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Groundwork laid to pass down hunting heritage
Sportsmen's groups invited to attend June 20 meeting

By D
oug Burt, public information officer, AGFD

In previous issues of Hunting Highlights, we've discussed the issue of the future of hunting, particularly the concern about declining participation in this American tradition nationwide. Wildlife agencies and industry are working on a large scale to bring awareness to this situation and incorporate programs to reduce the trend.

Last year your Game and Fish Department created a unique group of passionate individuals to address this concern in Arizona. The Hunter Heritage Work Group (HHWG) is made up of dedicated volunteers throughout the many branches of the agency, all with one common goal - a passion for continuing the hunting and angling legacy.

The HHWG has made some great strides towards this goal by removing barriers to go hunting, increasing introductory programs, teaching new people to hunt, and sharing the message of how hunters play an important role in wildlife conservation.

However, with all great tasks, there is still much to do. Like all movements, it is at the grassroots level where change really begins. This is nothing new, and there are already many local groups promoting youth outdoor events, hunting camps and public outreach. The department is working with a number of groups on these types of programs, but "together" we can do even more.

This is why the HHWG is extending an open invitation to all sportsmen's groups, rod and gun clubs, and conservation organizations to attend the next HHWG meeting at Vincent Ranch near Woods Canyon Lake on the Mogollon Rim, Saturday, June 20, from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Many of the members will camp out Friday through Sunday to allow for some informal campfire discussions and getting to know one another.

The HHWG has two bi-annual meetings to discuss big-ticket action items. One of the main items on the table is a grant request from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). The department is requesting a grant to assist the creation of a formal Mentor Program. The goal of this program is to work with and help fund hunting organizations to start their own recruitment programs by hosting hunting camps - both small and big game - for new hunters.

Many other items will be discussed at this meeting that are of interest to all sportsmen in Arizona. If you are interested in coming to the meeting / campout, or want more information, please contact Craig McMullen at

For directions to Vincent Ranch, click here.

To stay on the theme of new hunters and becoming a mentor, we've compiled a number of articles in this issue of Hunting Highlights geared towards helping this cause:

  • Everything you need to know about the new Apprentice Hunting License and how it works.

  • A look at all the smiles of the first annual junior jack rabbit hunt camp.

  • A breakdown of all the details on the department's newest youth hunting program - an over-the-counter spring turkey nonpermit-tag for 2009 is a must read for all hunters.

  • A quick look at how the annual Outdoor Expo is shaping up - don't forget to tell your neighbors.

  • And game management issues that many sportsmen have expressed concern over.

Until next time, happy hunting and be safe.

Doug Burt is the department’s public information officer for hunting and shooting sports. He's also involved in the Hunter Heritage Workgroup, which is focused on increasing public awareness, acceptance and participation in hunting. He has been an avid small game, upland and waterfowl hunter since moving to Arizona in 1986, from Michigan.

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Apprentice Hunting License offers
“test drive” at no cost

Aids sportsmen to become mentors
and assist hunter recruitment

By Doug Burt, public information officer, AGFD
Photo courtesy of NSSF, Hunter Heritage Partnership

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Focus on the experience, not the harvest

  • Obey all laws

  • Keep your apprentice's physical limits in mind

  • Be informative

  • Teach field dressing and cooking

  • Take pictures

  • Plan a follow-up outing

It's never too late for seasoned hunters to introducing someone new to hunting. Cottontail rabbit and jackrabbit seasons run all year long and the both make excellent quarry (as well as, great table fare) for new hunters. A 2009 hunting license is required for the mentor.

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

Please take advantage of this new license by introducing someone new to hunting. By doing so, you are giving the gift of passing along the American Hunting Heritage.

For more details about small game hunting, visit:


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Juniors-only over-the-counter spring turkey tags
By Rory Aikens, public information officer, AGFD
Photo of father Kirby Bristow with sons Kyle and Ryan after a successful spring turkey hunt

Can you do the Kee Kee Run? How about the Cluck or the Putt?

Nope, they are neither a 10K run in Kingman nor a miniature golf park in Peoria. They are all part of turkey calling. If you aren’t familiar with the gratifying art of calling turkeys and you have a youngster under 17 years old, then it is time to learn.

Why you ask?

Simple – this is the first spring turkey season in Arizona where youngsters between the ages of 10 and 17 can get over-the-counter turkey tags. Yes, that means no drawing – just get and go.

Talkin' Turkey

Juniors-only spring turkey over-the-counter nonpermit-tags can be purchased at any department office or license dealer. The cost is $10.

Hunters younger than 14 are required to complete a certified
hunter education course prior to the hunt.

The season for bearded turkey only runs from April 17 – May 21, opening a week earlier than the general season.

Open areas include Units 1, 3C, 4A, 4B, 5A, 5B, 6A, 6B (except Camp Navajo), 7, 8, 10, 12A, 23 and 27.

To assist new hunters, the Arizona Game and Fish Department will be hosting a turkey hunting camp to offer tips, a warm drink or just a place to brag about their hunt.

Additionally, a how-to hunt turkey will be hosted at a department office for all those that are interested.

Dates, times and locations will be announced on the department Web site at

Did you know Arizona has three subspecies of wild turkey?

1. Merriam's

2. Gould's

3. Rio Grande's

Good luck young hunters!

No foolin’.

If you have never called in a wild turkey and have it strut its stuff or prance around doing a tail-fan dance in front of your blind, then you are in for one of the greatest wildlife experiences on this planet. There is nothing quite like it. If you are lucky enough, you might just get to witness two huge toms fanning their tail feathers and doing one-upmanship in front of a flock of hens. It’s hilarious and thrilling at the same time.

Watching huge toms in full display is one of the grandest and most colorful courting displays in the wildlife kingdom.

It usually takes a short time to learn the basics of calling turkeys, but it takes a lifetime to truly refine this seasonal art form – you never stop learning. For tips on calling wild turkeys and for clinics, visit the National Wild Turkey Federation at

You can even help your youngster construct simple squawk boxes and then go practice on amorous spring gobblers. This is not just a macho man deal, it’s something for the whole family. In my family, my wife Cindy has the calling talent. What’s more, it’s also something to pass down or up from generation to generation.

If you want some hands-on tips, come to the Game and Fish Department’s 2009 Expo on March 28-29. We’ll have a number of mini-clinics for you.

So go learn to Cluck and Putt and get your family into a Kee Kee Run state of mind this spring.


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AZ Game & Fish Outdoor Expo - March 28 & 29
This is not your ordinary event fair; it's all hands on.

By Teresa Guillen, public information officer, AGFD

Mark your calendar for March 28-29 because you won’t want to miss the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s FREE Outdoor Expo at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix.

This is a hands-on, family-friendly event with lots to experience:

  • Live wildlife displays, including hawks, owls, snakes, and more;
  • Lots of kids’ activities, including catch-and-release fishing, archery, .22 rifles and air gun youth shooting, and a nature/field trail;
  • Shoot a variety of firearms on the range;
  • Workshops on hunting, fishing, wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation;
  • Exhibits on OHV and boating recreation;
  • Visit with outdoor organizations, government agencies and commercial vendors

This crowd-pleasing event is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, spread across four areas of the 1,650-acre Ben Avery Shooting Facility, located off Carefree Highway just west of Interstate 17 in Phoenix. A free trolley service will take expo goers to any and all areas that they chose.

The Outdoor Expo is a great way to reconnect with the outdoors, especially during the current economic downturn. When economic times are tough, time spent with family and friends outdoors can become even more valuable, maybe even more necessary.

Plus, the Expo is free and fun – that is one tough combination to beat, no matter what the economic outlook.

For information, visit:


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Director Voyles addresses House panel on free-roaming horse and burro management
By Tom Cadden, public information officer, AGFD

Advises that law must balance horse and burro concerns with wildlife and ecosystem considerations

Arizona Game and Fish Department Director Larry Voyles on March 3 told a congressional committee that a proposed bill that would change how free-roaming horses and burros are managed could result in adverse impacts to wildlife and habitat, as well as to the horses and burros the legislation seeks to further protect, and he offered several recommendations on ensuring a viable future for each.

Testifying on behalf of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Voyles told the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands that some aspects of the legislation, H.R. 1018, could alter the ecological balance of the habitat on which wildlife and horses and burros depend for their existence.

Acknowledging the challenges the subcommittee faces in considering both the human concerns for free-roaming horses and burros and concerns for healthy wildlife populations and rangelands in the western states, Voyles offered several recommendations:

  1. Continue to limit free-roaming horse and burro herds to the areas where they were found upon enactment of the 1971 act.

  2. Make law and policy drive refinement of methods (such as techniques modeled after wildlife population census studies) to accurately assess free-roaming horse and burro populations and accurately set “appropriate management levels” (AMLs) for horse and burros herds.

  3. Federal agencies should continue to use AMLs as target numbers for managing free-roaming horse and burro herds.

  4. Law and policy should facilitate research into innovative tools for herd management, including feasible and efficient removal and fertility control, as well as continued usage of practical tools such helicopters for inventory, roundup and removal efforts, where dictated by habitat conditions or management targets.

  5. Congress must appropriate funds sufficient for the management of free-roaming horse and burro herds within AMLs and the land’s capacity to support them, as one component of diverse and thriving ecosystems.

“If we fail to manage the balance between free-roaming horses and burros and the capacity of the land to support them and the wildlife that depend on those lands, then the laws of nature will prevail and we will fail as stewards of all three: land, wildlife, and horses and burros,” said Voyles.

H.R. 1018 would amend the 1971 Wild Free-roaming Horses and Burros Act. Among other provisions, it would remove the limitations on areas where horses and burros can roam, require the creation of sanctuaries for these animals, bolster the Bureau of Land Management’s horse and burro adoption program, and change the circumstances and methods by which free-roaming horses and burros could be removed.

Voyles was one of several experts who provided testimony before the subcommittee on the proposed legislation.


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Been hunting? First annual juniors jackrabbit camp
By Doug Burt, public information officer, AGFD

In late January, Game and Fish's Tucson regional office hosted its first annual Junior Jackrabbit Camp in southern Arizona, and it was hit.

The camp consisted of just that, a good ole-fashioned campout with the department providing hot meals – including a jackrabbit stew, refreshments, snacks, campfires, safety instruction and of course - guided rabbit hunting.

Recent graduates of the hunter education program in the Tucson area (nearly 300) were notified of the event. The interest level far exceeded the maximum number of kids the camp could support, and registration filled up quickly. For all of those that missed the cut-off, keep your calendars marked for next year’s event.

The National Wild Turkey Federation provided all the funding to cover the food costs and it is a good thing, because those young kids eat a lot of food. The Sportsman’s Warehouse in Tucson provided each participant with a gift bag consisting of a $10 gift card, targets, and other items. It is only through the support of sponsors like these that the department can host these events at no charge to participants.

To say each kid had a good time is an understatement. Every kid harvested at least one antelope jack, and some shot three, four, even five rabbits. Some kids went home with more meat than they would after a successful javelina hunt - and some would argue better meat!

In the end, the final harvest was 29 lagomorphs in 36 hours (25 antelope jacks, 2 black-tailed jacks, and 2 cottontails). Nearly all of the jacks were weighed, with the two blacktails weighing more than 4 pounds and the antelope jacks averaging 8.0 pounds (range: 6.97 to 9.175 pounds).

But don’t take our word for it, here is what a father of one of the participants had to say.

“In all my years of participating in Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Brownies and Girl Scouts events, the family and I have a lot of good memories, but none of them can compare to the memories made last weekend,” said Lennie Lockhart.

Lockhart added, “My son Zack has not stopped talking about the event. I believe he has told his hunting and rabbit cleaning stories to every one of his friends and family members over the past several days, and I certainly know what he wants to do this coming weekend - hunt jacks. Thanks so much for making such a big difference in Zack's life.”

Each year, the department conducts a number of regional small game hunting camps throughout the season to increase hunter appreciation, recruitment and retention. These events are very self-rewarding. The goal of the Hunter Heritage Work Group is to increase these efforts with the assistance of sportsman’s groups, conservation organizations and other outdoor groups.

Event organizer Jim Heffelfinger, Tucson regional game specialist, had this to say about the success of the event.

“I heard almost every family say that they are definitely going to be doing this [rabbit hunting] again on their own. I felt like the kids/parents left with the knowledge they needed to know how to hunt jacks, where to hunt them, how to clean them, and how to cook them.”

Mission accomplished - rewind and repeat.

To learn more about small game camps or just hunting in Arizona, visit:

Hop over to rabbit hunting

Rabbits are very challenging to hunt, offer a great hunting introduction to youngsters, and they are excellent table fare.

There are three types of rabbits that can be hunted in Arizona: the cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit and the towering antelope jackrabbit.

The hunting season is open all year with only cottontail rabbits having a bag limit (10 in 2008-09); there is no limit for jack rabbits.

Rabbit hunting teaches many of the same skills needed for pursuing big game, including locating game, stalking, shot placement, harvesting, field dressing, and game meat preparation.

The only equipment needed is a modest rimfire rifle (.22s and the new .17s), or for very young beginners, a small-gauged shotgun is perfect, along with a sharp knife, binoculars and water.

Youth age 13 and under (2 max.) accompanied by a licensed adult can hunt for free and without a hunting license. A general hunting license is required for those 14 and older. (Hunter Ed is not required for small game – but it is encouraged.)

For a list of Jackrabbit Jim's hunting tips, click here.

So, hop to it!


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Attention varmint and small game hunters:
New non-lead ammunition available this year

By Shelly Shepherd, information/education program manager and Kathy Sullivan, condor biologist/program coordinator, AGFD Flagstaff region

Want to do your part for wildlife conservation? Then try using non-lead ammunition on your next varmint or small game hunt to help reduce lead exposure in condors and other scavengers.

Varmint and small game hunters have had the most difficult time finding loaded non-lead ammunition because it just didn’t exist, until recently. Manufacturers have now answered the demand for a more environmentally friendly varmint bullet.

Starting in the spring of 2009, hunters will be able to purchase loaded non-lead .22 caliber rimfire rounds. Several ammunition manufacturers will also offer non-lead centerfire rifle ammunition for varmint hunters in .204, .222, .223, and .22-250 calibers. These non-lead cartridges will be loaded with either non-fragmenting solid copper bullets or frangible tin-copper composite bullets.

Arizona hunters have continued their proud heritage of wildlife conservation by embracing the use of non-lead ammunition. In the fall of 2008, 90 percent of big game hunters took lead reduction actions during their hunt by using non-lead or by removing gut piles of harvested animals from the field when in core bondaries of the condor range. Thanks to these efforts by hunters, no condors have died of lead poisoning in the last two years. And all this has been accomplished through voluntary measures.

Condors were added to the federal endangered species list in 1967. The condor is the largest flying land bird in North America. The birds can weigh up to 26 pounds and have a wingspan of up to 9 1/2 feet. Condors were first reintroduced into Arizona in 1996, and there are now 67 in the state. Visitors to the Grand Canyon area are often able to observe the birds during the spring and summer, and they can be seen at the Vermilion Cliffs during the winter.

Lead poisoning is the leading cause of death in condors and the main obstacle to a self-sustaining population in Arizona. Studies show that lead shot and bullet fragments found in game carcasses and gut piles are the main source of lead in condors.

Non-lead ammunition is also available for muzzleloaders, handguns, and shotguns.

For more information on non-lead ammunition and a detailed list of manufacturers and retailers, visit the department’s condor web page at:


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Wildlife research may change deer management on the Kaibab
By AGFD research and game branches

Wildlife research may change deer management on the Kaibab

Arizona Game and Fish Department officials announced they will recommend an amendment to existing hunt guidelines for deer on the Kaibab Plateau as a result of a research study that shows that current methods for monitoring of cliffrose, an important winter food plant for deer, may not be adequate for determining the effects of mule deer abundance on the animals’ winter range.

The department will recommend the amendment at the Arizona Game and Fish Commission’s April 17-18 meeting in Phoenix, when hunt recommendations are approved.

The North Kaibab mule deer herd in Game Management Unit 12A is well known for the abundance of deer and the relative commonplace occurrence of large-antlered bucks. The relative health of this herd is affected by many factors, including precipitation, wildfires, habitat quality, and the hunt guidelines that govern hunting season recommendations developed by the department.

Game animals in Arizona are managed according to hunt guidelines adopted by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission once every two years. These guidelines direct how wildlife managers formulate hunt recommendations. The guidelines themselves are developed based on best available science and socially-derived expectations from public input.

In special places like the North Kaibab, alternative deer management guidelines are adopted to allow for abundant older age class animals, and low hunter density during late-season hunts.

Existing hunt guidelines for the North Kaibab include direction that hunting permits should be adjusted to obtain greater than 20 bucks for every 100 does, take advantage of high fawn recruitment years, and reduce hunting pressure in years with below-average fawn recruitment.

In 2004, the Arizona Deer Association (ADA) and other interested sportsmen expressed concerns that cliffrose use monitoring conducted annually by the department on the Kaibab winter range might be inadequate for determining if the number of deer were compatible with the amount of food. Together, the department and the ADA collaborated on a research study to examine the deer herd's relationship to the winter range.

Although the final analyses have yet to be completed, one thing is clear: The cliffrose monitoring is not adequate to detect effects of mule deer abundance on winter range. A survey conducted this year indicates that population models, recalibrated after a 2004 survey, are right on the money. Hunt recommendations for North Kaibab mule deer hunts for fall 2009 will be made without reference to forage monitoring.

When the research analyses are complete in early summer 2009, hunt guidelines will incorporate suggested changes and will be presented to the Game and Fish Commission for their approval in August 2009.

For more information about the department's research activities, visit:

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.

For a list of volunteer opportunities in which you may have an interest, or to submit information about a project that would benefit from our volunteers, visit the department's volunteer Web page at:

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Vol. 5 No. 1 Feb.-Mar. 2009
In this issue:

Groundwork laid to pass down hunting heritage

Apprentice Hunting License offers “test drive” at no cost

Juniors-only over-the-counter spring turkey tags

AZ Game & Fish Outdoor Expo - March 28 & 29

Director Voyles addresses House panel on free-roaming horse and burro management

Been hunting? First annual juniors jackrabbit camp

Varmint hunters: New non-lead ammunition available this year

Wildlife research may change deer management on the Kaibab

Volunteer opportunities


Hunter's Planning Calendar

19 - First summer catfish stocking in urban waters
20 - Spring bear season starts
28-29 - AGFD Outdoor Expo, Ben Avery Shooting Facility

17 - Juniors-only over-the-counter spring turkey season starts
17-18 - Commission meeting, fall hunt orders, Phoenix HQ
24 - General spring turkey season starts
24 - Antelope and elk tags / refunds mailed out by

Other dates:
Late April - Fall hunting regulations available online, tentatively.
May - Printed fall hunting regulations available, tentatively.
May - 2009 Hunt Arizona, Survey, Harvest and Hunt Data booklet available online, tentatively.
Early June - Draw deadline for fall hunts, tentatively second Tuesday, pending commission approval.

Rick Langley wins National Wild Turkey Federation award

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) announced that Rick Langley, game specialist for the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Pinetop region, was selected as NWTF’s “Arizona Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer of the Year” for his efforts in conserving America’s wildlife.

Langley, who lives in Pinetop, has worked for the Arizona Game and Fish Department for 15 years. He served for three years as a wildlife manager in Game Management Unit 15D (based in Bullhead City) and for nine years in Unit 12B (based in Page). He has been the game specialist in the Pinetop regional office for the past three years.

“I had a strong interest in working for the department because the work scope involves a combination of field biology and law enforcement,” says Langley. “I enjoy the hands-on work of wildlife conservation.”

Langley was instrumental in writing plans, coordinating manpower and equipment, and leading several captures of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the Morenci Mine area that provided animals for translocation to the West Clear Creek area of Unit 6A to establish a new sheep population in historic sheep habitat. A core group of animals is currently doing well there well.

He also played a lead role in planning, coordinating, and conducting four captures of Merriam’s turkey in Region I in 2007 and 2008 that provided more than 200 birds for translocation to Regions III and VI to enhance existing wild turkey populations and establish new populations in suitable habitats.

For more information about NWTF, visit:

To learn how to become an Arizona Game and Fish Department wildlife manager, visit and click on the "Become a Game Warden" button on the left side of the page.

Got a Hunting Tip?

Arizona Wildlife Views magazine invites you to share your best hunting tip with our readers. Send it in by April 6, and you could win a free copy of “Hunt Arizona 2009.” The first 50 people to send in a qualifying entry get a copy of “Man and Wildlife” for their trouble.

What kind of tips do we want? That nugget of wisdom gleaned from years of experience, or a piece of advice you would share with your best friend or your child to improve their success at hunting.

Keep it brief: Three sentences or fewer should cover it. Be specific: Avoid generalities by tying your tip to a particular species, situation, time of year or other fact. Don’t give away a favorite location; we’d rather hear about techniques or practices that pay off. And yes, it’s OK to identify gear you swear by.

Examples of what and what not to submit:

  • Pay attention to wind direction. (This is too general: We’re looking for specifics.)
  • Hunt into the wind. (This is excellent and brief, a true nugget of wisdom.)
  • When making a stalk, take wind direction into account. Wind is never your friend, and if ignored will carry your scent toward your quarry, lessening your chance of success. To avoid that, hunt into the wind. (excellent and an acceptable length — but please don’t go longer.)

The best tips received by April 6 will be published — along with the author’s first name, last initial and home town — in an upcoming issue of Arizona Wildlife Views magazine. Everyone whose tip is published gets a free copy of that issue. The author of the best tip wins “Hunt Arizona 2009” when it’s published in May. And the first 50 people who submit a complete entry will receive a copy of “Man and Wildlife,” a fascinating history of wildlife in Arizona — a $14.95 value!

Ready to share your best hunting tip? Send it by e-mail to:

Use the subject title: Best Tips.

Be sure to include your full name and mailing address in the body of your message to be eligible to receive top honors or a free gift. Limit one tip per person, please.


Sporting clays fever

The game of sporting clays provides an ideal tune-up for the field. Read all about this seriously fun way to keep shooting skills sharp in the March-April issue of Arizona Wildlife Views magazine. “Sporting Clays in the Off Season,” by Jim Smith, includes a handy list of Arizona shooting ranges offering sporting clays.

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.”

Six issues a year are just $8.50.

Interested but not sure? We’ve posted sample stories about legal methods of take, cast-‘n’-blast expeditions, cottontail hunting and more on our sample stories page. Try it — you’ll like it!


Hunter education, online or in a classroom, take a class today

Did the news about the spring turkey hunt for juniors-only peak your interests? We'll, if it did, and the young hunter you are thinking about taking out on this hunt is between the ages of 10-13, they need to take a hunter safety course.

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.

Besides the fact hunter education is required for youth 10-13 hunting big game, there are many other good reasons to take hunter safety, including:

  • hunter responsibility and ethics
  • wildlife identification
  • wildlife conservation and management
  • survival and first aid
  • interests
  • how firearms work
  • firearm safety and use
  • hunting techniques

Plus, taking a hunter education course is a great way to 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!


Upcoming Commission meeting

The next meeting of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission is scheduled for:

April 17-18: Fall hunt orders - (Agenda is not yet available)

All of the commission meetings in 2009 will be held at the Arizona Game and Fish Department headquarters in Phoenix, located at 5000 W. Carefree Highway, just west of I-17.

For those outside of the Phoenix metro area, the department is offering video conferencing of the commission meetings at each Game and Fish regional office to allow constituents across the state to stay engaged in these public meetings.

A complete agenda can be found on at:
and select "commission agenda."

Open house meetings to view planned recommendations for the 2009-10 fall hunting regulations

The proposed recommendations for the 2009-10 fall hunting regulations for deer, fall turkey, fall javelina, bighorn sheep, fall buffalo, fall bear and mountain lion will be available for review at a series of open houses at the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s regional offices.

During the regional open houses, no formal presentation will be made. However, a knowledgeable staff person will be available to discuss regional hunt recommendations.

Open house dates, times and locations are:

Tuesday, April 7, 3-6 p.m. – Kingman regional office, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road

Tuesday, April 14, 4-6 p.m. – Pinetop regional office, 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd.

Tuesday, April 14, 4-6 p.m. – Flagstaff regional office, 3500 S. Lake Mary Road

Tuesday, April 14, 3-5 p.m. – Yuma regional office, 9140 E. 28th St.

Tuesday, April 14, 5-7 p.m. – Tucson regional office, 555 N. Greasewood Road

Tuesday, April 14, 3-5 p.m. – Mesa regional office, 7200 E. University Drive

A PDF version of the 2009-10 hunt recommendations will be available for review at the Game and Fish Department's Web site beginning Saturday, April 4 at

Each year, the department makes recommendations to the commission regarding the management of game species for the annual hunting and trapping regulations, which establish the seasons, dates, bag limits, open areas, and hunt permit-tag allocations based on the framework of the hunt guidelines set by the commission every two years. The next guidelines will be set in the summer of 2010 for hunting seasons 2010-11 and 2011-12.

The final recommendations are scheduled to be presented to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission for consideration during its April 17-18 meeting in Phoenix at the department headquarters at 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix (1.5 miles west of I-17). The agenda will be posted at under commission agenda.


Find out what is happening in the outdoors at

Wildlife and outdoor recreation enthusiasts can 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.



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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 2009, that meant more than $8.3 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.

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