Wildlife News - Dec. 30, 2008
Dec 30, 2008

Wildlife News - Dec. 30, 2008

  • New state OHV laws go into effect Jan. 1
  • New Apprentice Hunting License offers a “test drive” at no cost
  • Meet the Arizona Game and Fish Commission at January meeting
  • Honor your fellow conservationists at the Commission Awards Banquet
  • Hunting seasons that carry over into January require a 2009 hunting license
  • Yuma open house to provide details on the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program and backwater site selection near Yuma
  • Ben Avery Shooting Facility has shooting programs for all
  • Annual Bald Eagle Workshop set for Flagstaff
  • Give a magazine gift subscription and get a free wildlife calendar
  • Arizona Wildlife Views television series begins new season in January on PBS
  • 2009 Outdoor Expo slated for late March

 

New state OHV laws go into effect Jan. 1

Off-highway vehicle (OHV) enthusiasts are reminded that new laws affecting OHV use in Arizona go into effect Jan. 1, 2009. Here are some important facts that you need to know:

  • Effective Jan. 1, 2009, you must annually purchase an off-highway vehicle decal (OHV Decal) for any off-highway vehicle you have that is designed by the manufacturer primarily for off-highway use AND weighs 1,800 pounds or less, in order to operate it in Arizona. This includes most all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), side-by-sides (utility vehicles), dirt bikes and some sand rails. The OHV Decal must be affixed to your OHV’s license plate.

  • All OHVs must have an Arizona Certificate of Title and license plate prior to purchasing the OHV Decal. If the vehicle is not titled you will need to visit an Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) office or authorized third-party provider to obtain an Arizona Certificate of Title. If your vehicle is already titled and has a license plate, you can obtain the OHV Decal online at www.servicearizona.com beginning January 1, 2009. If you don’t ride regularly, by law you must have a title for your vehicle by July 1, 2009. For more information go online to www.azdot.gov/mvd.

  • The OHV Decal can be purchased after Jan. 1, 2009 at www.servicearizona.com or after Jan. 2, 2009 by visiting MVD offices or authorized third-party providers during normal business hours. The decal is not available through the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The cost of the OHV Decal is $25. Revenues generated from the OHV Decal will help better manage Arizona’s rapidly growing OHV use, protect natural resources, and ensure sustainable OHV opportunities.

  • The OHV Decal is an annual user fee that is not the same as “registration.” Registration refers to the process that is required if you want to legally ride your off-highway vehicle on improved and maintained roads and streets.

  • Travel is limited to roads, trails and areas open by the land management agency for motorized vehicle use. Travel that causes damage to cultural or natural resources, or property or improvements, is prohibited.

  • OHVs must have a muffler or noise dissipative device to limit sound to less than 96 decibels.

  • Anyone under the age of 18 will be required to wear a properly fitted and fastened U.S. Department of Transportation approved helmet when riding any OHV.

For information on safe and responsible use, visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department at www.azgfd.gov/ohv.

For information on the OHV Decal, titling or registration, visit the Motor Vehicle Division at www.azdot.gov/mvd.

For information on where to ride in Arizona, visit the Arizona State Parks at www.azstateparks.gov/ohv.

For information on recreating on state land, visit the Arizona State Land Department at www.land.state.az.us.

 

New Apprentice Hunting License offers a “test drive” at no cost
License encourages sportsmen to mentor others, assist hunter recruitment effort in Arizona

Effective Jan. 1, the Arizona Game and Fish Department is offering a new “Apprentice Hunting License,” at no charge, to encourage existing hunters to become mentors and introduce a friend, neighbor, relative, or co-worker to the traditions and importance of hunting.

The Apprentice License allows an already licensed hunter to take a beginner on an actual hunt—without the beginner having to buy a hunting license. The Apprentice License is free for residents and nonresidents and is valid for two consecutive days for the take of small game, fur-bearing, predatory and nongame mammals, nongame birds, and upland game birds. (To take migratory birds or waterfowl, the appropriate stamps are required at normal costs). The license is not valid for the take of big game.

Many people express an interest in hunting but are deterred either because of not knowing how to get started or the initial expense. The Apprentice Hunting License removes the initial cost barrier of having to buy a license (which costs between $26.50 and $151.25, depending on age and residency), so that newcomers can “try before they buy.”

“This will allow a seasoned hunter to take someone new under their wing and teach them the basics about hunting, firearm safety, and wildlife conservation without cost prohibitive burdens,” said Chairman Bill McLean of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. “There are many states with this type of license, and it has become a model for removing barriers in the national effort to increase hunter participation.”

The Apprentice Hunting License is only available at Arizona Game and Fish Department offices. The mentor must be at least 18 years old and possess a valid hunting license and is limited to two Apprentice Hunting Licenses per calendar year. The license must be made out to the name of the apprentice, with the mentor’s name associated with the license. The apprentice can only receive one license per calendar year. The mentor is required to be with the apprentice at all times while in the field, providing instruction and supervision on safe and ethical hunting.

“This is a great opportunity to help preserve and expand Arizona’s hunting heritage and wildlife management through the next generation,” said Craig McMullen, Hunter Heritage Work Group team leader for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “Not only will this allow someone new to experience the thrill of the hunt, this also allows mentors to teach others about wildlife conservation and the important role that hunters, as conservationists play, in the management of all wildlife.”

“Outside of getting new hunters in the field, safety is our number one concern. Hunting in Arizona is very safe, and we have one of the lowest accident rates in the United States,” said Dave Williams, hunter education coordinator of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “A good mentor will instill the basics of wearing hunter orange and how to safely handle a firearm through T.A.B.+1: Treat every firearm as if it were loaded; Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction; Be sure of your target and beyond; and keep your finger outside of the trigger guard until you are ready to shoot. Nearly every hunting-related accident can be avoided by following these simple principles”

However, with the added flexibility comes added responsibility. Mentors need to set a good example to these impressionable new comers. Mentors should consider the following guidelines:

  • Focus on the experience not the harvest

  • Obey all laws

  • Keep your apprentices physical limits in mind

  • Be informative

  • Teach field dressing and cooking

  • Take pictures

  • Plan a follow-up outing

 Seasoned hunters can start the New Year giving. By introducing someone new to hunting, you are giving the gift of the American hunting heritage. Quail season runs until Feb. 8, 2009, cottontail rabbit season runs all year long and the both make excellent quarry (as well as, great table fare) for new hunters. A 2009 hunting license is required beginning Jan. 1, 2009.

Visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department self-paced online hunter education course to learn more about hunting safely, hunting ethically, the history of hunting, wildlife management success stories, firearm safety, and more at: www.hunter-ed.com/az.

  

Meet the Arizona Game and Fish Commission at January meeting 

You’ll have a chance to meet the members of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission and provide your input on the department’s activities and priorities when the commission holds its annual “Meet the Commission” event on Saturday, Jan. 17. The public is highly encouraged to attend.

The meeting will be held at the department’s headquarters at 5000 W. Carefree Highway in Phoenix. The chairman’s welcome and commissioner introductions start at 1:30 p.m., followed by a presentation of the “Year in Review” video and then a question-and-answer session. 

"Every year, we hold this event to give our customers a chance to get to know the Arizona Game and Fish commissioners who make the decisions that affect them," says department Ombudsman Marty Fabritz. "Each commissioner will make a statement, and then, the public can ask questions and give comments about what's important to them." 

Later that evening, the Commission Awards Banquet will be held Saturday evening at the Four Points by Sheraton Phoenix North, 10220 N. Metro Parkway East in Phoenix. Reservation and ticket price information is included in the Commission Award Banquet article in this issue. 

On Friday, Jan. 16, the commission will hold its regularly scheduled meeting at the department headquarters, 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix. The meeting starts at 8 a.m. with an executive session, followed by the public session. Items on the agenda include:  

  • A presentation to the commission on the status and recent activities associated with the department’s “Areas of Conservation Priority” and future geographic information system (GIS) mapping efforts.

  • A presentation to the commission on potential future mechanisms for incorporating wildlife habitat protection measures into local and state land use planning processes.

  • A presentation to the commission on the process required to legally name the hills on the Ben Avery Shooting Facility as a topographical feature.

  • Hearings on license revocations for violation of Game and Fish codes and civil assessments for the illegal taking and/or possession of wildlife.

  • A vote to elect a commission chair, vice-chair, and chairs of various standing committees for 2009.

For a complete agenda, visit www.azgfd.gov/commission and click on the commission agenda link.

 

Honor your fellow conservationists at the Commission Awards Banquet

There are still tickets available for the Arizona Game and Fish Commission's Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday, Jan. 17 at the Four Points by Sheraton Phoenix North, 10220 N. Metro Parkway East in Phoenix.

The banquet recognizes individuals and organizations that have contributed to Arizona's wildlife resources and the mission of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The event begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and presentation of the commission awards.

This year’s award recipients include:

  • Award of Excellence – Senator Linda Gray, Clyde Halstead, John Wintersteen, Chandler Rod and Gun Club, Off-Highway Vehicle Legislative Work Group, United Arizona Anglers Foundation.

  • Youth Environmentalist of the Year – Arizona Envirothon State Champions (Clint Hales, Zach Hare, Natalie Lucas, Michelle Scmoker and Rachel Stringer, all at Sinagua High School).

  • Outdoor Writer of the Year – J.C. Amberlyn.

  • Media of the Year – Arizona Boating and Watersports.

  • Conservation Organization of the Year – Phoenix Zoo.

  • Conservationist of the Year – Marty Underwood.

  • Environmentalist of the Year – Warner Glenn.

  • Volunteers of the Year – Steve Hopkins, Dave Hoyle.

  • Educator of the Year – Debi Molina-Walters.

  • License Dealer of the Year – Sportsman’s Warehouse.

  • Outdoor Woman of the Year – Betty Mason.

  • Wildlife Habitat Stewardship Award – Peggy Ingham

Individual tickets are $50. Tables of 10 are $470 - a discount of $30. To obtain a reservation form, contact Marty Fabritz at (623) 236-7281 or visit www.azgfd.gov/inside_azgfd/commission_awards.shtml.


Reminder: Hunting seasons that carry over into January require a 2009 hunting license

Many of Arizona’s hunting seasons for big game and small game extend into the New Year. However, hunting licenses expire at the end of the calendar year. If you plan to go afield after Dec. 31 for quail, rabbit, archery deer or other pursuits, be sure to stop by a licensed dealer or department office and pick up a new 2009 General Hunting license (class G).

For those who hunt and fish, the Combo Hunt and Fish license (class F) is the best choice. It is cheaper than buying each license separately and it includes your trout stamp.

Families with children between ages 14 and 18 can take advantage of the Family Combo Hunt Fish license (class K) and save big. A family of four can hunt small game (and other game, with appropriate tags) and fish in all state waters, including trout, for less than $35 per family member. Add an Urban Fishing license (class U) for everyone in the family and enjoy fishing at any of the 21 waters, stocked regularly, for your fishing pleasure.

Dedicated resident sportsmen cannot go wrong with the Super Conservation Combo Hunt and Fish license (class N), which comes with more accessories than a Swiss army knife. Not only do you get the general hunting and fishing license, a trout stamp is included, as is the urban fishing license. Now the good stuff: The package includes a dove stamp, a state duck stamp (the federal stamp must be purchased separately), an over-the-counter archery deer tag (open units subject to change), a fall archery turkey tag, a fall bear tag and a mountain lion tag. The cost is only $163 – a $50 savings. If you don’t fish, just get the Super Hunting License (class M) for $118, which is still a $37 savings.

In addition, new this year is the Apprentice Hunting License (class H). This is a free two-day general hunting license for introducing someone new to hunting. Designed as a “try before you buy” program, this license is obtained from any Arizona Game and Fish Department office at no cost by a licensed adult 18 or older. This person takes on the role of “mentor” and takes an “apprentice” (friend, family member, co-worker, or neighbor) out hunting for small game and teaches them the basics of hunting. Mentors are an important component to preserve the hunting heritage and to promote the conservation value that hunters provide. For more information about the Apprentice Hunting License, see the article in this issue.

Carryover hunting season reminders:

  • Dove – ends Jan. 4, 2009

  • Quail (all species) – ends Feb. 8, 2009

  • Rabbit – open year round*

  • Predator / furbearing – open year round*

  • Waterfowl – ends Jan. 11, 2009 (mountain zone), ends Jan. 25, 2009 (desert zone)

  • Juniors-only waterfowl, desert zone – Jan. 31 to Feb. 1, 2009

  • Archery deer (nonpermit-tag required) – ends Jan. 31, 2009

  • Mountain lion (nonpermit-tag required) – open year round*

*see regulations for restrictions

 

Yuma open house to provide details on the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program and backwater site selection

The Arizona Game and Fish Department and representatives from the Bureau of Reclamation, the implementing agency for the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program (LCR MSCP), will be conducting an open house meeting on Monday, Jan. 12, 2009 to provide an update and facilitate discussion about this 50-year conservation effort and to answer questions from the public.  

The meeting will take place at the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area Office (the old City Hall) at 180 W. 1st Street, Yuma, AZ, 85364, starting at 5:30 p.m. with approximately an hour of presentation. Afterwards, representatives will allow plenty of time to answer questions and have open discussions with the public. Items of public interest will include:

  • Overview, purpose, and status of the LCR MSCP;

  • Overview of the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s role as a partner in the LCR MSCP;

     
  • LCR MSCP backwater site selection process and status update;

  • Open public forum, question and answer period;

  • Breakout sessions and informal discussions related to LCR MSCP backwater site selection process

“We are hosting this joint open house because we’ve received a lot of questions regarding this project and concerns about how it will affect our customers,” said Pat Barber, the Yuma regional supervisor for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “We understand that it is critical that the local citizens who depend on these resources have a voice in the process, and it is also critical that we do everything that we can to ensure they understand what we are planning to do and why.”

Implementation of the LCR MSCP is one of the nation's largest federal/state conservation partnerships. Program elements include fish augmentation, species research, system monitoring, existing habitat protection, and creation of new habitat. The LCR MSCP commits $626 million in federal, state and local funding over the next 50 years to provide Endangered Species Act compliance and protect at least 26 wildlife species and their habitats along  400 miles of the Colorado River below Lake Mead, while providing for current and future needs of over 20 million water and power users in Arizona, California and Nevada.

Preregistration is not required. Questions about the event may be directed to the Game and Fish Yuma regional office at (928) 342-0091.

To learn more about the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s role in the LCR MSCP, visit www.azgfd.gov/lcrmscp.

For complete details about the LCR MSCP, visit www.lcrmscp.gov. To learn more about Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Regional Office, visit www.lc.usbr.gov.

  

Ben Avery Shooting Facility has shooting programs for all

Whether you enjoy shooting rimfire rifles, a bow and arrow or sporting shotguns, the Ben Avery Shooting Facility is the place to go for a safe and controlled target-shooting experience.

Target shooting is self-rewarding, builds hand-eye coordination skills, and teaches patience, discipline and knowledge of firearms and bows. League shooting offers a slight competitive edge to teach you how to become even more proficient.

Archery leagues:

Finding a safe and challenging place to shoot your bow and arrow is getting tougher each year. To help archers keep their skills sharp, the Ben Avery Shooting Facility is offering an eight-week long winter archery league starting Jan. 7, 2009.

Every Wednesday night, under stadium lights on the FITA Range, shooters can safely shoot 3-spot or single targets at 20 yards. Archery classifications for men and women include compound unlimited, compound bowhunter and recurve/longbow. A junior class is also available for shooters ages 8-17 to encourage family participation.

Leagues run from Jan. 7 – Feb. 25, 2009. There will be a cookout and an awards banquet on March 11. The cost is $60 per adult and $30 for junior shooters. Registration fees are reduced for families. If one parent participates, each junior is only $20, and if both parents participate, each junior is only $10. Some introductory loaner bows (compound and recurve) are available.

Preregistration is required; contact Mike Raum at (623) 582-8313 or mraum@azgfd.gov.

Rimfire leagues:

If you got a new .22 for Christmas or are just itching to get out and shoot your trusty rimfire rifle, then come out to the Ben Avery Shooting Facility for an evening rimfire league, starting Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009.

Rimfire rifle (.22/.17) league is every Tuesday night from 6:30-8:30 p.m. for eight weeks. Participants will shoot at 25-yard and 50-yard target distances on the Small Bore Range. All ages are welcome and encouraged.

The cost is a $10 league fee and $5 per night per distance. Youths (17 years old and younger) are half price. Preregistration is required; contact Larry Collins at (623) 236-7074.

Shotgun shooting:

The recent renovations to the Clay Target Center feature the latest in throwing equipment and facility technologies, from voice-activated throwers to electronic play card devices. The new Business / Visitor Center is now open and offers a comfortable retreat between shoots. In addition, all of the trap/skeet fields have stadium lighting offering evening shoots as well.

Sanctioned Shoots:
Monthly sanctioned sporting clays, skeet and trap shoots for all skill and interest levels are available nearly all year long. Prizes, membership, and becoming part of a shooting social network are all part of the fun. Each course typically consists of 15 stations with 100 targets for five-person squads. Registration typically begins at 7 a.m. with shooting starting at 9 a.m. First quarter dates and event names are:

2009 Sporting Clays Events (NSCA/ASCA Sanctioned)

  • Jan. 17-18, Copper State Open
  • Feb. 21, Sweetheart Open
  • Mar. 15, Pintail Open

2009 Skeet Shooting Events (NSSA/ASSA Sanctioned)

  • Jan. 30-Feb. 1, Bill Holgate Memorial Open
  • Feb. 11-12, Copper State Open Mid Week Event
  • Feb. 13-15, Copper State Open Main Event
  • Mar. 7-8, Cholla Desert Classic

2009 Trap Shooting Events (ATA/ASTA sanctioned)

  • Jan. 7-11, Quail Winter Chain
  • Feb. 3-8, Howlin' Coyote Classic
  • Mar. 18-22, Rattler Classic

Leagues:
If sanctioned shoots don’t suit your nature, maybe league shooting will. Weekly leagues for skeet, trap, trap doubles, sporting clays and mixed bag will begin Wednesday, Feb. 11 and run for eight weeks. This is a great way to have a “friends night out” for fun, camaraderie and a little competition.

Teams consist of three to five people and the league fee is $34 each, $50 for the mixed bag league, which covers the league costs and an awards banquet. Standard shooting fees per round apply.

Preregistration is required; contact the Clay Target Center at (623) 434-8119.

The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is one of the largest public-operated shooting facilities in the country. The facility received a Five-Star rating from the National Association of Shooting Ranges, meaning that it is the best of the best at providing a safe and friendly shooting environment. The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is located on the northwest corner of I-17 and Carefree Highway in north Phoenix.

 

Annual Bald Eagle Workshop set for Flagstaff

Ever wonder where eagles go during the wintertime? Find this out and more at the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s annual Bald Eagle Workshop in Flagstaff on Saturday, Jan. 17. 

The free workshop will be divided into two sessions; each one will include a lecture followed by a field trip to observe eagles. The first session will begin at 9 a.m. and the second at 11 a.m. The lectures will be held at the Arizona Game and Fish Department office at 3500 S. Lake Mary Road.    

Guest speakers James Driscoll, raptor management coordinator, and Valerie Horncastle, research biologist, will talk about Arizona’s bald eagle program, wintering bald eagles, Arizona’s resident eagle population, and eagle identification. 

“We have two great speakers scheduled this year, and I know that everyone attending will enjoy the workshop,” says Arizona Game and Fish Public Information Officer Shelly Shepherd. “This is always a popular workshop and it is great to see so many people interested in wildlife in northern Arizona.”

Anyone interested in attending will need to register with the Game and Fish Flagstaff office at (928) 774-5045 by 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16. People are reminded to dress appropriately for weather conditions, bring binoculars, bird field guidebooks, snacks and water.  

 

Give a magazine gift subscription and get a free wildlife calendar

The 2009 Arizona Wildlife Calendar normally costs $3 each, but we have a special deal for people who enjoy Arizona Wildlife Views magazine. Give a gift subscription to the magazine to a friend or family member, and we’ll reward your generosity with a free calendar (while supplies last). Share Arizona Wildlife Views and get a little something back for yourself! Order online at www.azgfd.gov/magazine or by calling (800) 777-0015.

 

Arizona Wildlife Views television series begins new season in January on PBS

The award-winning wildlife television show produced by the Arizona Game and Fish Department begins a new season Jan. 18, 2009 on PBS KAET channel 8 every Sunday at 5 p.m.

Arizona Wildlife Views has 13 brand new episodes that explore Arizona’s unique outdoor landscapes, incredibly diverse wildlife, and conservation success stories by the Game and Fish Department. Each episode is certain to entertain viewers of all ages.

Air dates and topics include:

  • Show 1 - Jan. 18: Upper Verde River Wildlife Area, 47 Ranch, and Bird Talk                    

  • Show 2 - Jan. 25: 100th Bighorn sheep translocation, Wings over Willcox, and Bat Cave

  • Show 3 - Feb. 1: Lees Ferry Flood, Nature Song, and Lake Stocking

  • Show 4 - Feb. 8: Cardboard Boats, Payson Kids, Native Fish, and ADA Field

  • Show 5 - Feb. 15: Most Remote Wildlife Manager, and Water Catchment

  • Show 6 - Feb. 22: Johnson Lawsuit, 2008 Expo, Blast from Past, and Wildflowers  

  • Show 7 - Mar. 1: Bald Eagle Release, Turtle Capture, and Fish Hatcheries

  • Show 8 - Mar. 8: Bald Eagle Banding, National Trails Day, and Predators

  • Show 9 - Mar. 15: Fence Removal, Arizona Wildlife Views Magazine, and Rattlers on the Move

  • Show 10 - Mar. 22: Legends Clay Target Shoot, Desert Tortoises, and “Splash”

  • Show 11 - Mar. 29: Envirothon, Hummingbirds, and New Game & Fish Headquarters

  • Show 12 - Apr. 5: Gould’s Turkey Youth Hunt, Pets Afield, and Gila Monsters

  • Show 13 - Apr. 12: Watercraft Law Enforcement School, Safe Harbor, Dust Abatement, and Tavasi Marsh

 To catch a glimpse of the shows online visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Web site at www.azgfd.gov/tv.

  

2009 Outdoor Expo slated for late March

Take out your new 2009 calendar and mark the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s (AGFD) 2009 Outdoor Expo at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in north Phoenix. The event is free and will be held Saturday, March 28, 2009 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, March 29, 2009 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The purpose of the Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo is to provide the public with education and information through activities, demonstrations and exhibits in the areas of hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, archery, off-highway vehicle and watercraft recreation, conservation and wildlife education, camping and other outdoor recreation elements.

The Expo offers participants the opportunity to view live wildlife, try the latest in recreational supplies and equipment, and learn about boats, firearms, all terrain vehicles and more! Shooting sports activities are conducted on the range, and numerous vendors, sponsors and exhibitors are available to demonstrate and sell new products, seek public participation, and conduct informative workshops about a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities.

If you are looking for inexpensive recreational alternatives this year that can accommodate and entertain the entire family, learn more about the event in the upcoming weeks at www.azgfd.gov/expo.

  

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The Wildlife News e-newsletter is issued every other week and contains detailed and comprehensive information on the activities of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. To sign up for this newsletter or other Arizona Game and Fish Department electronic information products, go to www.azgfd.gov/signup.