out of the Southwest. Things change. I always look at all these different weather apps during the day you can actually look at the direction of the wind. You might be doing this in the morning but the afternoon it might become somewhere different. You’ve got to pay attention to that for sure. The scouting pack is helpful because I can tell you where the deer are watering and when they’re watering there.

You have to be cognizant of the thermals. It’s cold there in the morning then it heats up, then it’s going to rise. The deer are better where they can see and all that stuff. It doesn’t change. If you are hunting whitetails, the deer are doing the same thing. They need food, water and cover. They need the same thing. You have to sort it out. It’s a different environment.

Those are the hunting opportunities that we have and everything, all of the above. I hope that we can get the information out. Let people know to come out here and give it a shot. I tell you, I have not talked to one person that hasn’t come out on that OTC hunt that said, “I cannot wait to come back and do it again.” It’s a great place to be in January. Nobody even realizes it. In January, people are sitting there freezing and thinking, “I wish I was out and hunting.” Here in Arizona we’re pounding it, grinding it all the way to the end of the month. It’s phenomenal.

You’ve got an invite from Big Chino. Tell the folks how to get ahold of you to make the call and say, “I’ve got about $2,500 to spend. I want to come and get a couple of buddies to come. Four of us are going to jump into trucks and roll.”

First of all, you can call me direct at area code (928) 925-9395. You can email me at or get on Instagram and look at our Instagram, become a follower there and just private message us. We sure can make that happen. It’s not a problem at all.

This has been fun. Big Chino, I look forward to the day I show up and drive into your driveway. With that, thanks for being a guest. You’re a wealth of knowledge. I appreciate you taking your time and sharing it with people because I guarantee people are going to say, “I didn’t know that.”

First of all, we are humbled and we thank you for the opportunity. If we can give you or any hunters any information to help them, come out and join the West especially in Arizona. Get rid of that stigma that you had to wait twenty years to come hunt here. Take advantage of those opportunities while they’re there. You’ll never know what’s going to happen if there’s ever going to be a change in game laws or if they ever make this draw. 170-inch mule deer on average, you can expect it if you put your time and effort in. It doesn’t get much better than that.

With that, we’re going to close this segment of Whitetail Rendezvous.

Important Links:

About JP Vicente


WTR | OTC Deer TagsJP Vicente Founded Big Chino Guide Service in 1987. His passion for hunting has led him to find every opportunity to be in the field and that is how Big Chino Guide Service emerged! The desire to hunt trophies with JP is in the forefront of every hunter that Big Chino guides. With a long history of field experience, JP is most known for calling in monster bulls and shooting trophy bucks. He has spent so many days in the field with the monarchs of the southwest in which allows JP to have a vast knowledge of hunting these true trophies. JP and crew has countless days be hind glass as in the southwest spotting and stalking is by far one of the most successful tactics. JP is a native Arizona kid that grew up in the outdoors of the central mountains of Arizona He is married to Shawn Vicente whom have been married since 1983.In which they have raise a family with 2 sons, Michael and Junior and A daughter Brianna. Their children grew up hunting and fishing and are now raising their families in the outdoors. JP served in the US Army as a Flight Medic and has a well established Career as a Fire Captain Paramedic. JP loves spending time teaching youth hunters and non hunters that are getting involved in the outdoors how to hunt and leave the least impact of the environment. The “Leave No Trace” theory of the US Forest Service is something that JP takes seriously and when in the outdoors keeps that as a priority when in the outdoors. JP seeks serious trophy hunters to hunt with and hopes that you will call soon to visit about hunting in Arizona and Sonora Mexico. Feel free to contact JP direct at any time. Email: or on his cell phone: 928-925-9395