The future of wildlife conservation
Focus must be on reversing the decline in hunting and fishing participation

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

 

The future of not just hunting and fishing but also wildlife conservation may depend on successfully addressing the continuing declines in hunter and angler participation.

That was a common message from a panel of experts discussing hunter and angler recruitment and retention during the annual conference for the Western

Association of Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) in Flagstaff on July 7-12.

“This year’s WAFWA conference theme, hunter and angler recruitment and retention, comes at a crucial time in our history,” said Arizona Game and Fish Director Duane Shroufe, current president of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

As the Western states urbanize, Shroufe said, participation in outdoor recreation in general, and hunting and angling in particular, is falling. “Whether we call it a crisis or an opportunity, what wildlife managers do in response will shape the future of conservation in North America.”

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, which represents 23 states and Canadian provinces, also discussed a wide range of other issues and topics during its annual conference. WAFWA members represent an area covering nearly 3.7 million square miles of some of North America's most wild and scenic country that is inhabited by over 1,500 premier wildlife species.

The panelists for the plenary session included:

  • Shane Mahoney, an internationally acclaimed biologist and writer who is renowned for chronicling the history of North American conservation.
  • Rob Keck, the chief executive officer for the National Wild Turkey Federation.
  • Rob Sexton, the legislative liaison for the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance.
  • Steve Williams, the president of the Wildlife Management Institute, a non-profit conservation organization headquartered in Wash., D. C.
  • Dr. Delwin E. Benson, a professor of wildlife biology at Colorado State University.
  • Gordon Batcheller, a wildlife biologist for the New York State Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources.

The panel of experts shared a common thread in their talks — hunters and anglers are the core of wildlife conservation, but society as a whole is mostly unaware of the role that hunters and anglers play.

“Hunters are really the unsung heroes of conservation,” Rob Keck said. “At best, the contributions we as hunters have made to conservation are ignored.”

Keck said hunters and state agencies “need to sell the sizzle” of conservation. “We need to put a light on hunters and what they do. It’s time to raise the posture of you the hunter in local communities.”

Shane Mahoney said that most people are unaware of the fact that the United Nations and the World Wildlife Fund have identified hunting as one of the great conservation tools open to mankind.

“Hunting is finally being recognized as not just one, but the only conservation tool that is working,” Mahoney said, adding that there is a need to establish a context in society where hunting is viewed positively.

“It’s all about relevance. It’s not whether hunting is right, it is whether it is politically and socially relevant,” Mahoney said.

Steve Williams, the former director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, also warned that after a 40-year decline in participation, hunters and anglers are on the verge of becoming politically irrelevant.

Rob Sexton provided a sobering observation. “Hunting won’t die because there aren’t any of us, it will die because we don’t matter any more,” he said. “Politics is a game of numbers, and we are recruiting hunters at the lowest rate in 30 years. We are at the edge of a demographic cliff.”

Sexton said that agencies need to resist the urge to over-regulate and create barriers to participation, such as having age limits on hunting big game. Sexton said it’s not enough to allow youth to hunt small game, because 86 percent of all hunters are big game hunters. “If you are going to empower folks to hunt, why just empower rabbit hunters?”

Sexton said some states are looking at creating an apprentice hunting license where a young hunter may hunt big game such as deer under the supervision of an adult prior to taking a hunter education course.

“Most minimum age laws came about 30 years ago. We wanted to assure America our sport is safe. Those laws are no longer relevant,” Sexton said.

Rob Keck said too many states are letting age restrictions create barriers to participation. “Now we are looking at trying to tear those walls down,” he said. “Who knows better when a child is ready to hunt, the government or the parent? It’s time we wake up and let the kids smell the gunpowder.”

Statistics show that age is not the factor in hunting accidents. “The swimming pool next door is more of a safety issue. Supervised young hunters have a tremendous safety record,” Sexton said.

The panelists stressed that so many interests compete for the time and attention of today’s youth that waiting until they are older to recruit them means they might not get recruited at all.

Gordon Batcheller, a wildlife biologist in New York, said his state has a minimum age of 16 to hunt big game, which means a parent might get to hunt deer with a son or a daughter for just a couple of years before they leave home.

Batcheller said the opposition to changing the laws in his state didn’t come from the media or from anti-hunters, it came from hunters themselves, and the bottom line was that the adult hunters didn’t want to lose their hunting opportunity to the younger hunters. Batcheller said adult hunters need to ask themselves what they are willing to sacrifice to secure the future of hunting for their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and beyond.

Dr. Delwin Benson said it is necessary to recruit youth into hunting at a young age, but there are a lot of activities competing for their time, and the time of the parent. “What happens when a kid’s time gets taken up? What affects our children affects us too.”

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Stay engaged in federal land management planning efforts
By Tom Cadden, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department

Ensure that you have a say in decisions being considered for federal lands in Arizona.
 
The Arizona Game and Fish Department has created a Web page (http://www.azgfd.gov/outdoor_recreation/federal_land_management.shtml) to serve as a resource for finding out about USDA Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) planning efforts statewide. The page includes contact information, Web site links and updates so you can be directly engaged with each Forest Service or BLM office and planning effort.
 
The Forest Service and BLM are revising land use management plans and travel management plans statewide. These plans include updated guidelines and rules on how public lands are to be managed (including what activities are permitted), and how and where motorized travel should occur.

The plans could potentially include proposed alternatives that change the way you currently enjoy public lands, particularly with regard to vehicular access, designation of open and closed roads, dispersed camping, and motorized retrieval of lawfully taken big game by hunters.
 
The different Forest Service districts and BLM field offices are in various phases of the planning efforts. Each effort includes a public input component.
 
Updated information about upcoming public meetings and links to documents released for public comment will be posted to the new Web page as information becomes available. Recently posted updates include letters from the Arizona Game and Fish Commission to the Forest Service and BLM regarding federal land use planning efforts.

Spring 2008 hunt recommendations will be available for review 
By Rory Aikens, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department

Map of regionsThe proposed spring 2008 hunt recommendations for javelina, turkey, bear and buffalo will be available for review at the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s regional offices.

The 2007-2008 waterfowl season proposals will also be available for review.

The spring hunt and waterfowl regulations are scheduled to come before the Arizona Game and Fish Commission for consideration during its Aug. 11 meeting in Flagstaff at the Radisson Woodlands Hotel at 1175 W. Route 66.

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

  • Tuesday, July 31, 3-5 p.m., Mesa regional office, 7200 E. University Drive.
  • Tuesday, July 31, 6-8 p.m., Flagstaff regional office, 3500 S. Lake Mary Road.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 1, 6-8 p.m., Kingman regional office, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road.
  • Monday, Aug. 6, 5-7 p.m., Pinetop regional office, 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd.
  • Monday, Aug. 6, 5-7 p.m., Tucson regional office, 555 N. Greasewood Road.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 7, 5-7 p.m., Yuma regional office, 9140 E. 28th St.

If you are unable to attend one of these meetings, the spring recommendations will be posted on the Game and Fish Department's Web site on Monday, July 30 and you may download a PDF file to review at your leisure. The recommendations will be posted at http://www.azgfd.gov/h_f/hunt_guidelines.shtml.

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Arizona wildlife wins in Big Game Super Raffle 
By Tom Cadden, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department

There were several winners at the July 7 drawing of the Arizona Big Game Super Raffle in Flagstaff, and biggest among them was Arizona’s wildlife.

Sportsmen once again stepped up to the plate and raised more than a half-million dollars that will go toward enhancing wildlife and habitat in our state.

The Arizona Big Game Super Raffle is a collaborative effort between several sportsmen’s groups and the Arizona Game and Fish Commission and Department to raise money to benefit this state's big game species. The commission set aside one tag per big game species this year for the super raffle. Volunteers from the groups organized and staged the raffle. All proceeds raised from raffling each tag will be used to benefit that particular species.

The following proceeds were raised in this year’s raffle:

 

Species

Number of tickets

Dollars raised

Antelope

2,836

$56,720

Bear

2,216

$11,080

Buffalo

2,183

$43,660

Coues Deer

4,125

$41,250

Sheep

5,175

$129,375

Elk

5,201

$130,025

Turkey

2,007

$20,070

Javelina

2,008

$10,040

Mule Deer

5,755

$115,100

Total

37,144

$557,320

The individual winners of this year’s special hunt tags are:

 

  • Antelope - Chad Corbin, Sanger, Texas
  • Bear - Mark Stephenson, Peoria, Ariz.
  • Buffalo - Mark German, Encampment, Wyo.
  • Coues Deer - Ramon Lamelas, Downey, Calif.
  • Elk - Clark E. Guy, San Diego, Calif.
  • Javelina - George V. Thrappas, Morgan Hill, Calif.
  • Mule Deer - Charles M. Wilmer, Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Bighorn Sheep - Eric Hunt, Surprise, Ariz.
  • Turkey - Shaun Pfund, Tucson, Ariz.

In addition to the special tags, Swarovski Optics donated an optics package valued at $8,000, and Sportsman’s Warehouse donated a Caribou Hunt Package valued at more than $6,500. Raymond Cool of North Las Vegas, Nev., won the Swarovski package, and Michael Jukich of Phoenix won the caribou hunt.

All the super raffle tags were for special season dates, and each hunt is 365 days, starting Aug. 1, with very few limitations on hunting areas.

Many thanks go to all those who purchased a ticket, the volunteers who administered the raffle, and to the sponsoring organizations who made this vision a reality:

  • Arizona Antelope Foundation
  • Arizona Bowhunters Association
  • Arizona Deer Association
  • Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society
  • Arizona Elk Society
  • Arizona Game and Fish Department
  • Arizona Wildlife Federation
  • Foundation for North American Wild Sheep
  • Mule Deer Foundation
  • National Wild Turkey Federation
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
  • Safari Club International, Arizona Chapter
  • Sportsman’s Warehouse
  • Swarovski Optics

For more information, visit www.arizonabiggamesuperraffle.com.

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Been hunting? The Dufek kids carry on the family tradition 
By By Paul Dufek, Flagstaff

My four children, Jacob, 15, Jeremy, 13, Rachel, 9, and Josh, 7, are all involved in the outdoors, but Jeremy has seemed to excel with his desire to both hunt and fish.

Jeremy harvested his first big game animal during last year’s junior elk hunt in Game Management Unit 6A. His older brother Jacob had already collected a junior’s Kaibab doe and a whitetail buck the two preceding years, so Jeremy may have been feeling a little self-imposed pressure.

On opening morning, Jeremy got close to a herd of elk, but he elected not to shoot because he could not clearly identify which elk were cows and which were bulls (we knew both were in this morning herd). That evening we called in a 6x6 bull and a cow. The bull was standing approximately 20 yards from us, and the cow was about 40 yards away. 

Jeremy steadied himself using the bipod on the rifle, and I sat right behind him talking him through it. Unknown to myself at the time, he aimed for the cow’s head, not wanting to waste any meat. I would not have had him aim where he did, but the shot was true, and Jeremy ended up being the only member of our family in Flagstaff who collected an elk last year (out of eight elk tags between my brother’s family and mine).

Our family is deep-rooted in the outdoors. My oldest brother Pete was one of the original Bowhunting in Arizona record book committee members and is a certified Pope & Young/Boone and Crocket measurer in Tucson. His wife Sally works in the Game and Fish Tucson office.

I still vividly recall when my dad came home from a deer hunt in the early 1960s, having harvested a nice 4x4 mule deer. Seeing him bring back the buck in the camper, I was forever hooked. With some of my own successful hunts, I’ve seen Jeremy develop a passion for wildlife and the pursuit of hunting.

My other kids are outdoors enthusiasts as well. Jacob has thoroughly enjoyed his past hunts, especially when successful. He was fortunate to draw a junior cow’s tag in Unit 6A this year. Rachel loves to fish and wants to hunt small game. She is looking forward to attending the hunter education program next year in Flagstaff (probably my brother Don’s class held the beginning of every summer) so she can hunt big game. Josh has already been dove hunting with us.

Being a parent and showing my children the proper way to appreciate outdoor activities has been, and is continuing to be, as enjoyable as being involved in the activities myself. Last year I drew my first archery bull elk tag since 1994. I passed on about seven different bulls in pursuit of a couple of truly exceptional animals. Although I wasn’t successful, the hunt itself was a thrill. But not as thrilling as watching my son fulfill his dream of harvesting his first big game animal.

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Two new grant programs aid hunter retention/recruitment,
wildlife conservation

By Tom Cadden, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department

The Arizona Game and Fish Commission is offering two exciting new grant programs to provide financial assistance to groups undertaking projects in support of hunter/angler recruitment and retention and wildlife conservation. Funds for both programs will be awarded through a competitive application process.

One of the new funding mechanisms is the Local Sportsmen's Group Grant Program, which provides financial assistance to local sportsmen's groups for projects within a particular focus established each year by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. For the 2007-08 grant year, the focus will be projects promoting or facilitating hunter/angler/shooter/trapper recruitment and retention.

There is $50,000 available through this program. Multiple awards may be made. To be eligible, a group must: (1) be a local Arizona-based sportsmen's group with a focus on hunting, fishing, shooting or trapping, (2) propose a project that fits the eligibility criteria, and (3) complete the project by June 30, 2008.

Examples of eligible projects include small game camps, fishing clinics, beginning shooter programs, and educational outreach. Grant dollars cannot be awarded or used for activities such as group banquets, raffle prizes, trophy hunting competitions, for-profit projects, or for the purchase of hunting or fishing licenses, tags or stamps.

To apply, download an application packet from azgfd.gov and follow all instructions. Packets can also be obtained by calling Grant Coordinator Robyn Beck at (623) 236-7530. The deadline to submit applications for Local Sportsmen's Group grants is Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007 at 5 p.m. (MST).

The other new program is the Wildlife Conservation Fund (WCF) Grant Program, which supports projects that help conserve, enhance and restore Arizona's diverse wildlife resources and habitats for present and future generations.

The program is funded through the Arizona Wildlife Conservation Fund, which was established after Arizona voters in 2002 approved Proposition 202 to continue limited and regulated gaming on Arizona tribal lands.

There is $300,000 available for Wildlife Conservation Fund Grant Program awards for Fiscal Year 2008 (2007-08). Multiple awards may be made. Eligible applicants include any agency of the state or any political subdivision, Indian tribe, or nonprofit organization exempt from federal income taxation under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code for the purpose of conservation of wildlife or wildlife habitat, or acquisition of real property that is wildlife habitat.

Project proposals will only be accepted for the following types of projects for 2007-08: (1) habitat improvement, including aquatic; (2) shooting sports; (3) access to wildlife-related recreation; (4) hunter and angler recruitment and retention; (5) wildlife health and disease; (6) new watchable wildlife opportunities; (7) information and education on nuisance wildlife; (8) wildlife population research. Descriptions of these project types can be found in Appendix A (page 11) of the Wildlife Conservation Fund Grant Application Packet.

To apply, download an application packet from azgfd.gov and follow all instructions. Packets can also be obtained by calling Grant Coordinator Robyn Beck at (623) 236-7530. The deadline to submit applications for Wildlife Conservation Fund grants is Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007 at 5 p.m. (MST).

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Junior hunters: Rechelle Conde’s javelina hunt

By Ruben Conde, Tacna

We planned a javelina hunt for my 13-year-old daughter, Rechelle, this past spring. Our 2006 cow elk hunt in Unit 10 had been unsuccessful, so I was looking forward to coming through for her on this hunt. 

As circumstances would have it, we would only manage to hunt one day this spring—the last day of Unit 37A’s general season. But it was truly a great experience.

We got up at 3 a.m. on March 1 and drove 150 miles to our hunting area in the Ironwood National Monument, arriving around 6 a.m. We met our friend Dan and began hunting in our first-choice area. It was no go. Pigs had been in the area, but we were unsuccessful at spotting or jumping any in their usual haunts. By 11 a.m. we were in yet another area, but couldn’t find any sign of recent activity.  

After a quick lunch and reminiscing about last year’s successful javelina hunt, we were all charged up and ready to make the most of the remainder of our day. Dan cut tracks on a herd of pigs that had crossed the trail in the morning. We tracked them into heavy mesquite cover and heard a sudden "woof!" from the thicket just ahead. All of us froze, and I instinctively set up the shooting sticks. Rechelle quietly set her youth model single-shot .223 in it. A hog ran out of the mesquite, too soon for Rechelle to draw a bead on him.

Everything then became very quiet. Dan tried a few more calls, which were eventually met by another loud "woof!" from within the thicket. When I saw movement, I whispered to Rechelle, and she readjusted with her shooting sticks. At least two pigs were moving our way.

All of a sudden, a large boar shuffled out of cover about 40 yards out, and before I could say anything, "Bang!" a single shot from the .223 rang out. The javelina spun and then disappeared as fast as he appeared back into the brush. Pigs were running everywhere, and then all became quiet again.

In a few seconds, Dan pointed into the mesquites and said, "You got him!" There were collective sighs of relief and hugs and handshakes all around. Rechelle had made a perfect shot on a large mature boar. I could barely speak for a few moments, and then I felt this immense feeling of contentment and satisfaction. I offered thanks that my teenage daughter is truly a hunter, carrying on a sport and tradition that I love.


Learn archery deer hunting or sporting clays skills at 

upcoming events

By Bruce Sitko, information and education program manager, Pinetop region,

and Tom Cadden, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department

Are you interested in learning the exciting sport of archery deer hunting but don’t know where to start? Or, are you a woman with an interest in learning the fun shotgun sports of trap, skeet and sporting clays? If the answer to either question is yes, mark your calendars for the two hands-on activities below.

Region I archery deer camp
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is partnering with the Arizona Bowhunters Association and Arizona Deer Association to host and conduct an archery deer camp in the Big Lake area of Game Management Unit 1. The camp will be staffed from Friday afternoon, Aug. 24, through Saturday evening, Aug. 25.

Although the camp is geared toward youth and first-time archery deer hunters, all archery hunters are welcome to stop by the camp for refreshments, ask questions, and practice shooting with instructor assistance at the 3-D archery range, which will be set for the camp. A special camp feature will be predator-calling instruction and demonstration on Friday evening.

Dispersed camping for hunters is available in the immediate area, and camping with services is also available at nearby Forest Service campgrounds. Directions to the archery camp will be posted on information kiosks in the Big Lake area, or hunters can call the Game and Fish Pinetop office at (928) 367-4281 for directions.

Women’s shotgun program at the Ben Avery Clay Target Center
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is planning to offer a shotgun shooting program for women every other Thursday evening at the Ben Avery Clay Target Center, beginning in early to mid-September.

Similar in concept to the successful Annie Oakley program, it will offer women the chance to learn about and shoot trap, skeet and sporting clays in a fun, non-intimidating, supportive environment. Beginning shooters will receive free instruction and have the use of loaner shotguns. Details of the program are still being finalized, but it is anticipated the first one or two sessions will be free to new shooters, then the standard nominal range charge will apply.

More information, including start times and dates, will be posted in the coming weeks on the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Web site at azgfd.gov. Pre-registration is requested. For more information or to pre-register, contact the Ben Avery Shooting Facility at (623) 582-8313.

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Volunteer opportunities for hunters 
By Sandy Reith, 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 azgfd.gov/volunteer.

Anderson Mesa Habitat Restoration, Aug. 11
Volunteers will remove fence at Corner Lake to improve habitat for antelope and other grasslands species. Some tools will be available, but please bring your own if you have them. Meet at 8 a.m. at the Mormon Lake Ranger District. For more information, contact Henry Provencio, Coconino National Forest, (928) 214-2436.

Unit 9 Water Catchment Project, Aug. 24-26  
This project will repair an old concrete catchment by replacing the concrete with three new fiberglass storage tanks and a new drinker. Barbed wire fence surrounding the catchment will be replaced with a new pipe rail fence. One or two welders are needed. There will be no drinking water or toilets available. Road access, if dry, is good for all types of vehicles and trailers. If roads are very wet, high clearance vehicles and/or 4WD will be needed. The Arizona Elk Society will be providing meals and refreshments for Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast, lunch and dinner and breakfast on Sunday. This project may be canceled on short notice, due to forest road closures. All volunteers must RSVP so they can be informed of updates or cancellation. To RSVP and for additional information, contact Greg Stainton (602) 999-5855 or gstainton3@cox.net.

Lazy B Ranch Exclosure Construction, Oct. 13-14
This project will be held at the Lazy B Ranch in Game Management Unit 28. Volunteers will be building an exclosure fence to improve fawning cover and food availability. Approximately four miles of fencing will need to be strung and posts put in the ground. This is a big undertaking, so we need all the volunteers we can get. The Arizona Antelope Foundation is coordinating this project. The AAF will provide a free steak dinner to all volunteers on Saturday night. For more information, please visit www.azantelope.org or contact Scott Anderson at (480) 213-1611.

Perry Mesa Fence Modification, Oct. 20
This project will be held at Horseshoe Ranch north of Phoenix. Volunteers will be modifying a fence on the north end of Perry Mesa (movement corridor to the Cornstalk Flat area). The fence is currently a six-wire barbed fence with a bottom wire about 8 to 10 inches above the ground. The Bureau of Land Management and the Arizona Game and Fish Department will be supplying the materials. We will try to get a couple of miles done if we have enough volunteers. The Arizona Antelope Foundation is coordinating this project. The AAF will provide a free steak dinner to all volunteers on Saturday night. For more information, please visit www.azantelope.org or contact Scott Anderson at (480) 213-1611.

Volunteer Shotgun Instructors or Range Officers for Women's Shooting Program
Volunteers will instruct women of all ages in the shotgun shooting sports as prescribed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Coaches will assist beginners in shotgun shooting form and skill. Range Safety Officers will watch over the 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. The women’s shotgun shooting program will be held the first and third Thursday of each month from approximately 6:30-9 p.m. (exact times are yet to be determined and will be posted on the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Web site). The program is anticipated to begin in early to mid-September 2007 and will be held at the Ben Avery Clay Target Center; entrance is about 1/2 mile west of I-17 (Exit 223) on Carefree Highway. For more information, contact (623) 582-8313.

Range safety officers needed at Ben Avery Shooting Facility
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 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, located just west of I-17 and Carefree Highway in north Phoenix. Contact Arizona Game and Fish Department Volunteer Coordinator Sandy Reith at (623) 236-7680.

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Vol. 3 No. 4 July 2007
In this issue:

News and notes

Fall big game draw is complete; first-come deer, javelina tags available
The fall big game hunt draw was completed last week, and if you’re among the 117,421 applicants, you can find out if you’ve been drawn by visiting the department’s Web site at www.azgfd.gov/draw.

Hunt-permit tags will be mailed to successful applicants no later than Aug. 10. Those who submitted online applications and were successful will get a letter in the mail on how they can submit payment. Refunds will be mailed out no later than Aug. 24.

There are 1,192 hunt-permit tags for deer and javelina remaining for first-come, first-served, which will be conducted by mail only (not online) on Aug. 20. Most of the remaining tags are for deer hunts, but there are approximately 60 javelina tags remaining as well. To find out what tags remain, visit www.azgfd.gov/draw.

Game and Fish Commission is setting the 2008 spring hunts
The Arizona Game and Fish Commission will be setting the spring 2008 hunting seasons and the 2007-08 waterfowl seasons during the Saturday portion of its Aug. 11-12 meeting at the Radisson Woodlands Hotel, 1175 W. Route 66, in Flagstaff.

The commission will also be considering the hunt guidelines for the fall 2008 through spring 2010 seasons during the Saturday segment of the meeting. Those guidelines are used by wildlife managers when they compile their hunt recommendations for consideration by the commission. Guidelines cover a two-year period.

The commission will be considering Commission Orders 5,6, 8 and 9, which set the seasons, season dates, bag and possession limits, permit numbers and open areas for the spring turkey, javelina, buffalo and bear hunts.

The commission is also considering Commission Orders 21 and 22, establishing waterfowl and snipe seasons, season dates, bag and possession limits, and open areas.

For the complete commission meeting agenda, click here.

Arizona youths shine at national clay target championships
Arizona teams turned in a strong performance at last weekend's Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) Skeet and Sporting Clays National Championships in San Antonio, with eight squads finishing in the top three in the various age divisions—the best showing of any state.

Two Arizona teams won national titles. The Huachuca Hot Shots squad (Brisden Eaton of Sierra Vista, Brielle Eaton of Sierra Vista, Scott Usry of Hereford) took first place in the junior varsity division of the skeet championships, and the Ben Avery Clay Crushers squad (Paysen Unger of Phoenix, Dylan Karvanek of Anthem, Casey Coleman of Goodyear) topped the rookie division of the sporting clays championships.

Arizona squads also took three second-place and three third-place finishes in the various divisions.

California had the next-best showing, with three squads finishing in the top three.

The two-day competition, held July 14-15 at the National Shooting Complex in San Antonio, was the largest skeet and sporting clays championship in SCTP history. Nineteen states were represented among the nearly 400 shooters in varsity, junior varsity, intermediate and rookie divisions.

For a complete listing of results, click here. For more information on Arizona’s SCTP program, visit www.azgfd.gov/shootingsports.

Arizona’s high country lakes are getting a 20,000-trout bonus
Arizona’s mountain lakes are getting a midsummer 20,000-trout bonus from the Arizona Game and Fish Department hatcheries. The bonus trout are over and above the normal trout stockings those popular fishing waters receive.

So far, there have been an additional 10,000 rainbows stocked into Willow Springs and Woods Canyon lakes. Another 10,000 fish are available for stocking in other mountain lakes as well. Those rainbows will likely be distributed to Becker Lake near Springerville, Scotts Reservoir near Pinetop, River Reservoir in the Greer Valley and Willow Springs Lake along the Mogollon Rim.

In addition, it’s also monsoon time in the high country. When those afternoon clouds start building up and the barometer takes a dip, trout can start actively feeding in the mountain lakes.

Mix the bonus stockings and the monsoon-generated rainstorms, and it’s time for a midsummer trout expedition. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Go wild with Arizona Wildlife Views magazine

Hunters can help slow the “Eurasian invasion” — the spread of Eurasian collared-doves, that is. Learn how in the July-August issue of Arizona Wildlife Views magazine, due out in early August. Subscribe now, and you’ll also learn about projects to enhance and restore wildlife habitat statewide … and so much more.

 

The official magazine of the Arizona Game and Fish Department is published six times a year. Subscribe for just $8.50 a year by calling (800) 777-0015. Each 40-page issue of this award-winning magazine offers stories about Arizona wildlife and outdoor recreation, illustrated with gorgeous full-color photography. Call today!

 

Hunter education
Hunter education classes are scheduled throughout the year in many locations around the state. This list is updated weekly, and new classes are being offered all the time.

If you are planning on hunting in another state, please check with that state well in advance of your hunt to see if proof of hunter education is required.

Remember our safety phrase: T.A.B.

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.

Happy hunting!

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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.



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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 2004, that meant more than $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.