MMRR1 – Trophy Bear Hunts in Arizona with Mike Mells Ram Riders Guides & Outfitters
Trophy Bear Hunts in Arizona, White Mountain Apache Reservation
World Class black bear hunting in Arizona with an extremely high percentage of color phase bears.
This outfitter has been operating on the famous White Mountain Apache Reservation since 1982. They specialize in trophy quality black bear hunting, and the White Mountain Apache Nation is home to some of the premier black bear hunting in the world. Known for having large color phase bears, the Tribal biologist estimates that 50% of all the bears on the Reservation are color phase. For this specific hunting unit, we believe this number to be even higher!
For the spring/summer hunting season, each outfitter is assigned their own area. This outfitter operates in Area 1, and they have strived to manage the bear population in this unit to produce old mature boars. It is the goal to have a sow harvest percentage of less than 10% annually. They have met that goal yearly, without fail.
- World class black bear hunting with extremely high percentage of color phase bears.
- White Mountain Apache Reservation in eastern/central Arizona.
- Western style wall tent camp, with camp trailers available if special accommodations are desired.
- Full time cook excellent food.
- Guaranteed tags.
- Two bears per hunter.
- Spring Hunts – May 1 through August 31. (The May and June dates have excellent weather in the 7,000 ft elevation Ponderosa mountains of Arizona.)
- Fall Hunts – October 10 through November 15.
You can hunt just about anyway you would like.
You truly have free reign to choose to hunt however you wish, and the outfitter will cater to your wants and needs. Tags are purchased by the outfitter from the Tribal Game and Fish Department. Each hunter may purchase up to two tags per yea, and there can be up to four hunters in camp per week.
- The outfitter has highly trained hounds that excel year round on both mountain lion and black bear.
- You can hunt over bait sites, with either a rifle or a bow.
- You can spot-and-stalk, or sit water in the hot summer months.
- Professional guide.
- All meals, drinks and lodging is included in the price of the hunt.
- Trophy care is also included, skinning, packing, quartering meat.
- Hides are frozen or put on ice to be transported either to our local taxidermist or prepared to travel home to your taxidermist.
- A weapon can be provided if requested.
*Prices subject to change without notice, so lock your price in with a deposit asap.
- Trip Insurance
- Transport to and from the airport is not included.
- The cost of the bear tags are not included.
- Taxidermy is not included. We will transport the hide to a local taxidermist, but the hunter is responsible for fees for any services rendered once delivered.
Lodging and Accommodations
A large western style camp is set every year. Davis wall tents with floors and carpet, cots with mattresses etc.. There is a shower facility in camp, and hot running water is always available. A large dining trailer with commercial range and oven is used and a full time cook is employed. This outfitter has a reputation of providing the nicest camps and the finest food anywhere. Camp is near 7,000 ft. Temperatures are usually moderate. Chilly at night with lows in the 40s and highs in the 70s. Subject to weather of course.
- Wall tents or camp trailers are provided.
- There is a shower in camp.
- Fishing is available not far from camp.
- There are two country clubs 45 min from camp if a hunter would like to golf in the morning and hunt in the afternoon, it can be arranged. The cost of the course is not included.
Typical Dinner Menus
- Prime Rib
- Tacos, rice and beans
- Grilled Buffalo Chicken
- Spaghetti or Lasagna
- Pork Chops
A salad is served every night. Sides typically include corn on the cob, grilled vegetables, rice, pasta salad etc.
We do send out a food questionnaire to inquire about food allergies and specific dislikes. Our cook does like changing things up so special accommodations can be made if given notice.
The two primary guides have both have been with the outfitter for 5+ years, and are extremely accomplished and experienced. While hunting, the primary mode of transportation is by truck. They use Toyota pickups outfitted with headache racks and winch’s. It is their job and goal to get you on and off the mountain safely and securely.
When a bear is taken near a bait site they are almost always able to get them out while with a winch and a ramp. If a vehicle cannot get near the animal, the bear is skinned on-site. The White Mountain Apache Reservation does not require us to pack the meat out but most hunters want the meat. If you do wish to keep the meat, it is quartered and all meat is packed out by the guides.
Typical Daily Schedule
When hunting over bait for black bear the afternoon and evening is the most efficient time of day to hunt. Therefore, the mornings while bait hunting are quite leisurely, a large breakfast will be served once everyone is awake, typically around 8-8:30Am. A large number of bait sites are maintained so we can rotate hunting locations and not “shoot out” our baits, these baits need to be “freshened up” every 2-3 days so the guides will set out to baiting for the day. Hunters have the choice to tag along or to relax in camp. Most tag along as it is a great way to see the beautiful country. Hunters who choose to stay in camp can trout fish during the day in a Creek approximately 3 miles from camp( a tribal license is required but is sold over the counter or online). A large lunch is typically served around 1pm and around 2pm hunters and guides will make their way to the bait site they plan to hunt that evening. ALL BAIT sites are vehicle accessible and are friendly to both the young and the elderly. The evening hunt is usually from 3-8pm or dark. Upon which time we return to camp to find a large dinner ready and waiting inside a warm dining trailer.
When hound hunting we usually leave camp at the crack of daylight, we will hunt until noon or so depending on heat and location. We then return to camp eat a large lunch and the hunter can decide if he or she would like to sit a bait that night or just relax in camp.
Hunters will fly into Phoenix Arizona. Camp is a approximately a 2.5 hour drive from Sky Harbor airport, and the drive is rental car friendly. We do recommend a small SUV in case of weather. Hunters that arrive midday will have the option of hunting that evening or starting fresh in the morning. Tags will be waiting in camp upon arrival. You should plan on one travel day on the day of arrival, and one on the day of departure from camp. However, we have had many clients harvest bears the same day they arrive in camp! Your six hunting days in the field do not include the day you arrive. You will get six full days of hunting.
*There is also a small airport in Payson, Arizona. If a hunter flies into Payson we can arrange pickup (45 minutes away).
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Suggested Gear List for Spring Bear Hunts Over Bait
Spring isn’t just for turkey hunting! Big game hunters take advantage of this time of year to hunt bears. The gear you take on these hunts is different than what you’d take on a fall bear hunt.
The weather during spring bear season can vary widely, swinging from pleasant and sunny to wind, rain, and even snow….all in one day. You need to bring gear to cover all of those situations, while staying lightweight.
Travel and Camp Gear
- Passport and Airline ticket
- Personal first-aid items (ie. Aspirin, Motrin, Tums, prescriptions, band-aids, lip balm, extra glasses, insect repellent, etc.).
- Toiletries (ie. soap, shampoo, unscented deodorant, etc.).
- Jeans, T-Shirts, Sweatshirts, Sweatpants, etc. for lounging around the camp and/or after the hunt.
- Camp Shoes (ie. sneakers, slippers)
- Sleeping bag and pad.
Hunting Clothing should be medium to lightweight for the typical hunt.
Temperatures can vary, therefore we suggest taking two sets. One for cool to mild weather, another for warm to hot weather. Any camo pattern is fine (ie. Sitka, Kuiu, Realtree, Mossyoak, etc.).
- Rain gear (head to toe). Camo, quiet type.
- Bug suit and/or mosquito head net.
- Thermal underwear (lightweight).
- Multiple pair of socks.
- Rubber Boots. Leather/Goretex boots are fine, however make sure they are waterproof.
- Camo hat with brim.
- Orange hat with brim and vest (if required).
- Rifle with scope – 270, 30.06, 300, 338, 7mm, etc. & ammo. If flying, do not pack ammo in gun case. Must be packed in your other gear bag on airplane.
- Archery hunters – Bow, arrows, broadheads, hand release, and all other related equipment.
- Treestand or Ground Blind
- Hard gun/bow case with locks (for airplane transport).
- A soft gun/bow case to transport rifle/bow to and from stand.
- Lens pen for cleaning binoculars & scope.
- Flashlight/Headlamp with extra batteries
- Backpack/Fanny Pack with Water Bottle and/or Thermos.
- Camera/Video Camera & Film