Game and Fish Outdoor Expo 2008

will be packed with outdoor fun

Largest hands-on outdoor exposition in Arizona

By Rory Aikens, public information officer,
Arizona Game and Fish Department

The Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo 2008 will be jam-packed with outdoor fun and adventure for the whole family on March 29 and 30 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, just west of I-17 on Carefree Highway.

It’s free.

This premier 1,600-acre shooting facility is once again being transformed into the largest hands-on outdoor expo in Arizona that can keep your family enthused and delighted all weekend long. And there are no admission or parking fees, just lots of fun.

This year’s exciting Outdoor Expo runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit the Game and Fish Department’s Web site at www.azgfd.gov/expo. Last year, the Expo attracted more than 17,000 people and 100 exhibitors.

“Families raved about how much fun they had at the Game and Fish Expo last year,” said Ty Gray with the Game and Fish Department, “This year, we have made this great hands-on event even better. There’s a little something to delight all outdoor enthusiasts. You won’t want to miss it.”

You can come shoot some of the latest firearms from Sturm, Ruger and Co., Glock, Smith & Wesson, Marlin and Benelli. Or test your skill at shooting Olympic-caliber air rifles or fun .22-caliber rifles. You will even be able to see live wildlife up close and personal from the Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center, or catch-and-release a fish at the ever-popular Family Fishing Tank. There is also an interactive nature trail.

Want to test drive the latest all-terrain vehicles or watch customized rock crawlers do amazing feats? If so, you will want to visit the special Off-Highway Vehicle Area.

Expo visitors can also learn to shoot a bow and arrow or see the latest in archery equipment at the newly-enhanced Archery Area. Or you can come try your hand at shooting trap, skeet or sporting clays at the revamped and modernized Clay Target Center.

Interested in the country’s fastest-growing shooting sport, cowboy action shooting? How about tactical-style pistol shooting? Then you will want to visit the Specialty Shooting Range section of the Expo. You can even try your hand at shooting a Gatling gun.

Throughout the weekend, there will be demonstrations and workshops galore. Plus there are more than 100 exhibitors, outdoor organizations, and other interesting booths to visit, and plenty of good food to purchase at the Food Court.

Last year, one outdoor family said that the Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo was more fun than Disneyland and it only cost them a few dollars for the ammunition they shot.

There is also something new this year – a youth education day on Friday, March 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., where teachers can bring their classes for a host of educational activities, including live wildlife demonstrations, a wilderness safety course, geocaching demonstrations, fishing, and much more.

The Youth Day will also include the state’s Archery in the Schools competition, which is looking very competitive. This year, there are 100 schools participating in the Archery in the Schools Program conducted by the Game and Fish Department.

For more information on the Youth Day or the Outdoor Expo, visit:
www.azgfd.gov/expo

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Junior hunters: Hunter Middleton arrows his first javelina

Submitted by Ken Middleton, grandfather

The following is a thank-you letter, sent by a grandfather to Hunter Education Instructor Cliff Saylor. This is another example of how education programs and the outdoors build great relationships.

Cliff,

Here is my grandson Hunter Middleton's first javelina. He completed Hunter Education in June 2007. He was also chosen for the youth pheasant hunt. Attached is a photo of him and his classmate Logan. We are very proud of him. Thank you for teaching our next generation of hunters to be ethical, safe, responsible and passionate.

Ken

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Hunting outlook: Javelina

By Brian Wakeling, big game management supervisor, Arizona Game and Fish Department

As the general javelina season draws near, those of you lucky enough to obtain a spring tag may be planning the best approach to your hunt as you read this.

Javelina hunting is one of those activities that can be difficult if you are unfamiliar with your hunting area and the fates don't smile on you. Javelina spend their entire year in a relatively small area that meets their lifestyle needs, but they can be difficult to spot and often change their habits in response to the frequently unpredictable weather and habitat changes that can occur during the January and February hunting seasons.

This winter has seen pretty good rainfall throughout much of Arizona’s javelina range. Statewide, our javelina herds remained fairly stable from last year, so don't expect any large changes in herd abundance. Javelina will forage along sunny hillsides during cool mornings to take advantage of the early morning warmth. They often spend evenings bedded in mesquite thickets or rocky caves to conserve warmth and may be glassed up with binoculars in the mornings as they move from bedding ground to prickly-pear-studded feeding areas. If you are walking along washes, you may jump a herd out of the drainage - which can result in challenging shots and frustrating results. If you can spot them before they spot you, you are way ahead of the game.

Because of the rainfall this winter, there is quite a bit of green growth in many areas. This can be good and bad for a javelina hunter. Javelina are easier to see on a green hillside, but because they seek out fresh green growth for foraging, they are not limited to any small patches of green forage. In many areas, tall grass from late summer growth can hide these short game animals. Inclement weather generally encourages javelina to seek shelter, making them harder to find. Although their eyesight is not the best in the world, they have great noses. So keep your face to the wind when hunting.

A predator call can attract javelina if they have been separated, because the call sounds like a distressed young javelina. A predator call can also kick a herd of javelina into high gear and may result in a herd that could have been stalked leaving the area entirely. Blowing a call is not a guarantee, so use it sparingly and not as your first plan of attack.

Spring javelina hunts occur during a beautiful time of year to experience the desert habitats of Arizona. Take the time to enjoy your hunt!

And what to do once you harvest one of these challenging desert dwellers? Here is a recipe to help you get started. As with all game meat, proper care in the field is first and foremost. The dreaded scent gland is a common concern for many new hunters. The best rule to remember is to never touch the area with your hands or knife. When you skin the animal it will come off in that process, leaving the meat untainted.

BBQ Javelina
By Glen Dickens

Almost All Things Edible, page 3-18, a publication of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

This is a tried and true recipe that will make all your javeliina popular with guests. I make it as a take-along pot luck dish, and my crockpot always comes home empty. Any game meat requiring a lot of cooking to be tender will work as well.

  • 3-5 lbs. boned javelina shoulder or ham

  • 2-3 lbs. white onions

  • 20-30 whole cloves

  • 1 qt. favorite BBQ sauce

  • 1 qt. water

Slice and quarter the onions; reserve half the onions in a covered bowl and refrigerate. With a paring knife, make 20-30 small slices in the meat and push a clove into each opening. Arrange half of the remaining sliced onions on the bottom of a crockpot and add meat with the remaining onions on the top. Add water to cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Remove meat to cutting board, reserve cooked onions, discard remaining juices. Shred and cut up the meat, being sure to keep visible cooked cloves. Add meat, the cooked onions, the reserved uncooked onions and the BBQ sauce to crockpot. Cook on low heat stirring occasionally for 4-6 hours. Serve on large hamburger buns and re-tell your hunting adventure to friends and family.

 

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Been hunting? Morgon Hardt's beautiful Coues white-tailed buck
By Milo Hardt, very proud father, Apache Junction.

I ain't much of a hunter, I much preferred to wet a line, instead of hunt, but my 12-year-old son just loves the stuff! And, I gotta honestly say that I thoroughly enjoy being out in the field with him and sharing in all his excitement.

He shot this Coues in October, opening day for youth hunts. Unofficially it scored in the low 80s. I think it took the bullet longer to travel the 250 yards to reach the deer than it did for the deer to hit the ground once the bullet met its mark. Yet another clean shot!

We'd been watching this deer for over a month and he was very predictable. The many hours we spent scouting really paid off. So, too, did the quality optics. And, of course we can't forget to mention all the wonderful instruction and assistance we got from several of our experienced hunting buddies!

Just thought some of you might like seeing this photo! The smile on his face is priceless. Way to go son! We're all VERY proud of you!

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Visit Game and Fish attractions and purchase wildlife assets at the ISE show

By Tom Cadden, public information officer,

Arizona Game and Fish Department

Want to catch a fish, shoot a bow and arrow, and see live wildlife – including all of Arizona’s rattlesnake species? Or maybe you’re interested in bidding on a set of antlers or a mount at the wildlife assets auction?

Either way, be sure to visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s section of the 8th annual International Sportsmen's Exposition (ISE) on March 7-9 (Friday through Sunday) at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.

Come join more than 20,000 outdoor-sports enthusiasts who will be visiting an estimated 400 exhibitors from around Arizona and the world at this fun three-day expo. There are also multiple seminar stages, contests, and a large youth outdoor sports fair.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department will once again have a significant presence this year and will operate the kids fishing pond, a live wildlife display, an archery area, and a trailer for shooting air guns.

The department will also conduct its wildlife assets sale, always a big attraction at the ISE show. The sale enables the public to legally purchase items such as antlers, head mounts, hides and other wildlife parts that have been seized during law enforcement investigations, obtained from animals killed in vehicle collisions, or acquired through donations.

The funds raised through this silent auction-format sale are used to purchase equipment or training to assist Game and Fish officers in more effectively enforcing anti-poaching and other wildlife laws. The department typically sells dozens of sets of elk and deer antlers and several mounts and hides at the ISE show each year. To find out what is available for sale this year, visit www.azgfd.gov/assets.

ISE show hours are Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $12. Children 12 years and under receive free admission. Parking is free. Get your tickets online now! All tickets are valid for one-day admission.

For more information, visit www.sportsexpos.com.

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Junior hunters: Garrett and Kyle bring home harvest and smiles from cow elk hunts

Garrett Herndon continues family tradition with first elk
By Dan Herndon, proud father, Peoria

My son, Garrett Herndon (13), successfully harvested his first elk during this year's cow season. It started with Garrett attending Alicia Jontz's hunter education course back in January 2007, followed by a summer of target practice at the Ben Avery Range with my 7mm Mag. The particular gun is special and has been in the family for over 25 years and was used by me to take my first deer and elk. Garrett and I also enjoy reloading together, and we worked up several variations of handloads in anticipation of our elk hunt. We settled on 175-grain Nosler Partition bullets with a velocity of 2850 ft/second and looked forward to harvesting his first elk with a load we made together.

During the first three days of our hunt, we were up each morning by 3:30 a.m. and hiking by 4:30. We consistently saw bulls everyday, with some as close as 10 - 15 yards, but no cows. We even had a black bear, while we were laying under a tree, walk right up to within 20 yards before we had to scare him away. Another afternoon had us joined by a dozen or so turkeys, who shared our same game trail for over 10 minutes.

By Monday afternoon, the winds had died down, and we set up in a blind to watch a favorite clearing until dark. Just before dark, two cows, a calf, and a bull walked out and began to feed. Garrett and my other hunting buddy took aim and prepared to make the 100-yard shots, but had to hold. The calf and the bull were constantly moving both in front and directly behind the two cows. Then the cows switched sides several times, causing Garrett and my buddy to switch and retarget the elk on their side. This went on for 15 minutes like a game of Elk Twister, while we stayed quiet and waited for two perfect shots. The entire time, Garrett was shaking and breathing with anticipation. I sat directly behind him whispering, coaching every step in the back of his ear and doing my best to keep him calm. Then, in a split second, both cows suddenly turned broadside and the bull and calf were clear. We quickly counted to three, and both hunters fired simultaneously. Garrett had successfully taken his first big game animal.

Garrett also learned that the work really begins AFTER you bag your elk. We like to hunt up in a wilderness area within our zone, with our favorite areas typically ranging from 1.5 to 2.5 miles from the truck. The limited foot access makes for a tough, but peaceful and rewarding hunt. We worked long into the night hiking and packing out two elk under the almost full moon. Thanks, AZGFD, for a great time and life long memory for all.


Kyle Stevens' big year hunting
By James and Joyce Sivley, grandparents, Scottsdale

My wife, Joyce, and I are hunter education instructors and routinely support the Unit Watch for the juniors-only cow elk hunt in Unit 6A. In 2005, our grandson, Kyle Stevens, drew a permit-tag for this hunt and got a shot on opening day, but he failed to connect with his elk. He was not drawn for the 2006 hunt, but 2007 turned out to be his year! First, he drew a permit-tag for the juniors-only spring javelina hunt and harvested a big boar on his third day of hunting.

His success continued when he drew a permit-tag for the 2007 juniors-only cow elk hunt in Unit 6A. This time, he would not be denied and downed a large (335-pound) cow with one shot on the second day of the season. Of course, he was accompanied by his grandparents who witnessed the whole thing. This was Kyle’s first time to harvest a “really big” game animal, and he was ecstatic. Kyle admitted to some “buck fever” tremors on two earlier shot opportunities but said he didn’t have time to get nervous on his successful shot. We were very proud of Kyle for declining shots that were less than optimum. He demonstrated to us that his hunter education instruction had not been forgotten. Kyle did most of the field dressing (first time) and learned just how big a job it is to properly care for an elk and get it back to camp in good shape.

As workers/helpers, we camped at the Mormon Lake Unit Watch campsite headquarters and spent much time visiting with Game and Fish personnel and fellow members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. These folks are wildlife experts and Kyle gained much valuable information from both the formal presentations and the campfire conversations. There is no better way to instruct and train a young person in outdoor skills, and hunting in particular. Men and women from both these organizations go far out of their way to ensure that each young hunter receives a positive experience from the hunt. Their dedication and hard work certainly impacted Kyle. He wants to apply for the hunt again in 2008 and, at age 15, he should be able to make the junior hunt a few more times.

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Wildlife conservation passes a $3 billion milestone
By Rory Aikens, public information officer,

Arizona Game and Fish Department

A major milestone was celebrated at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas recently – manufacturers have contributed $3 billion dollars since 1991 to finance wildlife conservation through the payment of federal excise taxes.

The excise tax is a primary source of wildlife conservation funding in the United States. Since the inception of the excise tax in 1937, more than $5 billion dollars has been collected.

“The firearms industry and sportsmen have been the unsung heroes of wildlife conservation in the United States. Together, they have helped create and fund a working model for wildlife conservation that is unsurpassed anywhere in the world. It is a remarkable achievement that benefits all wildlife enthusiasts,” said Arizona Game and Fish Director Duane Shroufe.

In recognition of the recent funding milestone, a commemorative check for $3 billion dollars was presented to H. Dale Hall, the director of U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and Matt Hogan, the executive director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA), from key firearms industry leaders at the annual membership meeting of the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) – the industry's trade association.

"Our industry is proud of its leading role in financially supporting wildlife conservation and protecting habitat," said Doug Painter, NSSF president and chief executive officer. "We are especially proud that our industry stepped up to the plate for America's wildlife and natural resources decades before 'environmentalism' became a popular movement."

The federal excise tax on firearms and ammunition products (11 percent on long guns and ammunition and 10 percent on handguns), is collected by the U.S. Treasury, Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) and given to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service where it is deposited into the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund, commonly referred to as the Pittman-Robertson Trust Fund.

"The federal excise taxes paid by manufacturers of firearms and ammunition through the Wildlife Restoration program provide state wildlife agencies this critical funding necessary to help maintain wildlife resources, educate hunters and fund sport shooting ranges nationwide," said Hall.

In just the past 12 months, the firearms and ammunition industry has contributed more than $280 million to conservation via the Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax (FAET). This amount of money demonstrates a 41-percent increase over the last five years. The complete amount collected through federal excise tax payments, a number which includes payments from the archery and fishing industries, tops $1 billion a year.

"For over 70 years, state fish and wildlife agencies have used the revenue from the Pittman-Robertson program to build the most successful wildlife conservation model the world has ever known," said Hogan. "One needs only look at the return of species like the whitetail deer, wild turkey, pronghorn antelope and the wood duck, to name a few, to see that this money has been well spent for the benefit of all Americans."

Remember, wildlife conservation and management of game animals by the Arizona Game and Fish Department is made possible in large part by funding generated from the sale of hunting licenses, hunt permit-tags, and matching funds from federal excise taxes hunters pay on guns, ammunition and related equipment.

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Conservation spotlight: Cochise Bird Dog Club holds 3rd annual youth quail hunt
By Chris Orndorff, Cochise Bird Dog Club

The Cochise Bird Dog Club, in conjunction with the Scholastic Clay Target Association of southern Arizona, held its third annual Youth Quail Hunt at the Empire Ranch in Sonoita on Nov. 17, 2007. This event was the result of the club expanding the circle of participation to include other Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) clubs in the area.

This year we had 12 participants from the Tucson SCTP as well as four participants from the local Ft. Huachuca SCTP club. Scheduling conflicts with deer and elk hunting seasons impacted the numbers of participants.

SCTP participants are well educated in gun safety and have been introduced to a real hunting situation with bird dogs through this popular Youth Quail Hunt. The association has trained their shooters on safety to the point that the club feels very comfortable with their participation. Safe gun handling and firing is handled in a very responsible manner, with extreme caution exercised around dogs and other participants in the field during the hunt.

The bird dog club’s objectives are to introduce the next generation to upland hunting in a realistic environment and to generate enthusiasm for using well-trained pointing dogs in the pursuit of upland birds. In addition to the youth shooters, numerous parents and association leaders attended. Hamburgers and hot dogs were served to all attendees after the hunt was completed.

Each pair of shooters had 30 minutes in the bird field with a trained dog, and a dog handler/mentor where several bobwhite quail had been introduced. Each hunter had multiple opportunities to harvest a quail, though not all were successful. There was a bit of good-natured ribbing between the individual shooters as well as between the two clubs about their ability with live targets versus clay pigeons. Several of the gunners commented that not knowing where the birds were coming from or going to made it a real challenge.

The distaff side was well represented and they were every bit as capable as their male counterparts. While we did not “keep score” this year, previous youth quail hunts had young ladies as the “top gun”. Parents and association leaders were especially appreciative of the unique opportunity that was offered. Each adult and all the kids thanked the Cochise Bird Dog Club for the chance to put their skills to work in an actual hunting situation. Their exposure to well-trained bird dogs in the field was witnessed and enjoyed by all.

The club looks forward to running a youth quail hunt in future years with hopes that the hunt can be further expanded to include additional SCTP shooters. We plan to hold the event on an annual basis with a best time being selected to maximize participation for interested SCTP clubs within Arizona. For additional information concerning this outreach program, please contact Mr. Chris Orndorff at (520) 458-1584.

The Cochise Bird Dog club is based in Sierra Vista, Ariz., with members primarily from southeastern Arizona. The club promotes activities with pointing breeds to include training, field trials, hunt tests, fun hunts and other events that focus on the pointing dog.

For further information, visit: www.cochisebirddogclub.net

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.

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.

 

March 15
Reclaim of Wildcat Road near Yellowjacket Creek

The Arizona Antelope Foundation is coordinating this project and will provide a free steak dinner to all volunteers on Saturday night.

This project will involve moving rocks, signing, spreading juniper limbs, digging, and whatever else we can do to cut off two ends of a wildcat road that was started a number of years ago. Folks may want to bring a pick and shovel if they have them.

For more information please visit:
www.azantelope.org or contact Scott Anderson at (480) 213-1611.

March 15 & 16
Tres Rios Nature and Earth Festival

The event focuses on the rich diversity of wildlife, habitat, history and culture of the Gila River drainage. Volunteers are needed for information booth, hospitality, educational area, parking lot, fishing clinic, canoe clinic, clean up and nature trail.

For more information contact: Angela Vasiloff, Volunteer Coordinator (623) 204-2130 or angela_duleno@hotmail.com.
www.tresriosnaturefestival.com


March 20-24
Black-footed ferret spring spotlighting project
The Black-footed Ferret Project is planning another large spotlighting effort. Spotlighting involves the use of high-powered lights to locate black-footed ferrets, for capture, tagging, health check and re-releasing for management purposes of this endangered species.

To register and for more details, contact:
azferret@azgfd.gov

March - immediate
Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center

Volunteers needed to assist 5 hours a week minimum with general office, typing, filing, data entry, organization of paperwork and supplies. Work will be done indoors, mostly sitting with some standing and walking.

Contact: ktharp@azgfd.gov or (623) 236-7238


March - Immediate
Shotgun instructors and range safety officers for women’s classes
Instructors will assist women of all ages in shotgun shooting sports. Range safety officers will watch over the range and ensure safety among all participants. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and participate in a free-of-charge Shotgun Instructor Certification process (two-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.

For more information, contact: (623) 582-8313


March – Year round
Ben Avery Shooting Facility - Range safety officers needed
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. Volunteers shoot for free

Contact Volunteer Coordinator Les Bell at (623) 236-7680.

April 1 – October 31
Summer Host - Tonto Creek Hatchery, Payson
Wildlife area host 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 lbell@azgfd.gov.


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 Audubon Society.

For more information, contact Les Bell at: lbell@azgfd.gov or (623) 236-7680.

Vol. 4 No. 1 February 2008
In this issue:


News and notes:

Concerned about what may happen to hunting if the next generation does not learn to hunt?

In the March-April issue of Arizona Wildlife Views magazine, Game and Fish Field Supervisor Craig McMullen writes about efforts to get young people involved. Read his feature article, “Juniors-only Hunts Offer Opportunities to Young Hunters.”

Subscribe now, and you’ll also read the inside story behind a recent poaching case in Gene Elms’ article, “Rocket Mine Poaching Case — Solved!”

The official magazine of the Arizona Game and Fish Department is published six times a year. Each 40-page issue of this award-winning magazine offers stories about Arizona wildlife and outdoor recreation, illustrated with gorgeous full-color photography. Subscribe for just $8.50 a year.

online: www.azgfd.gov/magazine
by phone: (800) 777-0015


 

Online hunter education course
grows in popularity

Data continues to show Arizona's new online hunter education course is growing in popularity. In the first six months of its introduction, there have been 464 students who have passed the online exam since the program started in summer of 2007.

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.

“We’ve heard a lot of positive feedback about the course,” says Ed Huntsman, conservation education coordinator for Game and Fish. "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.”

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 recommend. 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 agencies.

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.

Why take hunter education - if it's not mandatory? What will I 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

For more details visit:

www.hunter-ed.com/az

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!


Stay on roads and trails
while shed antler hunting

There may be plenty of snow on the ground in parts of Arizona now, but warmer weather is on its way. The Arizona Game and Fish Department reminds all shed antler hunters to stay on roads and trails this spring, if hunting for antlers on an off-highway vehicle.

“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.

NATURE RULES

Stay on Roads and Trails!


Ask a wildlife manager: Is there a problem with Lyme disease in Arizona?

Answer (provided by Lisa Shender, Wildlife Health Specialist): As far as I know, we do not have a problem with Lyme disease in Arizona. I believe that most of the cases in Arizona residents are generally contracted while out of state.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate the Arizona Department of Health Services from 2003-05 reported Arizona had only a total of 27 cases for all three years combined, as compared with other eastern states with thousands of cases.

Another quote from a web based article in June of 2006 reports similar opinions: (www.canlyme.com/Lyme_Arizona.html)

‘I have not had a single case of Lyme disease reported to me,’ said Matthew Bollinger, the epidemiologist for Gila, Graham and Greenlee counties, for the past three years. Statewide statistics of Arizona residents: Between 1995 and 2004, 35 people were diagnosed with Lyme disease in Arizona. These 35 people may or may not have had a travel history, according to Bollinger, meaning they might have contracted the disease elsewhere but were diagnosed in Arizona.”


Leadership changes at the Department and the Commission

Larry Voyles named new department director

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission announced it has hired Larry Voyles as the new director of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, effective in March 2008, when current director Duane Shroufe retires.

Voyles has been with Game and Fish for nearly 35 years and is currently supervisor for the department’s Yuma region, which handles field operations in southwestern Arizona.

Voyles joined the department in 1974 as a wildlife manager (game ranger), serving over the next 10 years in the Wellton, Wickenburg and Prescott districts. He subsequently served as the wildlife enforcement program coordinator and as the department's training coordinator before being promoted to supervisor of the Yuma region in 1988.

Voyles holds a B.S. in wildlife biology from Arizona State University.

“You don’t just replace a Duane Shroufe,” said Voyles. “He led the agency through an amazing period of growth, quality improvement and accomplishment. He set the bar high, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to continue that legacy.”

 

Norman W. Freeman nominated to Game and Fish Commission

Governor Janet Napolitano has nominated Chino Valley resident Norman W. Freeman to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission. He will replace Michael Golightly, whose term expires this year.

Freeman’s appointment requires confirmation by the Arizona Senate.

“Norm Freeman is a strong advocate for hunting and fishing and is committed to fulfilling the mission of Arizona Game and Fish,” Governor Napolitano said. “He has many varied experiences that will help him serve Arizona very well in this role.”

Freeman’s work with wildlife has been extensive. Among other business ventures, he is the founder of Elemental Technology, a firm which developed wildlife tracking software for wildlife biologists and regulatory bodies. In 1994, he founded “Wildflight,” a privately funded operation to relocate wildlife, using corporate and private aircraft to move many species, including black bears, owls, hawks, eagles, osprey, and California condors.

Freeman has been extensively involved with the preservation of California condors in particular, participating in the California Condor Recovery Team – a multi-agency team including the Arizona Game and Fish Department – which defined the federal protocol for moving this endangered species. He also co-authored a successful behavior modification program to reduce the juvenile predation of young California condors by coyotes.



Rio Grande Turkey is now
an Arizona resident

Fifty-five Rio Grande turkeys were introduced to Arizona on Jan. 16 by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM), with assistance from the Arizona and Utah chapters of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

All the Rios were released on BLM land at Black Rock Mountain in the far northwest corner of the state on the Arizona Strip (approximately 15 miles south of the Utah border). This terrain is similar to where the birds were transplanted from and their native habitat.

The Rios were donated from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources as part of a cooperative effort. Utah’s turkey population is doing very well and has areas where reductions are needed. Arizona on the other hand, is gaining a turkey population in an area that is more suited for the Rio Grande subspecies than for the more common Merriam’s subspecies. This translocation will enhance the diversity of wild turkeys in Arizona and the areas in which they can be experienced.

All 55 birds were given identifying wing tags and eight were fitted with radio tracking collars to help monitor and manage the flock’s movements and population progress.

The Rio Grande subspecies is very similar to the Merriam’s turkey, and it would take a side-by-side comparison to notice the differences. The Rio is slightly smaller and the banded accent tail-feathers are slightly darker. However, most notable are the primary wing feathers: the Rios are mainly black with small white accent bars, while the Merriams are white with small black accents. This turkey subspecies prefers areas with drainages and stream beds in relatively open brush and scrub country up to 6,000 feet in elevation. The Merriam’s prefers habitat that is a drier forested area reaching elevations up to 10,000 feet.

Turkey hunting in Arizona is regulated by a draw system. Demand far exceeds available permits – some years as much as a three-to-one ratio. However, hunters interested in harvesting each of Arizona’s turkey subspecies will have to patiently wait. Populations for the Rio Grandes will not be self-sustaining for three to five years, and hunts will then be limited at best.

For additional information about wild turkeys,
visit these resources:
Arizona Game and Fish Department’s turkey page: www.azgfd.gov/h_f/game_turkey.shtml
Department’s online video on turkeys:
www.azgfd.gov/video/Turkey.shtml
National Wild Turkey Federation: www.nwtf.org



A weekend of outdoor fun the whole family will enjoy March 1-2, Powers Butte Wildlife Area

Chandler Rod & Gun Club is hosting a free “Cast & Blast Weekend” that will introduce you and your family members to the great Arizona outdoors. All that is required is your attendance and some basic camping gear, and they will do the rest!

Clear your calendar for Saturday and Sunday, March 1-2, to experience a fishing pond, canoeing, 3D archery, small-caliber and shotgun firearm safety and shooting, and small game hunting for those that are interested.

The event will be held at the Powers Butte Wildlife Area in Buckeye. Powers Butte is approximately 60 minutes west of central Phoenix. Adjacent to the Gila River and comprising approximately 1,681 acres, Powers Butte offers a mixture of desert upland, agricultural, and wetland/riparian habitats. The area attracts a variety of wildlife species, including migratory birds and waterfowl like dove, ducks, geese, rails, and egrets. The uplands are inhabited by javelina, rabbit, mule deer and quail, as well as numerous reptile species.

Chandler Rod and Gun Club has an outstanding history of introducing families to the outdoors and is known throughout Arizona for its exciting family and youth outdoor programs and events. Over the last few years the club has served over 3,000 families each year with information, education and opportunities to help citizens better understand and enjoy the wild outdoors.

Space is limited and registration is required.
To secure your spot for this unique event call,
(480) 290-8344 or e-mail crgcastandblast@gmail.com

For more information and maps of Powers Butte Wildlife Area visit:
www.azgfd.gov
and keyword search "powers butte" in the search bar.

This event is sponsored in part by a grant from the Arizona Game and Fish Department. To learn more about the Department's Local Sportsmen’s Group Grants Program, visit:
www.azgfd.gov/i_e/local_sportsmens.shtml


No time to get outside? Looking for good TV programming for the family?.
Arizona Wildlife Views TV airs on KAET-TV at 4:30 p.m. on Sundays

The Emmy-award-winning Arizona Wildlife Views TV 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 outdoor Arizona for years to come. Upcoming shows will include these segments:

Sunday, Feb. 24

  • Sonoran Pronghorn - From a low of 20 animals, the department has made great strides to bring this graceful animal back from the brink.
  • Urban Fish Stocking - Arizona’s urban lakes are a great place to fish, with ample amounts of catfish and trout.
  • Bird on a Wire - Arizona Public Service workers move a red-tailed hawk’s nest, complete with chicks, to a safer location.

Sunday, March 2

  • Youth Archery Camp - Young archers are all smiles as they release their first arrows at this department camp at Ben Avery Shooting Facility.
  • Bald Eagle Delisting - Bald eagles in Arizona have been removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species, but they will continue to receive plenty of protection under a new statewide agreement.
  • Clay Target Center - Gets a major facelift, with new and improved trap, skeet and sporting clays stations.

Sunday, March 9

  • 2007 Expo – The Arizona Game and Fish Department's 2008 Expo is around the corner. Here is a peek from the 2007 Expo so you know what to expect this year.
  • Wildlife Viewing Program – Sipe Wildlife Area in the White Mountains gives viewers a close-up look at many animals that pass through there, from the little hummingbird to the mighty elk.
  • Conservation Easement – The Espee Ranch in northern Arizona covers 66,000 acres. Come see how the department is trying to obtain a conservation easement for this property and others like it.


Sunday, March 16

  • Dove Hunt – Enjoy the fun and skill involved as we travel to one of the best places in the state to hunt for dove, just outside of Yuma.
  • Rodeo/Chediski Fire – Five years after the largest wildfire in Arizona’s history roared through the White Mountains, we see that some of the fire’s effects have actually been beneficial for wildlife.
  • The Cienega – One of the rarest habitat types in Arizona, the Cienega teems with wildlife, all drawn to the water that makes up these unique areas

For complete online videos and more show listings visit:
www.azgfd.gov/TV


"Becoming an Outdoors Woman" workshop to be held April 4-6 in Prescott area

Did you ever want to learn how to shoot a shotgun or fly-fish? Would you like to find out how to navigate with map and compass or use a GPS? Does canoeing or kayaking sound like fun?

If so, the "Becoming an Outdoors Woman" workshop could be for you. Offering these and 26 other sessions for participants to choose from, the program introduces women to the outdoors in an enjoyable, non-threatening environment with expert instructors.

“Participants stay in rustic cabins, but there are showers and bathrooms in each cabin. We all eat in a central dining hall and there is always a lot of fun,” says Linda Dightmon, the BOW coordinator for the Arizona Wildlife Federation, which sponsors the program in partnership with the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “The only thing the participant needs to bring is her personal stuff, a good attitude and a willingness to learn,” Dightmon added.

Equipment, materials, food and lodging are all included in the $235 registration fee. The only exception is the Outdoor Photography class where participants will need to bring a camera. Enrollment is open to all women 18 and older. The program is held at the Friendly Pines Camp near Prescott. It begins at noon on Friday and ends at noon on Sunday.

For more information contact the Arizona Wildlife Federation office at:
(480) 644-0077, or email
awf@azwildlife.org



Attention: Kaibab varmint and turkey hunters - Game and Fish Commission agrees to continue voluntary lead reduction program, but your help is needed

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission was 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 check stations.

For more information on non-lead ammunition and a list of the available calibers, visit: www.azgfd.gov/condor


Upcoming Game and Fish Commission meeting

The next Arizona Game and Fish Commission meeting will be held on Friday, March 7 in Tucson. The location and agenda are not yet determined.

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.



Ben Avery winter hours

The Ben Avery Shooting Facility Main Range, archery ranges, and the Ben Avery Clay Target Center winter hours of operation for the public are:

 

  • Monday - Closed

  • Tuesday - Closed

  • Wednesday - 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Thursday - 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Note: The main range may close at 6:30 p.m. the second and fourth Thursday evenings of each month, depending on turnout for the Annie Oakley Sure Shots women's program) 

  • Friday - 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Saturday - 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Sunday - 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

For more information on the

Ben Avery Shooting Facility, visit:

www.azgfd.gov/basf

or contact (623) 582-8313.

For more information on the

Ben Avery Clay Target Center, visit:

www.azgfd.gov/ctc

or contact (623) 434-8119.

 

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Send us your stories and questions!

We welcome mail from readers and will try to feature the following in each issue, as available:

Been hunting?
Do you have a photo and story you’d like to share about your recent hunting trip? We’d like to include one or more stories in each issue of Hunting Highlights. Send your picture and a brief story to the Hunting Highlights editor.

Junior hunters
Do you have a photo and story about a youth hunt (your own or that of your child or grandchild)? We’d like to share one or more junior hunter stories in each issue of Hunting Highlights. Send your picture and a brief story to the Hunting Highlights editor.

Conservation spotlight
Are you excited about the mission and activities of your wildlife conservation organization? In the Conservation Spotlight, our readers will share your excitement. To get your group into the spotlight, e-mail the Hunting Highlights editor.

Ask a wildlife manager
Is there something you’ve always wanted to ask a game warden? All questions are fair game in this periodic feature. If you’ve got a question for our wildlife managers, e-mail the Hunting Highlights editor.



Hot links


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 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.

OPERATION GAME THIEF
1-800-352-0700
24 HOURS A DAY

Or report a violation online at:

www.azgfd.gov/ogt_form.shtml


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.

federalaid.fws.gov