Unit 43A – Arizona
Overview: The primary area of bighorn sheep density is in the north end of the Dome Rock Mountains on the north side of Interstate 10. This area of land is managed almost exclusively by BLM but caution must be exerted because the Colorado River Indian Tribe’s boundary is northwest of this mountain range and is not marked clearly. For instance, La Paz Mountain lies mostly within the CRIT reservation boundary. Another herd of bighorn sheep are located south of the Dome Rock Mountains in the North and South Trigo Peaks mountains that are located on the Yuma Proving Grounds. Pre-hunt scouting is very important to a successful hunt in this unit. As with many wild animals, bighorn sheep are migratory and will move from one mountain range to another so it is important that several trips are made to locate the animals before the hunt begins.
Areas: The north end of the Dome Rock Mountains is accessed through the town of Quartzsite. From Main Street, take Kofa Avenue that is located across from Pilot Gas Station. Travel north on Kofa Avenue approximately 1.5 miles and you will notice to your left a road leading into the desert. There are numerous wildcat roads branching from the main road but stay on the main road. Travel four miles into the desert and you will start to climb into Middle Camp Mountain. This is called Marquetta Pass. Access into this pass has become limited due to the fact that a small parcel of private property has been fenced and gated, blocking the road. You can access this range using Diablo Pass, which is the pass just east of Marquetta. This is a very rough road and four-wheel-drive is needed. Again, be aware that there is a lot of private mining activity in the area and care should be taken not to disturb their operation or property. Marquetta Pass can also be accessed from the North through Boyer Gap. To get here take the dirt road going to the west at milepost 114 off of 95 north of the town of Quartzsite. Continue west out of Tyson wash until you get to Boyer Gap, and then take roads to the south until you get to Marquetta Pass. These roads are very rough and four wheel drive is needed. This route will take a few hours.
To access the North and South Trigo Peaks, take Highway 95 south from Quartzsite to milepost 82 (Cibola Road). Travel west on this road for about 30 miles. This will bring you to the base of the South Trigo Peaks. There are several unmarked roads that will take you back around the peaks. It is suggested to purchase a map from BLM to help in locating these roads. Once you have located this area you will have to do some legwork. Hiking to the tops of the peaks and glassing the area will be the most productive.
As expected, these animals live in some of the most rugged habitat in Arizona. Care should be taken when hiking these mountain ranges. The terrain is made up mostly of shale rock and is very hazardous when hiking up and down. It is suggested more time be spent with your spotting scope and binoculars than actual hiking around the mountains
Overview: The majority of the deer in this unit will be found near the Colorado River between Ehrenberg and Cibola. There is a large deer herd on the Cibola NWR. The deer may travel between the refuge and the desert areas to the east up to the base of the Trigo Mountains, using the various washes that lead to the river. Hiking to the peaks of the nearby hills and glassing the low flat country leading to the river will should also be an effective method. In addition to the river, there are numerous wildlife waters in the area which get heavy use during the hot summer months. Glassing the areas around the north and south Trigo Peaks along with the west side of the Dome Rock Mountains south of the I-10 should be productive. In this unit, as in any unit, you will have to do your preseason home work and scout.
Areas: Unit 43A has numerous land ownership including BLM, State Land, Yuma Proving Ground and private. It is advised to always know what land you are hunting and camping on. Driving west bound on Interstate 10 take exit number 5, the Tom Wells exit, and drive south of the freeway approximately five miles. This will bring you into the west side of the Dome Rock Mountains. From here you will be able to glass the lower valley area leading towards the Colorado River. In addition there are numerous washes that are used as traveling corridors by the deer.
Driving south on Highway 95 from Quartzsite to milepost 82, Cibola road. Turn west and take this road approximately 30 miles west to the north and south Trigo peaks. Be aware that this road travels through the Yuma Proving Grounds which is managed by the army. Be sure to obey all signs and posted notices. There are a couple of unmarked roads leading back into the peaks but it is recommended to put a little leg work in this area because there are several bowls in the mountains that will not be observed from the road.
The Cibola area is probably one of the most popular spots in the unit. This area is encompassed by the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, along with private land and many homes. There are two ways to get to Cibola. First, take the Cibola Road from Highway 95. This is about a 45-mile trip over a well maintained dirt road. Second you can go into California at Blythe and follow the signs along state route 78. From the Cibola area there are many washes leading to the mountain range. As stated earlier, these washes are used by the deer as travel corridors and hunting them back to the east could prove to be very productive. For rules and regulations that apply on the refuge, contact the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge or stop by their headquarters in Cibola.
In Cibola, there is also the Cibola Valley Conservation and Wildlife Area, which offers good archery deer hunting opportunity. There is no rifle hunting on the Wildlife Area, and other rules and regulations apply.
Overview: There is good dove hunting along the Colorado River between Ehrenberg and Cibola, and on the Cibola NWR. On Interstate 10 take exit 1, Ehrenberg. Go past the Flying J Travel Center and you will see a sign indicating river access. Turn left here onto Oxbow road and drive south along the river. It is about 18 miles along this road to Cibola, with the best dove hunting starting about 10 miles south of Ehrenberg. In Cibola, there is good opportunity for dove hunting on the agricultural fields of the Cibola Valley Conservation and Wildlife Area. There are also some popular dove hunting spots around the Quartzsite area. At milepost 114 off of state route 95, take the dirt road west towards Tyson Wash and Scott’s Lead Well.
Overview: The outlook for quail hunting is fair to good on the Cibola NWR. Hunters should have success on the Island Unit, which is open for quail hunting until 3:00pm. Quail hunting is also permitted on Farm Unit II except during the goose hunt. Be sure to read the Cibola NWR hunting regulations. These can be found in kiosks at the entrance to the refuge, on the island unit, and at the refuge office. Be aware that these regulations are revised often.
Besides the Cibola NWR, there is a good amount of quail dispersed along the river corridor between Cibola and Ehrenberg. Hunters should have some success with fair to good opportunity along the Oxbow Road, and in the surrounding desert areas.
Overview: Cibola is home to some of the best waterfowl hunting in Arizona, and there is good opportunity on the Cibola NWR. For duck hunting, the Island Unit is the most popular hunting area. Hunters should have success along the east meander, and also at Pretty Water. There is also good duck hunting in the old river channel, which can be accessed by boat. As for geese, typically the highest concentration of birds occurs from the middle of November through December. Farm Unit II on the refuge offers controlled spaced blind goose hunting opportunities. To participate in this hunt you must either put your name into a drawing, or you may take the place of someone who did not show up on a first come-first serve basis, on the morning of the hunt. Contact the Refuge office for more information and additional regulations, or visit their website. There is also a private sportsmen’s club in Cibola that offers a good opportunity for waterfowl hunting.