The forecast - sunny and hot
By Doug Burt, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department

Spring has come to a screeching halt and the blistering heat of summer is upon us. Anyone who has lived in Arizona for more than a couple of years is well aware that for the sportsmen, this is a slow time.

The fall draw application deadline is over and hunters are anxiously awaiting the results to be posted. Officially, tags will be mailed out by Aug. 22. Hunters can check for results at www.azgfd.gov/draw to see when results will be available.

Speaking of July, while most hunters are waiting for the fall to go deer hunting, believe it or not, this month marks the season opener for two family favorites. Cottontail rabbit season began July 1 and runs all year through June 30, 2009. New this year, in Game Management Unit 31 only, is squirrel season, which also runs year-long from July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009. This is for tasseled-ear squirrel only. This new hunt is established to control populations of tasseled-eared squirrels to relieve some of the forage competition off of the Mount Graham red squirrel. If you take to the field for this new hunt, please send your comments about the hunt to HuntingHighlights@azgfd.gov.

Other hunting possibilities include predator hunting, jackrabbit hunting, and Eurasian collared-doves. Most are year-long seasons and can be very challenging and rewarding. Hunting in elevations above 5,000 feet can offer cooler morning temperatures and a retreat from the valley heat. One word of caution: If hunting collared-doves, be certain of their identification, as there are tons of other doves flying this time of year that are not in season. Also, leave a featured wing on all harvested collared-doves for legal identification.

If staying inside during the summer is more your speed and you have children, here's a tip. The Arizona State Duck Stamp went on sale July 1 and is a great introduction to stamp collecting for kids. It can also spin off into duck identification games, wildlife watching at parks, and learning about wetlands. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Federal Duck Stamp Program. One way to learn more is to take a visit to one of the National Wildlife Refuges. Arizona is host to eight refuges. To learn more, visit www.fws.gov/refuges.

This issue of Hunting Highlights is loaded with fall planning information. Fishing Report Editor Rory Aikens provides an early forecast for dove (which is looking outstanding), quail and of course, some great fishing tips. Deer and elk hunters will be happy to hear that the results of last year’s CWD testing are in and show there is still no presence of the disease in Arizona. More good news includes the passing of the OHV Senate Bill 1167, which will create a user plate to help provide funding for the management and education of proper and safe OHV use. And if you missed the June Commission meeting, there is a full report to bring you up to speed - with a couple of key issues for hunters.

In the right column you will find a planning calendar for the next couple of months, questions and answers from our wildlife managers, the latest department news, hunter education information, and two of our newest tools for our customers - a calendar and a photo gallery.

Enjoy.

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Junior hunters: Toad 4x5 Coues
By Samantha Bado, Phoenix

Hunting is a tradition in my family. Everyone in my family and step family hunts, except my mom. I'm a 14-year-old female and have been hunting for three years. In 2007, I killed a very big Coues buck. Bigger than any my dad has killed, and he has been hunting for almost 30 years now. Here's my story.

It was in mid-October, I think, and I got drawn for Coues deer in Payson. My dad, my uncle and I drove to some friends who live in Payson. They are cool people. They all hunt too, and they have a 14-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. We spent the night at their cabin. The next morning, they woke me up at three o'clock in the morning! On our way out, we met up with more friends who all wanted to see me hunt a deer. We had a total of 10 people on this hunt.

We had to take quads to our destination and it was freezing! We must have gone to 10 different spots until we saw a buck. He was small - but still good sized. I was too far away to shoot him so we tried to get closer, and then we saw a buck twice as big! We got as close as we could but it was still pretty far. I ended up taking a shot at him from 540 yards away - and nailed him. He went down in one shot. It was getting dark, so my dad and Cameron (our friend) took off down the hill, and when they got to the buck, all I heard was Cameron yell, "He's a toad."

Everyone congratulated me. When my dad got back with the deer, it was pitch black outside. The next morning I woke up late and walked outside to find my deer already skinned. They measured his antler size to be 102 and 3/8th. Amazing, huh? He was only a 4x5. Everyone was amazed that a teenage girl killed that large a deer.

If you have a "Junior Hunters" story you would like to share, please email a picture, story, name and city with subject title "Junior Hunters" to:
HuntingHighlights@azgfd.gov

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Big Game Super Raffle
Deadline is July 13 for online orders only
By Doug Burt, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department


Photo courtesy of AZBGSR - 2006 elk winner Gary Chiurazzi

Elk and antelope tags are taking on the stature of the Holy Grail. Many hunters go years between receiving a tag, and some go even longer for a trophy hunt. If you need another shot at one of these highly sought after tags - you are in luck.

The Arizona Big Game Super Raffle organization was awarded nine special big game tags by the Arizona Game and Fish Commission for 2008. The organization is hosting the state's largest hunt tag raffle, and for as little as $5 - $25 (depending on species), you will have a chance at a hunt of a lifetime.

Big game species include: pronghorn antelope, black bear, buffalo, Coues whitetail, desert bighorn sheep, elk, javelina, mule deer, and turkey - Gould's or Merriam's. In addition, there will be an incredible Swarovski optics package raffled.

Why are these tags so special?
The season dates for each hunt will be 365 days starting August 15. There are very few limitations on hunting areas, and the prices for each ticket have been set to give every hunter in the world an opportunity to win a true hunt of a lifetime. Arizona offers some of the best trophy opportunities in North America for each of these species.

What is the raffle for?
The Super Raffle was launched in 2006 as a way to raise substantial money for wildlife habitat work in Arizona. After a decade of prolonged drought, exploding human population, and funding needs, landscape-wide project work is critical to the future of all big game species. Every dollar raised through ticket sales of each species will go directly toward that species. All costs associated with the raffle are covered through optics raffle ticket sales and contributions from our sponsors.

Time is short, July 13 is the deadline to buy tickets.

Get your tickets online today at:
www.arizonabiggamesuperraffle.com/online_orders_2008.html

If you miss the Super Raffle this year, don't worry, there are other chances to get a special tag. The Super Raffle will be in operation again next year - this time with 10 tags, as they added mountain lion to the package.

In addition to the Super Raffle, two more special tags for each species were allocated for 2009 by the commission per A.R.S. 17-346 and R12-4-120 to support wildlife conservation. Proceeds from the sale of these tags are used for wildlife management of the species of each particular tag.

The commission's 2009 special big game tag allocations are as follows:

  • Arizona Big Game Super Raffle - one each for 10 big game species
    Raffle tickets sold all year, drawing to be held in summer 2009.

  • Arizona Antelope Foundation - two pronghorn
    Auction one permit at Antelope Foundation banquet, likely in summer 2009.
    Auction one permit at Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society Banquet, likely in March 2009.

  • Arizona Bowhunters Association - one each: bear, buffalo & javelina
    Combination of auction and raffle awards at March 2009 banquet.

  • Arizona Deer Association - one mule deer, two white-tailed deer, & one mountain lion
    Auction one mule deer and one white-tailed deer permit at annual banquet in spring 2009.
    Raffle one white-tailed deer permit.
    Raffle or auction one mountain lion permit.

  • Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society - two bighorn sheep & 1 mountain lion
    Auction one desert bighorn sheep permit at Wild Sheep Foundation convention in Salt Lake City during February 4-7, 2009.
    Auction one Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep permit at ADBSS banquet on March 7, 2009.

  • Arizona Elk Society - one elk
    Auction one elk permit at annual banquet in March 2009.

  • Arizona Wildlife Federation – One bear and one javelina
    Auction or raffle both permits at annual trophy banquet in late spring 2009.

  • Mule Deer Foundation– One mule deer
    Auction one permit at National Convention in Salt Lake City during February 5-8, 2009.

  • National Wild Turkey Federation - two turkey
    Auction one permit at annual convention in Nashville during February 2009.
    Raffle one permit through Arizona Chapter to be awarded during summer 2009.

  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation - one elk
    Auction permit at annual elk camp in Fort Worth during March 5-8, 2009.

  • Phoenix Chapter, Safari Club International– one buffalo
    Auction one permit at 2009 banquet.

 

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Stamp collectors, conservationists, birders,
and waterfowl hunters: the 2008 Arizona
Duck Stamp is now available

By Doug Burt, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department

Although ill-advised, some folks like to take their day-old-bread to the park and feed them, however, there is a better way you can support waterfowl – buy a state duck stamp.

The 2008 Arizona Waterfowl stamp is on sale now. This year’s stamp features a majestic pair of swimming canvasbacks. The art was created by the 2006-2007 Federal Duck Stamp winner Sherrie Russell Meline.

The Arizona duck stamp is a conservation stamp for raising funds to benefit Arizona’s waterfowl and waterfowl habitat, similar to the Federal Duck Stamp Program. Now in its 21st year, some of the investments from the program have resulted in amazing resting grounds for wintering sandhill cranes, geese and waterfowl.

On a larger scale, a portion of the funding is sent to Canada with a bonus. For every dollar the state donates, it increases by four, and in some cases, even eight times the value, due to matching funds from Ducks Unlimited, Canada, and the North American Wetland Conservation Act.

Although these matching dollars are great, unfortunately, increased urbanization and modernization have caused a significant decrease in stamp revenues over the last few years. Nearly 90 percent of duck stamps are purchased by hunters, and Arizona has fewer duck hunters today than it had a decade ago. If this downward trend continues, a primary funding source for restoring, enhancing, and acquiring wetland habitat in Arizona will dry up.

Oddly, the misconception is that duck stamps, both state and federal, are only for waterfowl hunters. While it is true hunters are required to have the state duck stamp, the truth is, all citizens benefit from the increase in wildlife and habitat purchased by this conservation effort. Wetland habitats are important for lots of birds in Arizona, not just waterfowl. Rails, shorebirds, herons, Ibis, and many other spectacular birds depend on wetland habitats. The state duck stamp benefits them all.

If you enjoy wildlife watching, birding or just beautiful wetland landscapes – show your support and buy an Arizona State Duck Stamp – the cost is only $8.75.

Then, take a youngster out to learn about waterfowl, wetlands, migration, and the Arizona outdoors.

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No CWD found in Arizona deer and elk testing

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

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has concluded another sampling season for chronic wasting disease (CWD) and reports that lab tests found no presence of the wildlife disease in any of the 2,157 hunter-harvested or road-killed deer and elk sampled during Arizona’s 2007-08 hunt season.

The department has tested nearly 10,450 deer and elk samples since beginning its surveillance program in 1998. None have tested positive for the disease. Although CWD has not yet been found in Arizona, it is present in three neighboring states: Utah, Colorado and New Mexico.

"We're very encouraged by these results, but we'll continue to remain vigilant with an aggressive testing program," says Lisa Shender, wildlife health specialist for the department. "We’ll be sampling again during the 2008-09 hunting season."

As in past hunting seasons, Game and Fish will be asking for hunters’ assistance in submitting deer or elk heads for free CWD testing. Heads can be brought to any Game and Fish Department office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Hunters who are successful in Wildlife Management Unit 12B are especially encouraged to submit heads. Because this unit borders Utah, deer from this area of the state have the greatest potential for initial detection of CWD. Additionally, because the Kaibab check station is only mandatory for Units 12AE and 12AW, it is typically more difficult to obtain samples from Unit 12B.

"We’d like to thank the hunters, meat processors and taxidermists who helped provide samples for testing this year,” says Shender. “They play a crucial role in our testing process."

CWD is a neurodegenerative wildlife disease that is fatal to cervids, which include deer, elk and moose. Clinical symptoms include loss of body weight or emaciation, excessive salivation, increased drinking and urination, stumbling, trembling, and behavioral changes such as listlessness, lowering of the head, and repetitive walking in set patterns.

No evidence has been found to indicate that CWD affects humans, according to both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

CWD was first identified in captive deer in Colorado in 1967 and has since spread to both captive and wild cervids in 14 states and two Canadian provinces. It is a naturally occurring prion disease belonging to a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). Other TSEs are bovine spongiform encephalopathy (also called “mad cow disease”) in domestic cattle, and scrapie in domestic sheep and goats.

The department has had rules in place since 2002 banning the importation of cervids designated as restricted live wildlife under commission rule R12-4-406(A)(9)(b), to protect against the introduction of CWD to free-ranging or captive wildlife.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department will continue to work in close coordination with other state and federal agencies to monitor for CWD.

For more information on CWD, visit the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Web site at www.azgfd.gov/cwd; the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance Web site at www.cwd-info.org; or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at www.cdc.gov (use the search feature for chronic wasting disease).

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Governor signs off-highway vehicle bill
By Jim Harken, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department

Long-awaited legislation that will help better manage off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation and protect wildlife habitat passed the Arizona Senate on June 23 and has been signed by the Governor.

Senate Bill 1167, also known as the “Off-Highway Vehicle Bill,” passed the Senate by a vote of 16-7, with 7 members not voting.

SB 1167 will provide long-overdue resources to better manage issues created by the dramatic increase in OHV use in Arizona (347 percent in the last decade). Irresponsible riding has damaged habitat and created the potential for closures of some areas.

With the passage of SB 1167, revenue raised through an estimated $20 annual user fee on off-highway vehicles will help provide funding for additional law enforcement, trail/facility maintenance and reconstruction, rider education and information (including identification of lawful places for operators to ride), and mitigation of resource damage from OHVs.

This “user play, user pay” approach is similar to that used by hunters and anglers, where sportsmen pay license fees to support their hunting and fishing opportunities and benefits. In this case, OHV users will pay the annual user fee to support the sustainable management of their recreational opportunities and resource protection.

“We’re thrilled to see this legislation pass,” said Arizona Game and Fish Commission Chairman Bill McLean. “Balancing the protection of wildlife habitat with opportunities for responsible OHV recreation has been a priority of the Game and Fish Commission. We worked hard on this bill with sponsor Rep. Jerry Weiers and the coalition of supporters, and we’re looking forward to its implementation.”

“This was drastically needed to keep up with the explosive growth of OHV use in our state,” said Mike Senn, assistant director for field operations for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “It provides beefed-up tools—information/education efforts on responsible riding, trail development and habitat mitigation, new laws to address irresponsible riding, and seven new OHV law enforcement officers—to better manage OHV recreation and protect wildlife habitat.”

The bill passed through the Arizona House of Representatives in April by a vote of 42-13.

Key supporters in the Legislature were Rep. Jerry Weiers (R-District 12) and Sen. Linda Gray (R-District 10).

The bill was supported by a diverse coalition of organizations, including the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Arizona Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition, Responsible Trails America (Arizona Chapter), Arizona Sportsmen for Wildlife, Arizona Power Sports Industry Association, Wildlife Conservation Council, Apache County ATV Roughriders, Sierra Club (Grand Canyon Chapter), Arizona Motor Sports Association, Arizona Wildlife Federation, Drew and the Crew Motor Sports, National Rifle Association, Arizona Council of Trout Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, Sonoran Institute, Arizona State Parks, and Arizona State Land Department, among others.

The OHV bill becomes law on Jan. 1, 2009.

NATURE RULES
Stay on Roads and Trails!

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Early forecast - small game hunting
Story and photos by Rory Aikens, public information officer,
Arizona Game and Fish Department

There is some good news for dove hunters. Super abundant winter and early spring rains last year resulted in a robust seed crop in the desert. This should result in a nice fat population of dispersed mourning doves.

A tremendous crop of saguaro blossoms that turned into seed pods also provided white-winged doves a good later spring and early summer treat. If storms don’t chase them south, we should see lots of healthy fat whitewings.

As usual, expect doves to be concentrated around agricultural areas. But scout the adjoining desert areas as well; you might find some good dove shooting opportunities and much lower hunter densities. For many of us, that registers higher on the quality-hunt index.

Don’t forget, that although adults are relegated to half day (morning) shooting for doves during the early season, youth get to hunt all day. We have some of the best dove hunting in the nation – get the kids in on it.

In fact, gather up the neighborhood kids, nieces and nephews or whomever and get them out too – dove hunting is light years more exciting than blasting space aliens in a computer game. Do it for the future of these kids, the future of hunting, and by golly, a little self pride in making a contribution for the betterment of mankind.

Okay, on to the subject near and dear to a small game hunter’s heart: quail.

Abundant winter and early spring rainfall in central Arizona had lots of hunters and biologists anticipating superb Gambel’s quail reproduction and recruitment, but then nature threw a knuckle ball on Memorial Day weekend.

Right when lots of newly-hatched quail were full of down, a cold, wet storm drenched most of the state. Downy baby quail can die of hypothermia when wet. But then again, many areas had superb ground cover that could have sheltered some susceptible poults – maybe!

Bottom line: The jury is still out until the fat quail sings, or in this case, until the young quail flush.

The most likely scenario for Gambel’s quail in central Arizona is there will be more young on the ground this year compared to last year, with last year being terrible. We might be near average, possibly not. Some isolated areas might have above-average quail numbers.

The key? Scout your favorite quail area, then your second favorite, and maybe even your third. . . if you look enough, you should be able to locate decent quail populations.

Now southern Arizona is a bird of a different feather.

Spring call counts indicated some areas were experiencing near average reproduction, and other areas well below average. Expect Gambel’s quail to be spotty – so once again, scouting is the key.

However, the jury is out on Mearns’ quail. Last year we had our best Mearns’ quail hunting in decades. It was awesome. The year before was pretty good also. Can it happen three years in a row? Possibly – whether global warming or not, weather patterns have been unpredictable.

If you are reading this after a wet summer in southern Arizona, buy stock in Mearns’ quail futures – which is basically abundant boxes of shotgun shells mixed with liberal doses of Hoppes Gun Oil.

Now for you waterfowl fans. Mormon Lake near Flagstaff was almost full last spring. By summer, the water level was dwindling but the marshy areas turned lush green and full of insects – duck heaven.

Due to abundant snowpack for a change, other high mountain areas also experienced a return of wetlands that have been dry for some time. Plus Roosevelt filled.

We have the habitat to hold the waterfowl, now it really depends on weather to the north pushing them our way. It’s looking good, but who knows. At the very least, early season teal shooting in the high country could be spectacular.

For the low lands – once again, we have water in places we haven’t had in years. If they come down the flyway, they might stick around and visit us a little longer. As always in Arizona, waterfowl is a wait-and-see proposition.

Fishing
Give your spinning rods a twirl and whip up your fly rods for some of the best fishing action of the year – you might even catch some magnificent fall colors as well in the high country.

Sport fish will be feeding aggressively to put on fat before winter conditions arrive. Hungry, active fish will put a satisfied grin on your autumn face.

For the high country, it doesn’t get much better. Changing fall colors creeping down the elevation zones can provide a colorful stage for some of the best trout fishing acts of the year – life and fishing doesn’t get much better.

Big Lake typically wears the high country fall fishing crown each year – if the ‘bows aren’t biting, the cuts probably will. If those ‘bows and cuts are bashful, you might hook into gregarious brookies staging for the spawn.

Another great choice is Willow Springs Lake along the Mogollon Rim where the trout and largemouth bass can both be active. Don’t ignore the sister lakes of Fool Hollow and Show Low Lake where record walleye are waiting for an angler invite to fame and piscatorial glory.

Hey, for all you high country trouters – take along the trusty .22. Bagging a squirrel or two during your fall fishing trip is a way to maximize your recreational dollar and fun at the same time. You might even take along a shotgun for the ducks – it should be pretty good in the high country this year thanks to last year’s superb snow pack.

One fall fishing hole with superb, world-class fishing that is ignored by hordes of anglers is Lees Ferry in northern Arizona.

In the warmwater lakes, expect to find lots of topwater action for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and striped bass. My top picks are: Lake Powell, Roosevelt Lake and Lake Pleasant. But on any given day, you might find spectacular action at Alamo, Mead, Saguaro, Bartlett or Patagonia.

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Commission approves budget, dove orders, special big game tags and more at June meeting
By Doug Burt, public information officer, Arizona Game and Fish Department

Last week’s Arizona Game and Fish Commission meeting proved to be more than just a routine gathering in an air conditioned auditorium during blazing 110-degree June temperatures.

In addition to a full two-day agenda, this marked the last meeting for Commissioner Michael J. Golightly, of Flagstaff, after serving three 5-year terms, the longest-tenured commissioner in Arizona’s history. Golightly is being replaced by incoming Commissioner Norman Freeman from Chino Valley.

Another big change is the departure of Deputy Director Steve Ferrell. Ferrell began his career with the department nearly 30 years ago and will be taking the director position for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

Both received accolades and standing applause from the commission and department for their dedicated service and contribution to the resources of Arizona.

Highlighting Friday’s meeting was the approval of the budget for fiscal years 2010 and 2011, which included increasing and extending the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) funding.

Saturday’s meeting focused on a number of topics.

The special big game hunt license tags, sometimes called commissioners’ tags, were awarded to requesting nonprofit entities for the purpose of raising funds for wildlife conservation. Three tags for each of the following species were allocated: pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, black bear, buffalo, elk, javelina, mountain lion, mule deer, white-tailed deer and turkey. The hunting season for those tags, regulated under Commission Order 29, was set for Aug. 15, 2009 – Aug. 14, 2010.

In the small game arena, the commission approved orders 19, 20 and 24 – the 2008-09 hunting season and guidelines for dove, band-tailed pigeons and sandhill cranes. New this year is a juniors-only season for sandhill cranes. Regulations for all three should be available online by the second week of July.

The department briefed the commission on the status of the vendor selection for the online draw and licensing system. The commission scheduled another public meeting for July 3 to further this matter.

The commission awarded $87,550 to six grant applicants from the Shooting Range Grants Program for fiscal year 2009. The grant monies are for the construction, improvement, enhancement, or expansion of public shooting ranges located throughout the state.

The department gave a presentation to the commission about Senate Bill 1552, a new dust abatement law which addresses fugitive dust or "PM-10" emissions within Maricopa County. A new and complicated matter, it is resulting in ordinances by Maricopa County and the cities within the county to “prohibit vehicle operation on unpaved surfaces that are not a public or private road, street or lawful easement.” The department expressed its concern about how far-reaching this situation is and how it potentially affects hunters, anglers, and all Arizonans that enjoy the desert outdoors - with a direct impact on motorized access and use. For example: Maricopa County has 4.28 million unincorporated acres; all or the majority of GMUs 26M, 39, 40A, 42 and 47M are in the county, with portions of GMUs 20B, 21, 22, 24B, 25M, 40B, 41, 42 and 44A; there are 500,000 acres of A.S.L.D. trust lands and mountain ranges that are in the county, including the Superstition, Mazatzal (Four Peaks), Maricopa, Gila Bend, White Tank, Sierra Estrella, Eagle Tail, Big Horn, and Harquahala Mountains. Game species that could be affected by this situation are desert bighorn sheep - 7 tags possibly affected (11 percent of all opportunity), deer with 1,448 tags in primary GMUs and another 8,231 in other GMUs, javelina with 190 tags in primary GMUs and 5,174 tags in other GMUs. Not to mention the effects on more than 125,000 small game hunters, since dove hunters utilize agricultural areas that are private lands. The commission agreed this was a top priority and requested that the department work closely with the county and municipalities to accommodate constituents and keep them informed of the situation.

The commission also set its meeting schedule for 2009-10. Dates are very similar to this year’s meeting dates and will be available online soon.

There is no July commission meeting. The next public meeting is August 8-9 in Flagstaff. For the location and detailed agenda, visit www.azgfd.com/commission.

Volunteer opportunities for hunters 
By Les Bell, volunteer coordinator,
Arizona Game and Fish Department

The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s volunteer program provides opportunities for volunteers to participate firsthand in managing Arizona’s wildlife resources. Our goal is to provide you with a congenial and cooperative atmosphere where you can build relationships with staff and other volunteers, as well as gain knowledge about Arizona wildlife and wildlife management. We recognize that your time is important and strive to provide rewarding and educational volunteer experiences.

Listed below are some opportunities in which you may have an interest. To learn about other opportunities or to submit information about a project that would benefit from our volunteers, check our volunteer page at:

www.azgfd.gov/volunteer

Immediate until completed
Data entry - Bat Project, North Phoenix

The candidate will report to AGFD Phoenix headquarters and be responsible for data entry of Legacy reports into AGFD Bats database. Knowledge of Microsoft office (Word, Excel), understanding of mapping and TOPO is a plus; database entry experience desired but will train. Contact: Nancy Renison, bat biologist, at NRenison@azgfd.gov, (623) 236-7529.

Ongoing (primarily weekends but some weekdays)
Environmental Educator

Training in basic animal handling and public presentations. Routinely work at the Arizona Game and Fish Wildlife Center booth educating the public about wildlife during weekend events and in many cases to take animals into the classrooms and teach about wildlife conservation. Work may involve lifting up to 50 pounds, interacting with the public, inclement weather and handling live animals. Valid Arizona driver's license required. Contact: Kellie Tharp, ktharp@azgfd.gov, (623) 236-7238

July 26 - 27
Arizona Antelope Foundation White Mountains Habitat Project

Volunteers will be removing small juniper and pinyon trees near Sipe Wildlife Area, south of Springerville. This is primarily a one-day project, however, work will be conducted on Sunday if willing volunteers wish to. The AAF will provide a free steak dinner to all volunteers on Saturday night. To RSVP for dinner and for more information, please visit www.azantelope.org. Contact: Scott Anderson (480) 213-1611, info@azantelope.org.

April 1 – October 31
Summer Host - Tonto Creek Hatchery, Payson
Wildlife area hosts live on site, assist with facility maintenance and interact with visitors. Additional duties include providing change for feed machines, cleaning visitor restrooms, and other duties as needed. Hosts are on duty from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays, and on weekdays when there are large groups of visitors. Host should have good communication and interpersonal skills, enjoy talking with different types of people, be able to provide excellent customer service, and accept and follow supervision/instruction from hatchery employees. Accommodations along with fresh water, electrical, propane and septic are provided. To provide references and be interviewed via phone, contact Les Bell at (623) 236-7680 or lbell@azgfd.gov.

Late May - Labor Day Weekend 2009
Sipe Wildlife Area Seasonal Host

Open and close Visitors Center (VC), oversee security of VC facilities. Answer the public’s wildlife and recreational related questions. Greet, provide literature, give directions and provide information and assistance to visitors of the Wildlife Area. No experience necessary. Must be good with people. Must have own travel trailer or motor home. Water, electricity, sewer, parking pad provided. May hook up satellite TV at own cost. Absolutely beautiful hiking trails, great opportunity to see wildlife, especially birds and elk. Seven miles from small towns of Springerville, Eagar. Right in the heart of the White Mountains, close to fishing, hiking, camping and great outdoor recreational activities. Temperature in the 70- to 80-degree range during the day. Cool in the evenings. Contact: Brian Crawford, Sipe Wildlife Area Manager, at (928) 333-4518, sipecrawford@yahoo.com.

Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Page Springs Wildlife Area Trail Maintenance
Volunteers assist with trail maintenance, using hand tools such as rakes, shovels and clippers. This is a cooperative project with the Northern Arizona Audubon Society. Contact Les Bell at lbell@azgfd.gov or (623) 236-7680.

First and third Thursday every month, 7-10 p.m. - Volunteer Shotgun Instructor or Range Officer for Women's Shooting Program
Volunteers will instruct women of all ages in the shotgun shooting sports. Coaches will assist beginners in shotgun shooting form and skill. Range Safety Officers will watch over range and ensure safety among all participants. Applicants must be at least 21 years old. Shooting experience, basic knowledge of firearms and firearms safety, and some teaching/public speaking experience desired, but not required.Benefits to volunteers include free shooting at the main range and discounts at local sporting goods locations. Contact Ben Avery Shooting Facility at (623) 582-8313.

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Vol. 4 No. 3 June-July 2008
In this issue:

The forecast - sunny and hot

Junior hunters: Samantha Bado, 4x5 Coues deer

Big Game Super Raffle

2008 Arizona Duck Stamp is now available

No CWD found in Arizona deer and elk testing

Governor signs off-highway vehicle bill

Early forecast - small game hunting

Commission approves budget, dove orders, special big game tags and more at June meeting

Volunteer opportunities


Sportsman's Planning Calendar

July

July 1 - Rabbit season begins (year round except NWR)
July 1 - Unit 31 squirrel season (tasseled ear only year-long season)
July 1 - Channel catfish stocking at urban lakes suspended until the week of Sept. 15
July 4 - Independence Day
July 7 - Pheasant applications accepted (deadline July 22)
Early-mid July - Dove regulations in print
Early-mid July - Sandhill crane regulations in print
July 22 - Deadline pheasant applications

August

Aug. 4 - Sandhill crane applications accepted (deadline Sept. 2)
Aug. 4 - First come-serve pheasant
Aug. 8 - First quarter moon
Aug. 8-9 - Commission meeting, Flagstaff
Aug. 11 - First come-serve fall tags
Aug. 16 - Full moon
Aug. 22 - Archery deer season opener
Aug. 22 - Archery turkey season opener
Aug. 22 - Archery squirrel season statewide
Aug. 22 - Archery antelope season
Aug. 22 - Unit 12A & 13A archery squirrel season
Aug. 23 - Last quarter moon
Aug. 30 - New moon
Mid-month Aug. – Waterfowl regulations online
Mid-Aug. - Cibola Farm Unit draw applications due for goose hunts
End of Aug – Spring regulations online


Ask a wildlife manager:

Unit 26M covers part of McDowell Mountains. Parts of these mountains are in the Sonoran Preserve. Is there any part I can bow hunt for mule deer?

Answer: Provided by Tim Holt
Wildlife Manager Supervisor, Region 6 - Mesa.

Here is a link to our Rule R12-4-301 that describes what is legal in McDowell Mountain Park (Maricopa County Park). Click here

The McDowell Mountain Preserve (City of Scottsdale) is open to archery hunting but closed to firearms. Click here

Bottom line, both the McDowell Mountain Park and McDowell Sonoran Preserve are open to deer hunting with archery equipment but there are several other rules and park laws that one must follow and that is why I recommend reading the rules. Small game hunting with firearms is only allowed in McDowell Mountain Park.

If you have a question about hunting or fishing laws, rules and regulations or just an ethical situation, please email your question to:
HuntingHighlights@azgfd.gov.
Use Subject title: Ask a Wildlife Manager


Great Summer Reading

Fall seems far away, but for readers of Arizona Wildlife Views magazine it’s as close as the July-August issue. That’s where we’ll give tips about getting ready for the fall hunts, share the story of grouse reintroductions on the San Francisco Peaks, explain how to keep hunting dogs safe in the hot summer months and explore how hunters and non-hunters can work together for wildlife.

Get Arizona Wildlife Views for your very own, and get ready for fall. Each 40-page issue offers stories about Arizona wildlife and outdoor recreation, illustrated with gorgeous full-color photography.

Get six issues a year for just $8.50

Call (800) 777-0015, or go online at www.azgfd.gov/magazine and click the link “subscribe or give a gift subscription online.”


Have fun, network, learn - online

Why take hunter education if it's not mandatory? There are many good reasons. You will learn:

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

Designed to accommodate today's busy schedules, online classes are still focused on making you a safer and more knowledgeable hunter. Attending a field day is still a requirement of the program.

Although it is not mandatory for adults to attend the class to hunt in Arizona, it is highly recommended. However, if you are planning on hunting in another state, please check with that state well in advance to see if proof of hunter education is required, as the Arizona program is recognized by all other state 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.

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!


Game and Fish Commission meeting information

There is no commission meeting in July. The next meeting will be held August 8-9 in Flagstaff.

Once the agenda is set, it can be found at www.azgfd.gov/commission. Click on the “meeting agenda” link on the left, then click the appropriate meeting date.

The September Commission meeting will be in Pinetop September 5-6.


Find out about upcoming events at Arizona Outdoor Calendar
Outdoor organizations are encouraged to post their activities

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

The department posts its events and activities that are open to the public, and has added an online feature that allows outdoor organizations and other government agencies to submit their public events as well.

“Our goal is to create a one-stop shop where people can find out about a wide range of outdoor activities they can participate in,” said Public Information Officer Tom Cadden. “We’re encouraging outdoor groups and agencies to use the online submission feature to post their events that are related to the Game and Fish Department’s mission.”

Examples of mission-related 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.

“Each event submission will go through an approval process before it’s posted. As the database grows, it has the potential to be an extremely useful resource for Arizona outdoor enthusiasts,” Cadden said.

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

Groups that wish to add their events to the Outdoor Calendar can visit www.azgfd.gov/calendar and follow the instructions on the right side of that page.


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

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

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

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

www.azgfd.net/photos


Need more Hunting Highlights?

Visit the archives at:

www.azgfd.gov/h_f/highlights.shtml


Manage your account:

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

Click here to edit your account



Quick resource links:

Rules and regulations

Big game draw info

Where to hunt

Hunter education classes

Fishing page

Ben Avery Shooting Facility

Ben Avery Clay Target Center

Wildlife and Conservation page

Frequently asked questions


Wildlife's answer to 911
Report Wildlife Violators

OPERATION GAME THIEF is a public awareness program that allows people to call in on a toll-free hotline, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to report wildlife violations. Poaching is serious business in Arizona. There are only 156 commissioned officers in the Arizona Game and Fish Department and many of these officers only do enforcement part-time. The department relies on the honest citizens of the state to assist in the reduction of wildlife law violations.

Poachers are thieves and they are stealing Arizona’s most precious natural resource—its WILDLIFE! It doesn't matter if you hunt or fish in our great state, wildlife is here for ALL of us to enjoy. The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Operation Game Thief Program is asking that you report any suspicious activity to the department. You can do this by either calling our toll-free hotline at 1-800-352-0700, or filling out as much of the information as possible (all fields are optional) on the link to the online form below.

We will keep your report CONFIDENTIAL upon request, and REWARDS of $50-$1,000 may be offered in certain cases. Eligible cases will pay rewards upon the arrest of the violator.

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