Doves, doves and more doves
By Doug Burt, public information officer, AGFD

Okay, this issue is not all about doves, but that’s where we'll start.

The season opener kicks off Sept. 1 and coincides with Labor Day this year. This year should prove to be one to be remembered, for two significant reasons: rain and grain. Don’t miss the dove hunting outlook article by Rory Aikens to find out where the birds are. However, before you get there - check out the recipe for dove kabobs. If you thought the fast pace of shooting doves was the best part of the season, wait until you try this recipe.

You'll also find a variety of other articles in this newsletter.

We received a great spring turkey success story. Read how this young hunter found his way into the outdoors - by the sounds of the story, he’s hooked. This is a shining example of how important mentors and juniors-only programs are for the future of hunting and wildlife management.

The good news is, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission just made some significant changes to the 2009 spring hunt regulations. Junior hunters can now purchase over-the-counter spring and fall turkey tags. There are many other improvements, too; be sure to check out the “Commission takes steps...” article.

For hunters who use OHVs, you should be aware that new rules and regulatrions will take effect on Jan. 1, 2009. See Jim Harken’s article for the latest OHV developments.

Getting back to the kids, there are some great juniors' opportunities to take to the field this fall. Right now, there are plenty of juniors-only fall javelina tags left over. The department is going to host a few javelina workshops in mid-September to help these young hunters get started in the right direction. Be sure to read game specialist Jim Heffelfinger’s tips for hunting fall javelina – this guy knows his stuff.

Be sure to mark your calendar for Oct. 10-11 for a trip to the pine trees for a hands-on hunting workshop. The Pinetop regional office is hosting the event to teach youngsters and new hunters how to hunt tree squirrels. This event always proves to be a fun and exciting weekend. Find out all the details and how to register in Bruce Sitko’s article “Workshop teaches introduction to hunting.”

As you can see, there are a ton of options for getting into the outdoors. For more dates and events, check out the Sportsman’s Planning Calendar and the many other sidebar topics.

Until next time, happy hunting and be safe.


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Recipe: Grilled dove kabobs

There is nothing like the feeling of shooting a dove at first light on a humid Arizona morning, but sometimes, the best part of the hunt is sharing your harvest with close friends and family members. Here is a tried and true recipe, guaranteed to get you excited about that 3 a.m. wakeup.

Using filleted dove meat marinated in Italian dressing, onions, green peppers, red peppers, bacon, and corn. Then build your kabob to your tastes. Grill on the top rack (or indirectly) for 15 minutes to bring all the ingredients to temperature, then cook on the bottom rack over hot fire, quickly, for about 5 minutes. Dove meat should be rare to medium-rare for best taste. Serve with cheese-garlic toast and wild rice. Will feed 6-10 people.


  • 10 dove breasts - filleted off breast bone
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 large red onion
  • 4 ears of corn
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 2 cups Italian dressing


Remove dove breast from bone and quarter. Marinate in Italian dressing for 1-2 hours. Chunk cut peppers and onions. Slice corn into one-inch wide wheels. Slice bacon into 3-4 inch strips. On a skewer, alternate vegetables and dove, using bacon on both sides of meat and an onion slice by the bacon.

But the fun is, you can build them how you like. Slow cook over indirect heat for 15 minutes, then cook on hot grill, basting with Italian dressing often. Dove should be cooked rare to medium-rare.

After you try this recipe, post your comments or other recipe suggestions at

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Hunting outlook: Doves - what a year it should be
Story and photos by Rory Aikens, public information officer, AGFD

White-winged dove on saguaro cactus

Did you know that increased gasohol demand and the bountiful dove hunting opportunities in central Arizona this year for the Sept. 1-15 early season have something in common?

They do.

According to an article published by the Arizona Farm Bureau written by George Frisvold, a professor of agriculture at the University of Arizona, for the first time since 1976 the number of acres planted in wheat in Arizona exceeds the number of acres planted in cotton. Cotton has little value for doves and other wildlife. Wheat fields provide high-value wildlife real estate.

Arizona Game and Fish Department biologists said that these changing agricultural practices bode well for dove populations, and many other wildlife species as well. But grain crops aren’t the only factors for what biologists believe should be a good dove year.

“Superb winter and spring rains, coupled with decent summer rains, have also created favorable dove habitats in central Arizona,” said Migratory Bird Specialist Mike Rabe.

Once again this year, dove hunters can expect the birds, especially white-winged doves, to be concentrated in agricultural areas, just like in the past. But also this year, expect to find mourning doves dispersed into the desert as well.

“Right now, there are plentiful seed crops in the desert areas and abundant water sources. This creates plenty of opportunities for dispersed hunting, rather than hunting the more congested areas,” Rabe said.

Rabe also said scouting takes on added importance this year. “You’ll want to get out and identify those fields with grain that are attracting doves. Plus, increased urban encroachment means the fields you hunted last year might be within a quarter-mile of occupied structures – especially new subdivisions – this year.”

Scout first.

The early dove season from Sept. 1-15 this year is once again half-day hunting for adults in the southern zone (all day for adults in the northern zone), but youth can hunt all day in either zone.

The Game and Fish Department is once again offering a juniors-only dove hunt at the Robbins Butte Wildlife Area on Sept. 6-7 (the first weekend of the dove hunt). The Chandler Rod and Gun Club will also be providing young dove hunters and their mentors a scrumptious pancake and sausage breakfast following the morning hunt.

One young girl who outshot her older brothers during one of the past youth dove hunts had commented, “It was more fun than Disneyland!”

For more information on the Robbins Butte juniors dove hunt, contact Phil Smith at (602) 290-2237.

All hunters should keep in mind that Arizona is experiencing a cottontail rabbit bonanza this year. “A passel of dove breasts can feed a family, but add in some cottontails and you can create a feast for your favorite neighbors as well,” Rabe said.

The late season dove hunt is Nov. 21, 2008 through Jan. 4, 2009. “White-winged doves will have migrated south long before the late season, but especially this year, there are plenty of mourning doves. In fact, each year the late dove season seems to increase in popularity as more and more hunters experience the terrific wing-shooting opportunities in the mild early winter weather,” Rabe said.

Hunters should obtain a copy of the 2008-09 Arizona Dove Regulations prior to going afield. A general hunting license is required for youth 14 years and older, and a migratory bird stamp is required for all hunters 16 years and older. Kids 13 and younger can hunt without a license when accompanied by a properly licensed person 18 years or older.

Regulations are available at more than 300 license dealers statewide or can be downloaded from the department’s Web site at

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Junior hunters: Sam Wrasse's spring gobbler
One junior, one hour, one Tom

By Brian Fish, friend and hunting mentor

Thirteen-year-old Sam Wrasse has always shown an interest for hunting, which is unusual, since he comes from a non-hunting family. My brother Grant, and Sam’s father, Clayton, have been business partners for a long time, so Sam was always around to hear our hunting adventures. With his dad’s blessing, Sam started going with us on our hunting scouting trips.

Every story and scouting trip just fueled a fire inside him. So, finally it was agreed between Sam, his dad, and my brother that if Sam would continue to get good grades in school and stay out of trouble, that when he turned 10, he would be able to take the hunter education course. Grant took Sam to every class and made sure he understood everything the instructor was teaching. Needless to say, Sam passed with flying colors and was now able to apply for upcoming hunts.

After two unsuccessful years of trying to draw a spring turkey tag, Sam finally was drawn for a juniors-only spring turkey hunt.

On opening morning we picked Sam up at 4 a.m., and he was already up and ready to go. Grant asked him what time he got up, and Sam replied that he didn’t want to oversleep so he got up at 2:45 a.m.

We arrived at our spot at 4:30 a.m. We eased out of the truck closing doors as quietly as we could, when all of a sudden, my brother locked the truck and accidentally set off the truck alarm, and two loud alarm noises echoed through the woods! The response we got was six gobblers announcing their presence with thundering gobbles in the darkness.

We quietly eased into our calling location and set up the decoys. As daylight approached I started calling. With every yelp and cluck the six toms would gobble, but there were hens calling everywhere. I was doing my best to compete with the hens when all the gobblers flew down.

Five of them headed up the creek away from us towards the hens, while one stayed on the point where he roosted. As I continued my impression of a love-sick hen, the tom came to our direction. As the tom approached, Sam finally got to see him at 40 yards just to his right. At that point, the gobbler puffed up and ran right at our decoys. As he passed behind a big tree Sam raised his gun into position. The gobbler began to spur and beat one of our jake decoys.

Sam, being as calm as he could be (I could see his knees shaking from 10 yards behind him) tightened down on his gun, I clucked one time to raise the tom's head, and at 20 yards Sam laid the hammer down on him! Immediately Sam was hooting and hollering!

This hunt only lasted for one hour as it was over at 5:30 a.m., but the experience and memories will last a lifetime. There is nothing more rewarding then seeing the smile on a young man’s face when his dreams come true.

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Commission takes steps to assist hunter recruitment
First-ever juniors-only over-the-counter spring turkey tags

By Doug Burt, public information officer, AGFD

Temperatures of 100 degrees often bring on the need to hibernate indoors. However, even without the scorching weather, children are spending more of their time indoors, in front of computers, TVs and video games. In an effort to curb this “nature deficit disorder” (which has been linked to a number of health-related issues), many state wildlife agencies are working to open more doors to get today’s youth outside participating in America’s original outdoor challenge – hunting and fishing.

At its Aug. 9 meeting, the Arizona Game and Fish Commission took another step to make it easier for youngsters and new hunters to take an interest in the outdoors by removing application process barriers when they set the 2009 spring hunting seasons for turkey, javelina, buffalo, and bear.

What is so different? Plenty.

Let’s start with the creation of a juniors-only spring turkey season that will allow a hunting tag to be purchased “over-the-counter” (OTC). This is unique, as most turkey tags are allocated through a random lottery-draw process.

“We feel these [OTC turkey tags] are one of the best things we can do to get new and young hunters in the field. Hunting wild turkey in the spring is incredibly exciting, it’s a great time of the year, and in my opinion – it’s one of the best introductions to the hunting experience,” said Brian Wakeling, department supervisor of big game management, father and a dedicated turkey hunter.

That’s not all the turkey talk.

The management of Arizona’s wild turkey population is doing very well, resulting in the approval of the highest number of general spring turkey permits to date at 7,265, an increase of 282 permits. These tags are available to youth and adults through the draw process.

And for one more gobble, reflecting a true wildlife conservation success story, the Gould’s turkey continues to thrive in Arizona. There will be a total of 20 hunt permit-tags available through the draw in the 2009 season. The tags will be allocated in three different hunt units in 2009.

“The real success here is we now have two additional units [areas] to offer limited hunting of this incredible wild turkey. Unit 29 had its first hunt this year, which will continue for next year, and now we are adding unit 31,” adds Wakeling. “This is an incredible success and a direct result from translocation efforts since 2000.”

Moving on to javelina, the commission restructured the archery-only metro hunts to allow tags to be purchased as over-the-counter permits. Prior to the change, hunts for Units 11M, 25M, 26M, 38M, and 47M were allocated through the draw process. This should help get more folks out hunting that might be struggling with fuel costs, travel time from work, and other economy-related burdens.

“Javelina make an excellent quarry to teach a youngster how to hunt with a bow and arrow. Javelina often live in herds of 7-10 animals, and these animals are not as difficult to hunt when compared with deer or elk, due to their fairly poor eyesight. In addition, the archery season runs for most of the month of January – allowing new hunters three full weekends of pursuit,” states Wakeling.

However, don’t write this off as an easy hunt. All of the skills required to hunt other big game species are necessary to be successful, such as using binoculars to locate game, stalking, shot placement, field dressing and packing out your harvest.

The balances of the javelina permits for the 2009 spring season were distributed as follows:

  • General season – 11,680 (decrease of 25 from 2008)
  • Juniors-only season – 990 (increase of 20)
  • H.A.M. season – 5,405 (decrease of 35)
  • Archery season – 9,895 (increase of 250)

The most significant change for buffalo is there are no hunts for the Raymond Wildlife Area herd in 2009 due to management initiatives to increase the population of that herd. However, hunts for the House Rock Wildlife Area herd will increase to 14 tags allocated through the draw.

Spring bear hunters will also see an exciting change for the allocation of tags. The commission has decided to distribute the tags for hunts during the late March through late April 2009 season (except Unit 6B) as over-the-counter permits rather than through the draw, due to relatively low harvest success. There will still be a female harvest limit, and if met, would close the hunt. Each unit also has an annual female harvest objective that would close all subsequent hunts if met. Archery-only hunts that run from May to July are still regulated through the draw process.

Regulations are now available online, and will be at license dealers by mid-September. Hunters can begin applying for spring hunts now. For details, go to the department’s Web site at

The deadline to submit an application for the spring hunts is Tuesday, Oct. 14, by 7 p.m. (MST) – postmarks do not count. There is no online application process available for the fall hunts – it is a manual paper-permit process only.

However, new this year is an editable PDF application. Just type out your information on the computer, then print it out, sign, include your payment and then mail it in. Applicants are encouraged to use the form to prevent some of the common mistakes (including using the unit numbers instead of four-digit hunt number) and for improved legibility. The new form is available at by clicking on “Hunt Permit/Tag Application Form.”

The grace period ends Sept. 25 by 5 p.m. If your application has been received by the department by that date (postmarks don’t count), and you’ve made a mistake on your hunt-permit application, the department will attempt to call you three times in a 24-hour period and give you the opportunity to correct the mistake. After that date, mistakes can cause your application to be rejected.

More information on the fall big game draw can be found on the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Web site at

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New legislation is changing the off-road scene in Arizona
By Jim Harken, public information officer, AGFD

New regulations affecting off-highway vehicle use will go into effect Jan. 1, 2009, thanks to a joint effort between Arizona sportsmen and off-highway vehicle (OHV) user groups. OHVs are defined as those machines primarily designed by the manufacturer for off-highway use and weighing 1,800 pounds or less. New requirements include:

  • Purchase of an annual sticker through the Arizona Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) validating use of the OHV in Arizona. This will be a flat fee that is yet to be determined, but it is anticipated to be lower than the value license tax currently being charged for registration. This includes all-terrain vehicles, side-by-sides (utility vehicles), dirt bikes, and sand rails. Trucks, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), cars, and other recreational vehicles (motor homes) will not be affected.
  • OHV operators and riders under the age of 18 will be required to wear a Department of Transportation (DOT) approved helmet designed for motorized vehicle use.
  • Sound restrictions for OHVs generating sound greater than 96 decibels.

The goal of the new regulations is to provide better OHV management and protection of natural resources while maintaining access. Funds generated from this program will be used to help ensure sustainable opportunities by bolstering grant programs that pay for maintenance, signage, mitigation, education, and enforcement. Remember to leave no trace and that Nature Rules! Stay on Roads and Trails.

For further information and updates on the new regulations, visit:

Stay on Roads and Trails!

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Fall javelina hunting: Information and tips for success
By Jim Heffelfinger, Tucson regional game specialist, and
Doug Burt, public information officer, AGFD

Do you know a young hunter that would like to go big game hunting? Here is the perfect hunting trip for a youngster fresh out of hunter education class.

There are almost 2,000 fall javelina tags available for junior hunters. The permits are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The majority of the hunts are in units in beautiful southern Arizona. The season dates are either Oct. 10-16 or Nov. 21-27, depending on hunt choice. For details on applying for a tag, visit

Note: The harvest limit is one javelina per calendar year. If you harvested a javelina this past spring of 2008, you cannot hunt javelina this fall.

Javelina hunting is fun, exciting, challenging and a great way to test your skills of locating game, glassing, stalking, shooting and hopefully, processing your harvest.

Hunting javelina during the fall, as opposed to the spring, is fairly new. However, temperate fall weather and mixed bag opportunities for rabbit and quail, makes this a desirable hunt. The department is hosting a couple of javelina hunting workshops in September. These informative workshops are taught by knowledgeable wildlife biologists and fellow javelina hunters. Their goal is to teach new hunters how to get started and increase their odds for success.

For locations and times of the javelina workshops, click here.

In the meantime, while you are waiting for your tag to come in the mail, the following tips will provide you with plenty to learn about how to find, hunt and harvest a javelina this fall.

Stereotyped for their lack of intelligence, the javelina is not any less intelligent than our other native wildlife. Their eyesight is very poor at distances greater than 100 yards. This is understandable for an animal that evolved in the thick brush where food, water, shelter, and predators could only be seen at very short distances. Their sense of smell and hearing abilities, however, are very well developed.

Javelina travel in large groups, or herds; on average there are 8-12 animals in a herd. These herds occupy a territory of about 1-2 square miles that is defended from other adjacent herds. In good javelina habitat, each territorial boundary abuts the boundary of adjacent herds. This makes it somewhat difficult to answer the question, "Where are the javelina in this area?" Answer: Find good habitat, you’ll likely find javelina.

Although javelina are “everywhere,” they never seem to be where you are (even when you’ve seemingly been everywhere). Knowing how javelina feed and what signs they leave behind is the key to successful javelina hunting.

Feeding javelina concentrate heavily on succulents such as prickly pear, hedgehog, barrel cactus, lechuguilla, and cholla. The fruits and fleshy parts provide not only nutritious feed, but water as well. When javelina feed on prickly pear pads they grasp the pad and pull, which shreds the pad and leaves the stringy interior fibers visible.

Small cacti such as hedgehogs are knocked over with a front hoof and the insides are eaten out so that only the tough outer skin and spines remain. Lechuguilla leaves are pulled apart and left scattered as the javelina eats the fleshy heart out of the plant. Roots and tubers are also dug or "rooted" up by javelina in search of nutrition. All of which give indication if there are javelina in the area.

Javelina spend their time resting and feeding. Resting occurs primarily in traditional bedding grounds which are located in low areas of thick brush or caves throughout their territory. Bedding grounds offer soft soil to lie on and protection from predators and the weather.

Javelina meat is considered, by some, to be less than palatable. However, if properly cared for in the field, javelina provide good eating. The key is to field dress the animal immediately and skin it at your first opportunity. Don’t worry about the scent gland above the tail; it is attached to the skin and will come off when you skin the animal. The hairs of the javelina are covered with this scent; make sure you do not touch the meat with the hand that has been holding the hide.

Tips for finding pigs:
Hunting is 100-percent luck, and the other half is hard work, but there are things you can do to greatly improve your chance of being in the right place at the right time. Here are our “Lucky 7” tips for finding game.

  1. Be prepared: Spend a significant amount of time scouting/researching before the season. You can locate herds of javelina and start to understand their distribution and movement patterns.
  2. Take your game sitting down: The old adage that a good hunter wears out the seat of his or her pants before the soles of their boots describes perfectly what glassing is all about. At least 90 percent of your time should be sitting down behind your optics.
  3. Look on the bright side: You always want to have the sun to your back. Not only does this prevent you from looking into the sun, but more importantly, you will be looking at canyons and hillsides illuminated brightly.
  4. Get high and lay low: When glassing you should climb as high as possible to get the best view and set up in the shade of a tree, bush or other structure. It is always tempting to stop short, but for every 50 feet in elevation, more and more country down below opens up for your inspection.
  5. Concentrate on the details: Natural-colored big game animals are not going to be standing out like a neon sign on the other side of the canyon. If you are not concentrating, you will miss javelina right in the middle of your field of view.
  6. No room for random: Glassing does not entail looking around willy-nilly hoping to spot something. Glassing efficiently and effectively means you search your visible area in a systematic way. A tripod is a must if you are serious.
  7. Come early, stay late: If you want to be successful you have to make sure you are active during the same time periods as your game. Take advantage of the “Golden Hours” -- the first hour after the sun up and the last hour of sun in the evening. Pack a lunch and stay afield all day.

Jim Heffelfinger has worked with the department for more than 16 years. He is well known in the wildlife community, is an adjunct faculty member at the 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."

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Workshop teaches introduction to hunting
By Bruce Sitko, information and education program manager,
AGFD Pinetop regional office

Want to learn how to hunt tree squirrels?

The Arizona Game and Fish Department will conduct a free small game hunting camp on Oct. 10 and 11 in the White Mountains to provide Arizona youth and others with the basic skills they need to successfully pursue tree squirrels. The program will also provide an overview of hunting opportunities for other small game species in our state. Youth need to be at least 8 years old to participate.

"This intensive camp is designed to provide youth and those new to hunting with an opportunity to enhance their hunting knowledge and skills here in Arizona, while also teaching them the values of stewardship and wildlife conservation," says Wildlife Manager Supervisor Mike Godwin. "The workshop is all about hands-on learning, asking questions and being with others who are also interested in hunting in our state."

The camp will be held at the Los Burros Campground, located on Forest Road 224 that runs between Vernon and McNary. The program will cover hunting opportunities, firearm safety and game care. Other activities include archery instruction and 3-D shooting, survival basics, first aid and more. Instructional sessions begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, and participants will hunt in the field with mentors Saturday.

The workshop, sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, includes meals, instruction and field time with hunting mentors. The program is aimed at developing responsible and successful hunters who recognize the importance of wildlife and habitat conservation. The White Mountain Rod and Gun Club will also be assisting with the event.

For more information or to sign up, contact or call the department’s Pinetop office at (928) 367-4281. The workshops are free, but pre-registration is required.

To learn more about squirrel and other small game hunting in Arizona, visit the following links:

Volunteer 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 experiences.

Listed below are 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:

Sept. 13
29th Annual Lower Salt River Clean-Up, near Saguaro Lake

Pre-register online or register at the clean up site between 7-9 a.m.
General trash clean up and removal to benefit wildlife.
Contact Sheryl Yerkovich: (480) 610-3332 or

Oct. 18
Sycamore Mesa fence modification (GMU 21) – Arizona Antelope Foundation, near Cordes Junction

Modifying fence to make it pronghorn/wildlife friendly. Volunteers are encouraged to bring ATV’s/Rangers/Rhinos because the site road is not very good. The AAF will provide a free steak dinner on Saturday night.
Contact Scott Anderson:(480) 213-1611 or

Volunteer Boating Safety Education Program Instructor, statewide

Teach boating education and safety. 35 to 40 applicants are needed. Must be 18 or older, have valid Arizona drivers license, solid boating experience and have completed the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Boat Arizona course. Background check will be performed for certification.
Contact Ed Huntsman: or (623) 236-7237.

Environmental Educator, statewide

This volunteer position will include training in basic animal handling and public presentations. Work at the center may involve lifting up to 50 pounds, interacting with the public, inclement weather and handling live animals. Special notes: We are looking for individuals with strong public speaking backgrounds, possibly retired teachers or college students pursuing a career in education. Valid Arizona driver's license required.
Contact Kellie Tharp: or (623) 236-7238.

Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center Volunteer, Phoenix

Assist with the daily care and maintenance of the resident education animals including: beak trim, talon trim, weight, and medicine logs, preparing diets, cleaning of enclosures and more. Work may involve lifting up to 50 pounds, interacting with the public, inclement weather and handling live animals.
Contact Kellie Tharp: or (623) 236-7238.

Late May through Labor Day Weekend 2009
Sipe Wildlife Area Seasonal Host, near Eager

Open and close visitors center (VC), oversee security of VC facilities. Answer the public’s wildlife and recreational related questions. Greet, provide literature, give directions and provide information and assistance to visitors of the wildlife area. Identify and report any cleaning and maintenance needs to area manager. No experience necessary. Must have own travel trailer or motor home. Water, electricity, sewer, parking pad provided. May hook up satellite TV at own cost.
Contact Brian Crawford: (928) 333-4518, or

Immediate: April 1, 2008 – October 31, 2008
Tonto Creek Hatchery Summer Host, near Payson

Live on site, assist with facility maintenance and interact with visitors. Good communication and interpersonal skills required and 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.
Contact John Diehl: (928) 478-4200 or

Immediate: April 15, 2008 - ongoing
Upper Verde River Host, near Chino Valley

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. Host should have good communication and interpersonal skills, and accept and follow supervision/instruction from manager. A recreational vehicle site with water, propane, and septic is provided.
Contact Jeff Pebworth: (928) 692-7700 or

Year round
Range Safety Officers at Ben Avery Shooting Facility, Phoenix

Range Safety Officer (RSO) 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 Matthew Schwartzkopf: or (602) 904-2622.

Ongoing, Saturdays
Page Springs Wildlife Area Trail Maintenance, near Sedona

Assist with trail maintenance, using hand tools such as rakes, shovels and clippers. This is a cooperative project with the Northern Audubon Society.
Contact Gene Okamoto: or (928) 634-4805

Ongoing: Monthly, 1st and 3rd Thursday, evenings
Volunteer Shotgun Instructor or Range Officer for Women's Shooting Program, Phoenix

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. Instructors will teach, and assist in teaching, or proctor the hour-long introductory class. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and participate in a free-of-charge Shotgun Instructor Certification process (2-day class). It is desirable, but not necessary, that instructors have shooting experience, basic knowledge of firearms and firearms safety, and some teaching/public speaking experience. Benefits to volunteers include free shooting at the main range and discounts at local sporting goods locations.
Contact Fred Jeffers: (623) 262-4623 or

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Vol. 4 No. 4 Aug.-Sept. 2008
In this issue:

Doves, doves and more doves

Recipe: Grilled dove kabobs

Hunting outlook: Doves - what a year it should be

Junior hunters: Sam Wrasse's spring gobbler

Commission takes steps to assist hunter recruitment

New legislation is changing the off-road scene in Arizona

Fall javelina hunting: Information and tips for success

Workshop gives introduction to hunting

Volunteer opportunities

Sportsman's Planning Calendar

1 - Labor Day
1 - Dove season opener
1 - Unit 33 squirrel season*
5 - Antelope general season opener
5-6 - Commission meeting, Pinetop
6-7 Juniors-only dove hunt at Robbins Butte
12 - Archery elk season opener
12 - Band-tailed pigeon season opener (north zone)
12 - Blue grouse season opener
12 - Chukar season opener
19 - band-tailed pigeon season opener (south zone)
15 - Catfish stocking resumes at urban lakes
22 - First day of fall (fall equinox)
22 - First come-serve sandhill
26 - Elk general season opener
27 - National Hunting & Fishing Day
29 - Reservation deadline for Cibola NWR goose hunts
Mid-Sept. -
Waterfowl regulations online
Mid-Sept. - Spring regulations at license dealers

3 - Fall turkey season opener
3 - Quail season opener (Gambel’s & scaled)
3 - Squirrel season opener
3 - Juniors-only (nonpermit-tag) turkey season opener
10 - Juniors-only deer season opener
10 - Juniors-only Javelina season opener
10 - Juniors-only elk season opener
10-11 - Commission meeting, Phx.
14 - Spring hunt application deadline
24 - Expected fall deer season opener

Ask a wildlife manager:

What is considered military full metal jacketed ammo as referenced

Answer: Provided by Gene Elms, law enforcement branch chief

The ammo the statute is referring to is an entirely metal bullet and does not exhibit any of the characteristics of a mushroomed lead bullet on impact. These rounds were outlawed for hunting because they do not create a substantial wound for harvesting an animal humanely.

To identify military ammunition, they are usually distinguished as such by a “code” of single numbers and letters stamped into the base of the brass around the primer.

Most ammunition has a metal jacket and most have a lead core, and are acceptable for hunting. Generally, ammunition suitable for hunting is identified by the name of the manufacturer on the base of the cartridge, for example “Rem,” “Win,” “Speer” or some other manufacturer should be stamped on the base.

If you have a question about hunting or fishing laws, rules and regulations or just an ethical situation, email:
Use Subject title: Ask a WM

Hunting Highlights receives award

The Association for Conservation Information (ACI), awarded the department's Hunting Highlights e-newsletter a second place for design and information in the “Big Idea, Small Budget” category.

This is the second award in as many years for Hunting Highlights.

The Association for Conservation Information is a non-profit association of information and education professionals representing state, federal and Canadian agencies and private conservation organizations.

We hope you enjoy this bi-monthly publication as much as we enjoy providing it to you.

Hunting Highlights has a blog

Are you searching for some information on elk hunting? Do you want to find all you can about junior hunting stories? Well, now you can.

The entire archives of Hunting Highlights have been added to its new blog Web site. What's nice about it is the convenience of categorizing by topic and date of entry, which makes the entire archives a searchable database.

We will continue with this magazine-style layout with the email notification; the blog is just an additional tool help you quickly find relevant information and stay connected with Hunting Highlights.

Hunters raise nearly $500,000 for Arizona’s wildlife

The 2008 Arizona Big Game Super Raffle (AZBGSR) was held July 19 in Phoenix and nine lucky ticket holders walked away with a special big game tag and the chance at a hunt-of-a-lifetime, and one took home a fine optics package.

The winners are:
* Cal Sutton, Peoria - Antelope
* Dwight Callahan, Gold Canyon Bear
* Ryan Ashton, Saint Johns - Buffalo
* Brian Williams, Christiana, Tenn.- Coues Deer
* Robert Dunn, Yuma - Elk
* JC Amberlin, Kingman - Javelina
* Jerry Elliott, Gilbert - Mule Deer
* Scott Krieg, Glendale- Bighorn Sheep
* Mark Griffith, Mesa - Turkey
* Richard Wilson, Phoenix - Swarovski optics

While congratulations are in order for all the fortunate winners, the real news is what happened for all of the residents of Arizona. This year's raffle generated more than $475,000, which will go directly on the ground to benefit Arizona’s wildlife.

To learn about the raffle, visit:

Shawn Wagner receives two Officer-of-the-Year awards

Shawn Wagner, Region I Pinetop wildlife manager, was recently honored as “Wildlife Manager of the Year” by the department and as the “Pogue-Elms Officer of the Year” by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA).

“Wagner is an exceptional credit to the department,” says Bob Birkeland, wildlife manager supervisor. “He was nominated for this award for many reasons, including outstanding contributions to fish and wildlife law enforcement. He has shown great leadership, skill and ingenuity during the performance of his job, and in promoting law enforcement training and education for other officers. He has always demonstrated high ethics, standards and practices.”

A 12-year veteran, Wagner played an instrumental role in Operation Bear Bones, an extensive multi-agency undercover operation targeting illegal guiding and unlawful take of numerous wildlife. The operation resulted in 16 suspects being charged with more than 60 wildlife violations and one suspect facing six felony charges involving killing of stray horses on U.S. Forest Service lands near Show Low.

He received the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s award June 11 in Flagstaff and the WAFWA award July 14 in Rapid City, South Dakota, during the annual WAFWA meetings.

Calling all deer...

You’ve heard of turkey calls and predator calls, but what about deer calls — is it possible to call in deer?

Find out in the September-October issue of Arizona Wildlife Views magazine.

To get Arizona’s award-winning wildlife magazine for your very own, call (800) 777-0015, or go online at and click the link “subscribe or give a gift subscription online.” Don’t miss the next issue, with stories about how to hunt predators, why the Game and Fish Commission has changed the hunt orders, and how switching to non-lead bullets is giving the California condor increased odds for survival.

Six issues a year are just $8.50. And right now you can take advantage of a special deal: Give someone a subscription, and you’ll get a 2009 Arizona Wildlife Calendar, free (a $3 value). The calendar will feature winners of this year’s photo contest, selected from among more than 1,000 entries.

Give a gift, get a gift — and everybody wins.

Arizona’s online hunter safety course celebrates first year
Participation indicates program accommodates future hunters

Time constraints and a reliance on technology have impacted all aspects of society, and the educational arena is no exception. Internet-based education programs, including hunter education, have evolved to better accommodate students’ schedules and learning needs in today’s fast-paced world.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department introduced its online hunter education program one year ago to provide a convenient option for students unable to take the traditional classroom program.

Since its introduction last August, 940 students have successfully completed the self-paced study portion of the online course. However, to become fully certified, students must also successfully pass a mandatory “hands-on field day” within 90 days of completing the online course work. To date, 532 people have done so and have become fully certified. That number is expected to increase as temperatures cool for the outdoor field days.

Due to the success of the program, starting Sept. 20 there will be an online field day offered the third Saturday of each month at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in the conservation education building.

There are many good reasons to take hunter safety, including:

  • 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

For more details visit:

Remember our safety phrase:
T.A.B. + 1

T = Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
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!

Commission meetings

The next commission meeting will be held Sept. 5-6 at the department's Pinetop regional office located at 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd., Pinetop, AZ 85935.

Friday's meeting starts at 10 a.m. with an executive session, followed by the public meeting. Some of the topics to be covered include litigation reports, quarterly budget review, notice of proposed rulemaking for new OHV rules due to the passing of SB1167, consent and habitat agenda items, agreement between the department and the City of Coolidge to allow hunting in designated areas, and the 2008 commission award selections.

Saturday's public meeting begins at 8 a.m. with updates from the information branch, education branch, shooting ranges and a hearing request from a citizen about the archery Kaibab hunt.

To download a full agenda, visit
and click on agenda.

The next commission meeting is Oct. 10-11 in Phoenix.

Find out what is happening in the outdoors at

Wildlife and outdoor recreation enthusiasts can now learn about upcoming fishing clinics, hunting seminars, nature talks and more by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Outdoor Calendar.

Outdoor groups are encouraged to add their public events to the Outdoor Calendar. Examples of events include hunting workshops, fishing clinics, birding/nature hikes, wildlife presentations, shooting sports and archery events, off-highway vehicle programs, boating safety fairs, and public meetings.

As an added perk, selected events will be listed on the department’s home page, which is viewed by more than 125,000 visitors each month.

Got a great outdoor photo?
Share it on the Game & Fish Web site

Are your digital pictures collecting dust on your hard drive? Did you capture a great shot of elk in a meadow, did you have a successful day hunting, or did you just capture that perfect Arizona sunset?

If you did, we want to see it and we are making it easy. The Arizona Game and Fish Department now offers a photo gallery Web site that is free for you to post your outdoor pictures at.

All you need to do is create a user name and password and start posting at:

Need more Hunting Highlights?

Visit the archives at:

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Follow the link below to unsubscribe from this mailing, to change other account subscriptions or to change your e-mail address and contact information.

Click here to edit your account

Quick resource links:

Rules and regulations

Big game draw info

Where to hunt

Hunter education classes

Fishing page

Ben Avery Shooting Facility

Ben Avery Clay Target Center

Wildlife and Conservation page

Frequently asked questions

Wildlife's 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 law 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 form below.

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.


Or report a violation online at:

Thank you hunters!

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 duties.

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.