spring is here – now what?
By Doug Burt, public information
officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department
For the 26,000 attendees of the
2008 Arizona Game and Fish Outdoor Expo wanting more outdoor activities,
here are some ideas.
If the fishing tank at the Expo
was your kid’s favorite, then take the next step. There are
21 city park lakes currently participating in the department's Urban
Fishing Program. Waters are stocked with fish every couple of weeks,
and right now we are loading them up with hard-fighting, great-tasting
catfish. Fishing with a simple rod and reel and some dough bait
is all it takes to hook “Mr. Whiskers”. Children 13
years and under do not require a license and can fish for free.
A license for those 14 and older is only $18.50 for the year. Visit
www.azgfd.gov/fish and click on
the “urban fishing” link for more details about the
If target shooting piques your interests,
a great place to start is with BB guns. BB guns are very affordable
and teach the foundations of gun safety, responsibility, aiming,
marksmanship, calming breathing techniques, patience, respect and
self focus. This is also a great way for experienced sportsmen to
introduce a neighbor to target shooting.
Need a bigger bang? The Arizona
State Rifle and Pistol Association offers a .22-caliber shooting
class to beginners. The class will go over gun safety, basic shooting
techniques, and then out to the range to shoot .22-caliber rifles
in a controlled environment. The introductory course is on Thursdays
and it is free. For more information, contact Richard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ladies that enjoyed shooting at
the Expo can sign up for our free introductory shotgun shooting
program called the Desert Roses. This hands-on program is offered
the first and third Thursday of every month. Ladies will be taught
how to shoot a shotgun and learn three clay target games –
trap, skeet and sporting clays. Space is limited and registration
is required. Contact Fred Jeffers at email@example.com.
Did we mention it‘s free?
Are you already a shooter and want
to get more hunting knowledge? Go online and take the department's
online hunter education class. It’s one of the best in the
country and you learn about gun safety, wildlife identification,
carrying capacity, survival and more. If you have a youngster between
the ages of 10 and 14 who's interested in hunting big game –
this course is mandatory. Right now is a great time before the next
draw for the fall hunts takes place. The Web site is www.hunter-ed.com/az.
Speaking of hunting, take a youngster
afield for some rabbit hunting. The season runs year-round and the
springtime is a great time to be in the field while the weather
is still beautiful. Rabbits, cottontail and jacks are abundant statewide,
challenging to hunt, and make great table fare. Rabbit hunting teaches
many of the same skills needed for pursuing big game, including
locating game, stalking, shot placement, harvesting, field dressing
and game meat preparation. All that is needed is a modest rimfire
rifle (.22s and the new .17s), or for very young beginners a small
gauged shotgun is perfect. Youth 13 years and under (2 max.) accompanied
by a licensed adult can hunt for free and without a hunting license.
A general hunting license is required for those 14 and older. (Hunter
Ed is not required for small game – but it is encouraged.)
If you are fortunate to have a spring-turkey
tag, congratulations, you won’t want to miss this issue. There
are a number of articles to help you be successful on your hunt,
including road conditions, laws on using electronic calls, recent
transplants, and the spring hunting forecast with tips by Big Game
Program Manager and turkey-nut Brian Wakeling.
No turkey tag? Don’t despair,
there is plenty of other good stuff to enjoy in this issue of Hunting
Highlights. We have a great feature about department employees teaching
kids about hunting, the outdoors, and photos of their successes.
We also have some super juniors-only hunting success stories and
In addition, you will find plenty
of department news, highlights and activity dates. And it’s
never too late to start thinking about the next hunt draw in June.
recruitment starts with each and every one of us
By Doug Burt, public information officer, Arizona
Game and Fish Department
The buzzwords "recruitment
and retention" keep making their way into the outdoor community.
Much of this driving force is derived from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service's reports of declining hunter and angler numbers. Throughout
wildlife agencies, including the Arizona Game and Fish Department,
it is at the forefront of everything we do. Like most sportsmen
and sportswomen, many employees of the department live and breathe
hunting and fishing. We recently asked some department employees
to share experiences with introducing or passing on our hunting
and outdoor heritage to youth and families. Here are some of their
Jim Heffelfinger, Tucson
regional game specialist,
with the department for 16 years.
Jim is married and has four boys,
ages 4, 11, 13, and 16.
He is well known in the wildlife
community, has his masters degree, teaches at University of Arizona,
and is the author of “Deer of the Southwest, A Complete Guide
to the Natural History, Biology, and Management of Southwestern
Mule Deer and White-Tailed Deer."
How Jim finds time to do anything
outside of his careers and family life is still a mystery. However,
he recently took several young people out on a rabbit hunt. Hunting
rabbits and other small game is a great way to introduce youngsters
and beginners to hunting.
Jim said everyone had a great time.
In fact, he states, “How is this for Hunter Recruitment? We
brought my son’s girlfriend and her younger brother out rabbit
hunting. She's a vegetarian - that should count for two!”
Jim is currently putting ideas
together to sponsor a “Junior Jack Kamp” sometime between
January and March next year. At the camp, Jackrabbit Jim will show
you how to “hunt ’em and grill ’em” as well
as provide jackrabbit ecology discussions around the campfire. We
will keep you posted on the development of this introductory program.
Robert S. Price, Arizona
Strip wildlife manager supervisor,
with the department for 18 years.
Robert is married and has two children,
a teenage daughter and an adult son who is an Army Ranger currently
deployed in Iraq. Both of them are accomplished and enthusiastic
hunters and anglers.
Robert is a member of the the department's
Hunter Heritage Working Group, and has introduced many kids, on
an informal basis, to hunting and fishing over the years. He submitted
the following story:
“Greetings! Yesterday Selena,
Ernie and I decided to go rabbit hunting. We were all sporting our
.17HMRs, and excited to “go get ‘em”. So, off
we went. The rabbit population was pretty healthy, and we did have
a most excellent time!
However, Selena abandoned her Camelbak®
pack and needed to go back to get it. I suggested she walk parallel
to the road and take her gun. I asked, “Do you want to take
more bullets?” She said she was okay and took off (with five
bullets in her rifle).
She didn’t get 20 yards and
two rabbits took off. There were a number of shots, punctuated by
humorous “anecdotes” related to her ability to hit anything.
I calmly asked her, “Need more bullets?” The response
was a 13-year-old's version of “no kidding.” She came
back all fired up, and we loaded her up with more ammo, followed
by some fatherly advice to take more time, squeeze the trigger,
and to sit or kneel.
This time, her aim was true, and
by the time she retrieved her backpack and returned, she had as
many rabbits as dad, and she reminded me of this several times!
Ernie commented that we were hitting
some of those rabbits further out than you get most deer, and he
told Selena, “Hey, deer hunting will be no problem for you!”
As stated before, we had a most
excellent time yesterday. Rabbit hunting is fun, even for us old
guys, and especially when you take a kid. Here’s a photo of
Selena with some of the day’s harvest.”
Darren Tucker, Prescott-area
with the department for 15 years.
Darren, a committee member with
the department's Hunting Heritage Work Group, works with the Sportsman's
Roundtable, and Hunter Awareness and Appreciation clinics. Darren
shared this story of a very early introduction to hunting big game:
Attached is a photo of my recent
pig hunt with my girls (ages 4 and 6).
I haven’t even applied in
several years because to be honest with you, I’m not a huge
fan of javelina as table-fare. However, my older daughter has been
bugging me to take her hunting for something besides ducks and coyotes
for several years now.
Anyway, with pig tag and rifle in
hand, the three of us headed out last Monday after school. They
both made the three-fourths of a mile stalk with me and even used
their little Bushnell binoculars to look at him.
awesome – they were able to witness the entire hunt firsthand."
Kathy Boyer, Phoenix
headquarters customer service representative, with the department
for 8 years.
If you ever visited the old department
office on Greenway Road, you probably met or saw Kathy. She is extremely
knowledgable in most department policies, licenses, regulations,
draw processes, boating registration and more! Kathy has shot firearms
and hunted small game, but this year was her first big game hunt.
When she shared her story she was beyond excited, especially since
her and her son both harvested pigs the same day of the past general
javelina season. She recounts her feelings saying:
"We were just about done for the day. We had
not seen any sign or any javelina all day and we were about to give
up. We went up one more hill when my husband said, 'there they are'.
It was about a 200-yard shot and was almost the
most exciting thing I have dealt with. We all had a great time on
back to top
outlook: Spring turkey forecast 2008
By Brian Wakeling,
big game management supervisor,
Arizona Game and Fish Department
Brian and son, Seth, after
successful spring turkey hunt.
The spring turkey season is just around
the corner, and many spring turkey hunters are watching the calendar
with eager anticipation. Because calling turkeys with simulated
hen vocalizations is the most effective strategy in the spring,
many hunters are already annoying friends and families by practicing
their imitations on mouth, box, and slate calls.
Spring turkey hunting can be challenging in the
best of years. Weather and access can be two of those challenges.
Every year it seems as though the weatherman first checks the spring
season dates before he forecasts high winds. And if he can't find
the opening date, he simply piles up deep snow earlier in the winter
so that getting to your favorite spot is impossible.
Deep snow and limited access can work in your favor
if you are willing to hike a bit. Gobblers are often located near
the receding snow line in pursuit of hens after a winter like the
one we just experienced, and walking a ways can often put you within
earshot of a gobbling tom. Should you harvest a bird "way back
in there," they are not nearly as difficult to pack out as
an elk. This extra effort can also get you into an area where there
are few hunters with which to compete.
If windy conditions prevail, those same gobblers
have greater difficulty in hearing your calls, and you may have
difficulty in hearing his as well. Be patient and persistent. Once
you find fresh sign (droppings or tracks), you may have a turkey
come to your calls that didn't call or that you didn't hear. Just
last spring, I was able to watch a gobbler walk for at least 400
yards in response to my calls. He never made a sound, but he strutted
almost the entire distance. The junior hunter at my side was able
to harvest this bird because we did not move a muscle until he was
well within range.
A turkey's best defense is his eyesight.
So practice your calls or find an electronic call
that works for you. Decoys can be effective at distracting his attention
by giving the gobbler something on which to focus. Gobblers are
used to hens coming to him, not having to go to the hen. They can
be incredibly hard to convince at times. Should you find yourself
at the end of the hunt with an unfilled tag in your pocket, you
may receive solace if you recognize many other hunters are in the
same boat with you. Successfully harvesting a bird often results
from a great deal of hard work, practice, patience, and a generous
sprinkling of good luck.
But a successful hunt is usually the result of just
being out there, even if you don't tag a bird. Enjoy the season.
And if you didn't get drawn, find someone that can use the help
and lend a hand in camp or calling. Spring is a great time to be
in the turkey woods!
Brian Wakeling has worked for the department
for many years. He loves turkeys and turkey hunting. Brian has been
instrumental in the reintroduction of the Gould's turkey and feels
that reintroduction will be one of the most important milestones
of his career. Brian also enjoys hunting with his two sons.
One of the main differences between wild
turkey and domestic store-bought is it is much leaner. Additionally,
if you remove the skin in the field rather than plucking,
the chances of drying out the meat when cooking are even greater.
Keeping the skin on is recommended, but if you must skin out
your bird, here is a way to prepare it and still enjoy moist,
delicious turkey meat this summer.
cajun turkey with wild rice
Deep frying a skinless bird will keep
it moist and tender.
Clean bird in and out. Dry thoroughly! Do
not stuff bird. Heat oil per fryer instructions. Rub and inject
turkey with seasonings to taste.
Turn off flame, then carefully lower bird
into hot oil, turn heat back on.
Cook for 3 minutes per pound. Remove from
oil and let stand for 15-20 minutes before carving. Serve
with wild rice, vegetable of choice and cold refreshments
on the patio.
Enjoy and re-tell your hunting adventure to
friends and family.
hunters: Matt Misetich, late season deer
By Chuck Misetich, very proud father
like to thank the Arizona Game and Fish Department for providing
affordable big game tags for nonresident youth hunters.
My 13-year-old son, Matt, is very
active in the Boy Scout program and loves the outdoors. He was fortunate
enough to draw an 18B youth deer tag last fall, his first big game
We spent four great days in the
field together over his Thanksgiving break from school. He got to
sharpen his camping and outdoor skills from our tent camp in some
brisk 20- to 25-degree overnight temperatures. Unfortunately, we
did not feast on the grilled venison tenderloins that we had envisioned
for Thanksgiving dinner. A November campfire provided us an opportunity
to reflect on some of the things that we were truly thankful for,
not the least of which was the backup pot of Thanksgiving dinner
that mom had prepped and sent with us.
We saw deer on three of the four days we hunted, and as fate would
have it, our big opportunity came in the last hour of our last day.
With the sun setting, we spotted a dozen deer coming out to feed
about three quarters of a mile away. We knew we would have to move
quickly, but quietly, in fairly open country to get within shooting
range. I could see at least one buck, and that was all we needed
to grab our gear and hustle to try to intercept them.
We were able to complete a very
exciting stalk with the wind in our favor and get within 160 yards
of the deer before sundown. With minutes of light left, Matt took
a prone rest on my backpack and waited. As I glassed, a doe stepped
into a body-length opening between two cedar trees and stared intently
in our direction. After what seemed like an eternity, she sauntered
on and the buck stepped out broadside. I could hear Matt click the
safety off, just then, a second doe stepped in front of the 20-inch
3x3 buck. They looked towards us for another eternity. As the light
faded, the buck walked off into cover while the rest of the does
slowly single filed through the small opening. Our hunt had ended.
I was so glad that Matt showed the composure of a seasoned hunter
by not taking the risky shot.
On the walk back to the truck we recounted the exciting events of
the stalk and discussed the pain of disappointment. Sensing my silence
on the drive back to camp, Matt asked me if I was happy. I assured
him that my disappointment should not be mistaken for unhappiness.
The four days of camping and hunting with him was the cake, and
harvesting a buck was just icing. We hauled out two garbage bags
of litter from our camp and hunting area the next morning to leave
it nicer for the next guy. We look forward to another opportunity.
If you have a "Junior hunter's"
story you would like to share, please email a picture, story, name
and city with subject title "Junior Hunters" to:
turkeys thrive, allowing further range and distribution
Doug Burt, public information officer,
and Fish Department
The Arizona Game and Fish Department and the National
Wild Turkey Federation, along with sportsmen and private citizens,
successfully captured and relocated 50 Gould’s wild turkeys
from the Huachuca Mountains in early March. The captured birds were
relocated to the Santa Rita and Catalina Mountains to help supplement
existing populations and continue to expand the range of this unique
but once eradicated wild turkey subspecies. The Gould’s turkey
is common in Mexico, but only Arizona and New Mexico support populations
in the United States.
Six mountain ranges throughout southeastern Arizona
now support populations of the Gould’s turkey: the Chiricahua,
Pinaleno, Galiuro, Santa Rita, Catalina, and Huachuca Mountains.
All of these mountain ranges are part of the Sky Islands. This 70,000-square-mile
region extends from southeastern Arizona, southwestern New Mexico
and the northwestern part of Mexico. This region encompasses one
of the most diverse ecosystems in North America.
The Gould’s reintroduction project began as
a joint international effort with Mexico, where the first populations
of Gould’s subspecies came from to restore Arizona’s
historic populations during the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s.
Today, Gould’s populations in the Huachucas
are significant and capable of sustaining further range expansion
from our own populations. This translocation marks the fourth time
that in-state populations have been used to continue the repopulation
effort, indicating that the reintroduced Gould’s turkeys to
southern Arizona are healthy and adapting well.
Translocation programs are designed to increase
diversity of wildlife populations throughout the state and beyond.
Turkeys nationwide have expanded from a historic low of less than
100,000 to over 7.4 million birds today. Programs are possible by
funding from license sales, concerned sportsmen groups, special
auction tags and other concerned conservationists.
To watch an exciting online video of Merriam’s
turkeys being captured, click
To hear the sound of wild turkey gobbles, click
back to top
hunters: Jacob Dufek, juniors' cow elk success
By Paul Dufek, proud father, Flagstaff
This is just a quick update to a story
you printed last summer about my son Jeremy. My oldest son Jacob
collected his first elk during the juniors' hunt last fall. Like
Jeremy's hunt, there is always a story involved, and Jacob's first
elk was no exception.
We hunted long and hard the first couple of days
without any real opportunity for success. We tried both calling
and still-hunting, but were unable to visibly locate any elk. Sunday
morning turned both very cold and windy. Having moved into a new
area, we heard countless shots in almost every direction from us
seemingly regardless of where we went. We knew we had just missed
seeing animals several times and this was starting to take its toll
on Jacob's spirits. That evening while driving back in, we bumped
two cows that headed back in the direction of a vehicle we had passed
several minutes before.
After hearing shots again a short while later, he
became visibly discouraged. We talked about ethics, providence,
and the real gift of even having the opportunity to take part in
this hunt. I told him that perhaps we had helped provide an opportunity
for another junior hunter that might not have otherwise had one
and we should be glad for them. He agreed.
A mile down the road, we set up near what appeared
to be an active watering hole and began calling. While we talked
some more, he knew that things don't always turn out like you might
hope. A short while later and without warning, two cows seemed to
appear from out of nowhere, seemingly answering our call. After
calming him down some, Jacob proceeded to collect his first elk.
I'm sure he'll remember the scouting, hard work,
cold weather, hearing other shots being fired, and ultimately the
animal he collected. The time we spent together hunting on this
trip is also something I'll also always treasure. In addition, this
turned out to be the only animal our family harvested this year,
and it is still providing for us.
This year we were blessed with tags again! Not only
did Jacob draw another juniors' hunt cow tag, but Jeremy (now 14
who collected his first cow two seasons ago) drew one of the coveted
September rifle bull tags in 5BN, and ironically both my brother
Don and I also drew September archery bull tags in 5BN to go along
with the 5BN September archery cow tags that three of Don's children
(Candra, Jonathan, and Margo) drew. We feel as though we won the
lottery, big time. We can hardly wait!
I might note that it's been 15 years since Don has
drawn a bull tag, so he's very pleased. Personally, I've drawn two
bull tags (both archery) in the past 14 years (including this year)
and share his enthusiasm.
If you have a "Junior hunter's"
story you would like to share, please email a picture, story, name
and city with subject title "Junior Hunters" to:
back to top
Check road conditions
road closures may hinder some spring turkey hunters
By Doug Burt, public information officer,
and Fish Department
Game and Fish Department officials advise spring turkey hunters
and other outdoor enthusiasts that the snowpack is still significant
in some higher elevations and many state highways and forest roads
in prime turkey country are closed or impassable due to snow or
Check for the current closures before going.
Higher-than-average winter snow and rainfall has
resulted in the Arizona Department of Transportation and the National
Forest Service to continue some winter road closures, many of which
access traditional turkey-hunting areas. A number of popular routes
of travel in the Apache-Sitgreaves, Kaibab and parts of the Coconino
National Forests are closed due to unsafe travel conditions, and
to prevent road damage and damage to meadows and sensitive habitats
from off-road travel.
Closures may affect Game Management Units 1, 3B,
4A/B, 5B, 6A, 12A/B, 13A/C and 27. The state highways and forest
roads of concern are SR67, SR261, SR273, FR113, and many forest
roads south of Flagstaff through the Lake Mary and Mormon Lake corridor.
Juniors-only spring turkey hunters can be affected
the most by these closures, with the season beginning Friday, April
18. The general spring turkey season starts the following Friday,
April 25, and warming weather conditions could allow more roads
to be opened. The majority of these popular hunts take place in
the northern part of the state on the Mogollon Rim, the White Mountains
and on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
“Despite these conditions in some areas, sportsmen
will find there is still plenty of country in which to find turkeys.
But plan for nighttime and early morning temperatures to be below
freezing, and dress appropriately,” department spokesman Bruce
Sitko says. “Also, because of the potential for getting stuck
and poor weather conditions, leave a detailed itinerary with a family
member or friend, including specific hunting and camping sites and
an arrival time back home.”
Big Game Management Supervisor Brian Wakeling offers
these tips to young hunters: “Gobblers are often moving up
in elevation pursuing hens. The hens are often feeding on fresh
green growth that is beginning to flourish as snows recede. Gobblers
may be found along the receding snow line, and it doesn’t
require slogging through deep snow with a four-wheel-drive truck
or OHV to access them.”
Sitko strongly encourages drivers not to attempt
going around barricades or locked gates. “Not only have many
people already gotten themselves stuck by doing so, they can also
be cited,” he said.
Contacts for the latest updates on road closures
and conditions are:
Department of Transportation, 5-1-1 or (602) 712-7355
National Forest, (928) 333-4301
National Forest, (928) 527-3600
National Forest, (928) 635-8200
draw for hunt permit-tags
By Rory Aikens, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish
You will be able to start applying for the permitted
fall hunts for deer, turkey, javelina, bighorn sheep, and buffalo
once the completed regulations are posted online, typically by the
end of April. Printed copies of the regulations should be available
around the second week of May.
The anticipated deadline day to submit for those
fall big game hunt-permit applications is Tuesday, June 10 (the
second Tuesday of June). The date will be confirmed at the April
19 commission meeting.
However, be sure to mark May 29 on your calendar
in big bold letters – after that date, application mistakes
can be costly.
If you apply for fall big game hunt-permit tags
and make a mistake on your application prior to May 29, the department
will attempt to contact you three times within a 24-hour period
(if a phone number is provided) and provide you the opportunity
to correct the mistake. It’s like having a built-in “Make
A Mistake Free” card – at least to a point.
This grace period was created years ago in part
to encourage folks to apply early, but also as part of the department’s
ongoing customer service improvements.
The word is getting out. During the recent 2008
elk-antelope draw, 27,206 applicants took advantage of the grace
period. Compare that to the 2007 elk-antelope draw, where there
were 5,715 applicants who applied prior to the grace period ending.
There aren’t many times in life you get the
opportunity to make a mistake without having it cost you (sometimes
big time). So, don’t miss out.
As a reminder, the online application process will
not be available for the fall draw. Applications must be submitted
by mail only. Remember, postmarks don’t count.
opportunities for hunters
By Les Bell, volunteer coordinator,
Arizona Game and Fish Department
The Arizona Game and Fish
Department’s volunteer program provides opportunities for
volunteers to participate firsthand in managing Arizona’s
wildlife resources. Our goal is to provide you with a congenial
and cooperative atmosphere where you can build relationships with
staff and other volunteers, as well as gain knowledge about Arizona
wildlife and wildlife management. We recognize that your time is
important and strive to provide rewarding and educational volunteer
We’ve listed some opportunities in which you
may have an interest. To learn about other opportunities or to submit
information about a project that would benefit from our volunteers,
check our volunteer page at www.azgfd.gov/volunteer.
Immediate until completed - Database entry
Bat Project, North Phoenix
The candidate will report to AGFD Phoenix headquarters and be responsible
for data entry of Legacy reports into AGFD Bats database. Knowledge
of Microsoft office (Word, Excel), understanding of mapping and
TOPO is a plus; Database entry experience desired but will train.
Contact: Nancy Renison, bat biologist, at NRenison@azgfd.gov, (623)
April 1 – October 31
Summer Host - Tonto Creek Hatchery, Payson
Wildlife area hosts live on site, assist with facility
maintenance and interact with visitors. Additional duties include
providing change for feed machines, cleaning visitor restrooms,
and other duties as needed. Hosts are on duty from 7 a.m. –
4 p.m. on weekends and holidays, and on weekdays when there are
large groups of visitors. Host should have good communication and
interpersonal skills, enjoy talking with different types of people,
be able to provide excellent customer service, and accept and follow
supervision/instruction from hatchery employees. Accommodations
along with fresh water, electrical, propane and septic are provided.
To provide references and be interviewed via phone, contact Les
Bell at (623) 236-7680 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. - Page
Springs Wildlife Area Trail Maintenance
Volunteers assist with trail maintenance, using hand tools
such as rakes, shovels and clippers. This is a cooperative project
with the Northern Arizona Audubon Society. Contact Les Bell at email@example.com
or (623) 236-7680.
First and third Thursday every month, 7-10
p.m. - Volunteer Shotgun Instructor or Range Officer for Women's
Volunteers will instruct women of all ages in the shotgun shooting
sports. Coaches will assist beginners in shotgun shooting form and
skill. Range Safety Officers will watch over range and ensure safety
among all participants. Applicants must be at least 21 years old.
Shooting experience, basic knowledge of firearms and firearms safety,
and some teaching/public speaking experience desired, but not required.Benefits
to volunteers include free shooting at the main range and discounts
at local sporting goods locations. Contact Ben Avery Shooting Facility
at (623) 582-8313.
Year round - Range Safety Officers at Ben Avery Shooting
Responsibilities include checking the safe condition of customer
firearms, observing participants while they are shooting on the
range, maintaining safe operation of the shooting line, and providing
superior customer service by answering customer questions about
firearms. Contact Les Bell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (623) 236-7680.
April 15 to ongoing - Upper Verde River
Wildlife Area Host, 8 miles NW of Chino Valley
Host should enjoy talking with different types of people, be able
to provide excellent customer service, and accept and follow supervision/instruction
from manager. Host duties include interacting with visitors, picking
up litter, cleaning visitor restrooms, and other duties as needed.
Knowledge of birding and Arizona wildlife is a plus. Applicants
will need to provide references and will be interviewed via a phone
interview with manager. Contact Les Bell at email@example.com or (623)
April 26 & 27 - Paria Point Wildlife
Catchment Redevelopment, north of Flagstaff and west of Page
Volunteers and equipment will be helicoptered to and from the staging
area/ camping area each day. Redevelopment includes taking apart
the existing wildlife catchment and fence, cutting some trees, digging
with a shovel, cutting pipes and other materials, and building a
new wildlife catchment. Contact Sophia Fong, 12B wildlife manager
at (928) 645-6843, or email SFong@azgfd.gov.
May 2, 3, 4 – AGFD Turtle Trapping,
Papago Park / Phoenix Zoo
The pond in the park is full of exotic turtles, and in an effort
to eradicate them or from expanding into nearby waterways, we will
be trapping turtles and removing all female turtles. The removed
turtles will be turned over to Phoenix Herpetological Society so
they can be placed into responsible homes. Contact Audrey Owens
at (623) 236-7504, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 17 & 18 – Arizona Antelope
Foundation fence project, Flagstaff
Volunteers will be removing the pasture fences and maintaining the
allotment boundary fence on the Lake Mary Allotment. A free steak
dinner is provided for all volunteers on Saturday night. Contact
Henry Provencio at (928) 214-2436, or e-mail email@example.com.
back to top
Vol. 4 No.
1 April-May 2008
In this issue:
spring is here - now what?
outlook: Spring turkey forecast 2008
hunters: Matt Misetich, late season deer
hunters: Jacob Dufek, juniors' cow elk success
hunters: Check road conditions
draw for hunt permit-tags
Ask a wildlife manager:
Is it legal to hunt turkeys using electronic calls and decoys
National Wild Turkey Federation
Answer: Provided by Brian Wakeling,
Big Game Management Supervisor.
"Yes, it is legal to use decoys as well as
electronic calls when hunting turkey.
As per rule R12-4-303, Unlawful Devices, Method,
and Ammunition, since the use of electronic devices or decoys not
specifically addressed as prohibited, the use is acceptable.
There are a number of different electronic calls
and decoys available on the market today. However, many turkey hunters
prefer to use traditional mechanical or mouth calls to enjoy the
unparalleled experience of luring in a wary spring gobbler."
If you have a question about
hunting or fishing laws, rules and regulations or just an ethical
situation, please email your question to:
Use Subject title: Ask a Wildlife Manager
Great wildlife TV programming
for the family
Arizona Wildlife Views TV airs on KAET-TV at 4:30 p.m.
on Sundays and other channels statewide
There are only three shows left in
this season's Emmy-award-winning Arizona Wildlife Views
TV. The show is produced by the Arizona Game and Fish Department
to help teach Arizonans about the outdoors and wildlife around
them as well as to inform about practices and techniques used
to conserve Arizona's wildlife resources for generations to come.
Final shows will include these segments.
If you can't wait, click on the link to watch online.
11 - April 20
Hunting and Fishing Day, Scholastic Clay Target Program and Bob
12 - April 27
Disabled Youth Hunt, Ash Creek Fish, Quagga Mussel and Tarahumara
13 - May 4
Emmy winners show: Over the years Arizona Wildlife Views
has been honored with 13 Emmy awards. This episode will highlight
some of those stories.
If you missed an episode, to see previous seasons,
or for more details about the department's television show, visit:
Craig McMullen named 2007-08 Shikar Safari
Craig McMullen, Region VI Payson Wildlife Manager
Supervisor, was recently selected for the 2007-08 Shikar-Safari
Wildlife Officer of the Year award.
McMullen, a 15-year veteran, is a leader in law
enforcement, wildlife management, habitat improvement, is extremely
active within his local community, and is the designated lead for
the department’s Hunting Heritage Workgroup focused on improving
hunter recruitment and retention.
“I am very pleased to be joining the ranks
of so many other fine wildlife managers that have received this
prestigious award before me,” stated McMullen of his award
The Shikar-Safari Club International was founded
in 1952 for the purpose of advancing knowledge concerning wildlife
of the world. Each year one officer from each of the 50 states is
honored for service during the previous year that shows outstanding
performance and achievement among the state agency’s sworn
law enforcement personnel.
The letter of recommendation for McMullen’s
nomination is impressive. Examples of some of his accomplishments
Over 550 citations for resource violations in
his career, nearly 100 of these cases specifically for big game
Under his supervision, Region VI has been one
of the largest participants / recipients, engaged in the department’s
Orchestrated an intergovernmental agreement
between the City of Star Valley Council and Arizona Game and
Fish Commission to allow hunting within the Star Valley city
Single-handedly generated a department staffing
report and recommendations on hunter ethics that were ultimately
incorporated in the hunt regulations.
"No matter what the assignment, the department
has complete confidence that Craig will carry it out with dignity,
vigor, precision, tact, and with a clear unobstructed view of
the ultimate goal of carrying out the department’s mission."
This award will be presented to Craig by the Shikar-Safari
Club International at the April 19 Commission meeting at the Phoenix
headquarters on Carefree Highway and I-17. Congratulations Craig!
Game and Fish Commission
The next Arizona Game and Fish Commission meeting
will be held on Friday and Saturday, April 18-19 in Phoenix at the
department headquarters at 5000 W. Carefree Highway. The
public is welcome to attend. Items on the agenda include but are
not limited to:
Friday (starts at 8 a.m.): Executive session, Teaming
with Wildlife Act of 2008, Information and Education branch activity
briefing, hearings on license revocations and violations.
Saturday (starts at 8 a.m.): Statewide shooting
range briefing, 2008 fall hunt application schedule recommendation,
proposed commission orders for 2008-09, 2009-10 hunting and trapping
seasons (see following article on hunt recommendations), director's
2008 goals and objectives, discussion on future direction of the
new Commission’s Conservationist Committee.
The May Commission meeting will be in Prescott
Agenda and location will be posted to the department's
Web site. Go to www.azgfd.gov/commission
then click the "commission agenda" link on the left.
The 2008-09 proposed hunt
recommendations are available for review
Remember that the Arizona Game and Fish Commission
will be setting the 2008-09 hunting and trapping commission orders
(main regulations) for big game and small game hunting seasons (deer,
turkey, javelina, bighorn sheep, buffalo, bear, mountain lion, quail,
grouse, pheasant, chukar, squirrel, rabbit, and fur bearing and
predatory animals) during its Saturday, April 19 meeting.
Some of the changes proposed for this year include:
Deer: Permit-tag required for some archery-only
Turkey: Fall hunts are limited weapon - shotgun
shooting shot only
Turkey: Juniors-only nonpermit-tag (aka over-the-counter)
Javelina: Fall hunts switching to juniors-only,
hunt permit-tag required (draw)
Tree squirrel: Longer general season, added
two new hunt seasons in units 31 and 33
The complete proposed recommendations are available
for review on the department’s Web site. Click
here to download the PDF.
Snowpack and soggy soil,
please stay on roads and trails
By Jim Harken, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish
The Arizona Game and Fish Department
reminds all shed antler hunters, turkey hunters and those scouting
for upcoming hunts to stay on roads and trails this season.
Shed hunting is a popular activity
of looking for the antlers that have fallen off or been shed from
game animals. Most animals shed their antlers in the spring and
spend the summer and fall seasons growing a new set of antlers.
“Just like during the hunting
season, we ask that you ’walk while you stalk’,”
says Joe Sacco, off-highway vehicle law enforcement program manager.
“The department recommends that you ride your vehicle on the
trails to the area where you think the antlers are, then pack them
out to your machine and drive them home on the roads.”
Damage to areas where cross country
riding occurs can take more than 100 years to recover, especially
if the area where you go cross country is wet. Those tracks can
be seen by other users as an open invitation to unknowingly ruin
a pristine recreational area.
A new illegal trail can cause a lot
of problems for wildlife that live in that area. The noise could
cause animals to leave their regular habitat, anything that drops
off of a machine could be eaten by the animals leading to unnecessary
death, or someone could have a negative interaction with a very
unhappy or startled animal. Minimizing impact on habitat is a key
to successful wildlife conservation.
Stay on Roads
Great photos, stories, news
Arizona Wildlife Views Magazine
If you’re not a subscriber, here is just
a taste of what you have been missing: using trail cameras, hunting
tips, fishing tips, important dates, department news and announcements,
elk hunting and draw odds, owls of Arizona, and much more.
Each 40-page issue of this award-winning magazine
offers stories about Arizona wildlife and outdoor recreation, illustrated
with gorgeous full-color photography.
The official magazine of the Arizona Game and Fish
Department is published six times a year. Subscribe for just $8.50
a year by calling:
(800) 777-0015, or go online at
and click on the link “subscribe or give a gift subscription
leave a wing on
Don't be in a hurry to put your shotgun away. Eurasian collared-doves
were added to the 2007-2008 regulations. The season for these larger
doves is open all year-round. Bag limits are unlimited, offering
wing shooting opportunities every day of the year.
In addition to leaving one feathered wing attached, you will also
need a 2008 hunting license. The migratory bird stamp is not required
to harvest Eurasian collared-doves.
While this is a great way to keep your wing-shooting sharp and
your dogs retrieving skills polished, there is real potential of
shooting the wrong species out of season.
Mourning doves do not completely migrate out of our state and can
be present in similar hunting areas. Hunters will need to have excellent
in-flight identification skills to confidently harvest the correct
Here are some distinctive features of the Eurasian collared-dove
compared to mourning doves to help you make the proper identification.
dove (left), Euraisan dove (center), mourning dove (right).
Photo by Dave King
- Size: Larger than a mourning dove (closer to a white-winged
dove in size)
- Color: Light pale-grey; mourning doves are darker grey / brown
- Tail: Square blunt tail; mourning doves have pointed tails
- Wings: Dark primary wing tips; mourning doves are mostly gray.
- Head: Thin black collar around top and down the sides of neck;
mourning doves do not have a collar (however, this is not always
present or noticeable in flight)
Have fun, network, learn
Why take hunter education if it's not mandatory?
There are many good reasons. You will learn:
- hunting techniques
- hunter responsibility and ethics
- how firearms work
- firearm safety and use
- wildlife identification
- wildlife conservation and management
- survival and first aid
- make new friends with similar interests
Designed to accommodate today's busy schedules,
online classes are still focused on making you a safer and more
knowledgeable hunter. Attending a field
day is still a requirement of the program.
"The comment we hear most is that the course
offers flexibility for people with busy schedules, but still provides
the value of the interactive field day.” says Ed Huntsman,
department conservation education coordinator.
One student's father says, "My son just turned
10 and was able to do the online course and field day, and still
make his hunt."
Another participant stated, "I had been trying
for a long time to find a course (traditional) I could work around
my schedule. Doing it online was great."
Although it is not mandatory for adults to attend
the class to hunt in Arizona, it is highly recommended. However,
if you are planning on hunting in another state, please check with
that state well in advance to see if proof of hunter education is
required, as the Arizona program is recognized by all other state
Youth ages 10 through 13 who wish to hunt big game,
turkey, javelina, deer, elk, etc., must have a hunter education
certification in addition to the licenses and tags required.
For more details visit:
Remember our safety phrase:
T.A.B. + 1
T = Treat every gun as if it were
A = Always point your muzzle in a safe direction.
B = Be sure of your target and what is beyond.
+1 = Keep your finger outside the trigger guard
until ready to shoot.
Happy hunting and be safe!
Attention: Kaibab varmint
and turkey hunters, you can help
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission is encouraged
by the growing participation rate of hunters using non-lead ammunition
during the 2007 fall hunting season.
Surveys show that more than 80 percent of hunters
took measures last year to reduce the amount of available spent
lead ammunition in the California condor’s core range versus
60 percent in 2006.The commission recently agreed to continue the
department’s voluntary lead reduction program aimed at protecting
Arizona’s endangered California condor.
The department, and its partners, are encouraging
hunters to continue sportsmen’s proud tradition of wildlife
conservation by using non-lead ammunition in condor range in Game
Management Units 9, 10, 12A/B, and 13A/B.
Going into the spring season, turkey and varmint
hunters are encouraged to either switch to non-lead bullets or to
remove entrails (gut piles) from the field and turn them into department
For more information on non-lead
ammunition and a list of the available calibers, visit: www.azgfd.gov/condor
1 lucky raffle ticket!
Manuel Ybarra from Queen Creek purchased one raffle ticket from
the department's Asset Sale at the International Sportsman's Expo
on March 9 and was present during the drawing - winning him this
beautiful bighorn sheep mount.
Dollars raised from the department's asset sales and auctions are
used to purchase equipment and specialized training to assist officers
to more effectively perform their duties in protecting Arizona's
To learn more about the Wildlife Assets
Program, visit: www.azgfd.gov/assets
or call (623) 236-7303
more Hunting Highlights?
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Quick resource links:
game draw info
Avery Shooting Facility
Avery Clay Target Center
and Conservation page
answer to 911
Report Wildlife Violators
OPERATION GAME THIEF is a public awareness program
that allows people to call in on a toll-free hotline, 24 hours a
day, 365 days a year, to report wildlife violations. Poaching is
serious business in Arizona. There are only 156 commissioned officers
in the Arizona Game and Fish Department and many of these officers
only do enforcement part-time. The department relies on the honest
citizens of the state to assist in the reduction of wildlife violations.
Poachers are thieves and they are stealing Arizona’s
most precious natural resource—its WILDLIFE! It doesn't matter
if you hunt or fish in our great state, wildlife is here for ALL
of us to enjoy. The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Operation
Game Thief Program is asking that you report any suspicious activity
to the department. You can do this by either calling our toll-free
hotline at 1-800-352-0700, or filling out as much of the information
as possible (all fields are optional) on the link to the online
We will keep your report CONFIDENTIAL upon request,
and REWARDS of $50-$1,000 may be offered in certain cases. Eligible
cases will pay rewards upon the arrest of the violator.
OPERATION GAME THIEF
24 HOURS A DAY
Or report a violation online at:
Arizona’s rich outdoor heritage
is enjoyed by all, thanks to hunters like you, whose purchase of
hunting equipment supports wildlife management and habitat enhancement
in the Grand Canyon State.
When you purchase a rifle, ammunition, archery equipment
and other sporting gear, you pay a federal excise tax and import
Since 1937, this money has been collected by the
federal government and redistributed to the states using a formula
based on hunting license sales and the state’s land area.
In 2006, that meant more than $6.5 million for game
management in Arizona.
This money paid for game surveys, hunter education
classes, wildlife water catchment construction and wildlife research,
among other projects.
Hunters like you are part of the
largest and most successful wildlife conservation programs in the
world… Thank you.