18A Habitat Restoration Project

Project Overview

The Arizona Deer Association is proud to be among the leaders of one of the largest, boldest and most comprehensive wildlife improvement projects in the history of our state. The 18A Project plans to cover approximately 500,000 acres of what we hope will once again be prime wildlife habitat.

Deer numbers in 18A have dropped significantly since the 1980’s mostly due to drought and the reduction of browse plants. What was once a vast and continuous stand of this important browse is now dense and overstocked with stands of juniper and pinyon pine. Improvement on the browse condition in Unit 18A will benefit future deer numbers, as well as antelope and elk habitat.

Those familiar with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation know that hunting tag allocations are a direct reflection of the population size and habitat conditions that drive those populations. To give you some idea of the negative trend in 18A, there were 2,000 mule deer buck rifle permits in 1980. In recent years, that number has dropped to 350.

No single group can raise the funds needed (over $5,000,000) over the next five years to complete this monumental project. So we are excited to work with groups like the Mule Deer Foundation, Arizona Antelope Foundation, Quail Unlimited and Pheasants Forever to help fund this project for the next five years. One of the main sources of revenue for this project is proceeds from the Arizona Game and Fish Commissioner’s Tag for Mule Deer. In 2020, the Arizona Deer Association auctioned one of these tags for $225,000 and the Mule Deer Foundation auctioned the other for $260,000.

We look forward to updating you on the projects that improve browse conditions, remove fencing that impacts wildlife movement in the area and improves water availability. 

Looking for ways you can help? Become a member of the Arizona Deer Association, purchase raffle tickets for our great prizes throughout the year and contact us for volunteer opportunities on the 18A Project. 

Also be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for project updates.


18A Project

ADA President Don McDowell visits 18A with AZGFD's Wade Zarlingo.

18A Project Receives $2.8 Million in Federal Funding

The Arizona Deer Association is proud to have partnered with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to help secure $2.8 million from the USDA’s National Resources Conservation Service. These funds will be put on the ground to restore grassland and woodland habitat connectivity as part of the 18A Project in northern Arizona.

“The Arizona Deer Association has adopted the 18A Project in northern Arizona as a Premier Wildlife Project,” said ADA President Don McDowell. “Our members have been huge proponents of this project because of the benefits it will have not only for the mule deer and pronghorn antelope, but the entire ecosystem of the area. We donated $10,000 to kick off the effort and look forward to raising more funds and putting volunteer hours on the ground for this project.”

The Arizona Deer Association thanks the USDA for their commitment to our nation’s wildlife. This $2.8 million in funding to Arizona is part of $206 million in funding to 48 partner-driven projects across 29 states. For more information on the program and its projects, visit their website.

U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar’s support of this project is greatly appreciated.

The Arizona Deer Association also thanks the Arizona Game and Fish Department for its partnership and congratulates them for the work done to secure this funding.


Click here for ways you can support the Arizona Deer Association.